Summer is finally here, which means one thing: barbecuing. Here are 12 grilling tips that’ll make people believe you’re a professional grill master.
Before you start, make sure your grill is clean.
Impurities may give your food an unwanted flavor, or worse, clog your burners and cause a fire. Give the grate a good scrub with a proper grill brush (try one of these) and wipe away any grime stuck to the burners or interior of the grill. For an in-depth cleaning demo, read this.
Season a new grill.
The best barbecuers will “season” a brand new grill. It’s easy to do. Here’s how.
Food should be at room temperature before you grill it.
Never take food—especially meats—straight from the fridge to the grill. Why? Because it won’t cook evenly. Let your steaks sit on the counter for 20-30 minutes before frying them up.
Blanch your veggies.
Raw vegetables usually take longer to cook than meat, which can be problematic if you’re making kabobs. But there’s any easy solution. Just boil or steam your veggies for a few minutes beforehand, then run them under cold water. The blast of cold water will keep them from cooking more.
Flavor your fire.
Mix hardwood chips into the coals to add a distinct flavor of your choice. Here’s how. There a few good smoking tips here too.
Pro tip for charcoal grillers: Don’t light your fire with lighter fluid. It will make your food taste like, well…lighter fluid.
Get the grill hot before you start.
If you don’t have all the heat you need, your food will stick. Ugh, right? Right. So be patient and give the grill time to heat up properly.
Determine how much heat you’re cooking with.
Use a thermometer if you’re fancy (or the dials on your grill if you’re really fancy), or use the no-gadget-required hand test. It’s simple: hold an open palm about five inches above the grill and count how many seconds you can hold it there comfortably.
If you can hold it:
1-2 seconds, you have high heat (450° to 550° F)
3-4 seconds, you have medium heat (350° to 450° F)
5-6 seconds, you have low heat (250° to 250° F)
Zone your fire.
Set up your grill so that it has two heat zones: hot and less hot. Here’s a helpful tutorial.
To get a nice sear on your meat and veggies, grill with high heat.
Searing adds flavor and makes for a nicer presentation.
Master the art of awesome grill marks.
Speaking of presentation, here’s how to get perfect grill marks.
Keep your meat juicy.
The gist here is fat. The more fat, the better. Fattier meats are best for grilling because they retain moisture. This is why leaner meats, like chicken and fish, can easily dry out on the grill. Lightly brush them with olive oil to keep in moisture.
Know if your steak is ready.
Know how cooked your meat is sans thermometer by using another handy-dandy hand test (see what I did there?). This picture explains it perfectly.
What is your best grilling tip? Share it in the comments section below.