While you don’t need to go to culinary school to work a BBQ, like anything, if you learn some great tips from start to finish, your results will go from lackluster to out-of-this-world.
Fire up the BBQ and un-pack the patio chairs and picnic table! It’s such fun to cook outside in the fresh air and chat with your guests as you flip the patties, not to mention the easy clean up and succulent flavors of charred chicken, fish, steak and veggies. We have a few tips from the pros to up your grilling game.
Ultimate Grilling tips:
Clean –Using a metal-bristle grill brush, always scrape the (hot) BBQ grate clean before and immediately after every use. If you don’t have a brush, a crumpled ball of heavy-duty aluminum foil the size of an orange will do. With a clean grill, heat transfers better and (carcinogenic) fire flare-ups are minimal.
Grease the grill – Greasing is key. It means the salmon, drumsticks and burgers won’t stick to the grate or leave behind skin. Here’s a cool insider tip: cut Creamers in half and rub the flat part over the grill. Read how-to in four simple steps.
Use a pan – For tofu, fruit (grilled peaches, anyone?), veggies, shrimp and fish fillets, a grill pan is a must. It sits right on the cooking grate and keeps delicate or small ingredients from falling through.
Don’t overcrowd – This is the No. 1 no-no. You need air to circulate and space to utilize the hotter and cooler sections of your grill top.
Keep the lid closed – Don’t. Lift. That. Lid. It’s hard, right? For the perfect steak, marinate, then pat dry with paper towels. Quickly sear both sides over a hot grill, then lower the temp, and leave ‘em! Turn only once or twice max. Caramelization happens when food is seared and left alone. You’ll be rewarded with a richer flavor and juicier piece of meat. Your takeaway: No fiddling.
Preheat – You need to start with a toasty grill. Turn the BBQ to high. Allow it to heat up for 15 to 25 minutes, then scrape off all the crusty bits with your brush (see above). Close the lid and let it heat back up. Then, start your grills!
Temp check – It’s true, the masters can tell by pressing with a finger when the meat is done. But why leave it to chance? Keep it fool-proof: use an instant-read thermometer and get the temp. to the correct level.
Let it rest – Another hard one: letting it rest. We know you’re hungry, but this is crucial. Rest time seals in the juices by redistributing them evenly and allows the beef/chicken/pork/fish to finish cooking. We prefer leaving it uncovered—on a warm plate or tray on top of a warm stovetop (covering can make it soggy from condensation)—for about 10 minutes.
Keep extra propane on hand – There’s nothing worse than running out of gas when the rib-eyes are half done. Keep a spare tank of propane in the garage (or briquettes). Disaster averted.
Burger tip – For hamburgers that hold toppings nicely (without sliding off), press the raw patty with your thumb or the rounded back of a spoon after you place it on the BBQ to make a small indentation on the surface. This makes a nicely flat finished burger.
Skewers – Soak bamboo skewers for an hour, then drain and freeze. They’ll be ready in a hurry when you need them.
More? Learn how to make sublime steak and Little Potatoes.
Let the grilling begin!
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