It’s that time of the year again. One only has to be outside around 6 pm to smell the aromas of someone in the neighborhood having a grill out. But just putting something on the grill does not mean that your BBQ will be a success. Here are my top 25 Grilling Tips to make sure that next BBQ is something special.
Make your next BBQ a success with these top 25 Grilling Tips.
1. Room Temperature Meat. At the top of the list of my grilling tips is making sure the meat is the right temperature. One of the biggest mistakes that happens on the grill is when you take the meat out of the fridge and immediately cook it. Let it come to room temperature first. That will ensure that the grill won’t have to work hard to get the center of the meat cooked the way you like it.
2. Preheating is a Must. The same goes for the grill. Don’t expect it to work efficiently and cook the meat properly if part of the cooking time is spent in the grill warming up. When you use a gas grill be sure to preheat the grill first, just like you do an oven. Also, cooking times in recipes are always from a standing start on a preheated grill. With charcoal grilling, the grill heats up naturally.3. Flavor the meat. Sure, you can take a steak or some chicken and just pop it on the grill and it will taste okay. But okay is not what we are after here. A great dry rub, or a special marinade will go a long way towards making sure that your protein is the talk of the party, instead of just blah.4. Add some smoke flavor. The appeal of a BBQ is the flavor of smoke on the cooked meat. It really doesn’t matter whether you use gas or charcoal, always add some use hardwood logs, chunks, briquettes, or chips to give the meat a smoky flavor. There are also difference to the smoke of different wood varieties too. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Apple wood is great for adding sweetness, mesquite is great for a tangy flavor, and hickory can add a bacon like taste to the meat.
5. Leave it and forget it. Well, not exactly, but it does take time for the meat to develop a caramelized crust that is so appealing in a good grill. If you are constantly turning and flipping the meat, it won’t have a chance to develop this. Also, don’t squash the burgers. Doing so makes the fat fall down onto the grill and dries out the meat. If this chicken had been repeatedly flipped over, it would not have formed this delicious looking crust!
6. Invest in some good BBQ tools. There are lots of great tools that you can use for grilling. Silicone pastry brushes and utensils will withstand a very high heat. And be sure to protect your hands.
These Eksel Cook Grill BBQ gloves will withstand up to 662ºF. You can handle grill plates, tools and pots with ease with these gloves! This variety has sold out on Amazon but there are many more options that will take the heat here.7. Create heat Zones. This is one of my favorite grilling tips for those that BBQ with a grill that uses coals, bank them in the middle. This will allow you to grill perfectly in the middle of the meat which is normally the thickets. Then move the items to the outside where there is less heat to finish. (also good to cook buns around the outside too!)
8. Rest the meat after cooking. If you cut the meat too soon after cooking it will result in all the juices running out. Keep them in the meat (and keep the flavor in) by letting the meat rest for a few minutes before you serve it.
9. Grease the Grill Grates after cleaning. This is especially important if you plan to grill fish or other meats with a low fat content. Greasing the grill grates will help to keep the food from sticking. Silicone pastry brushes that withstand high heat are great for this purpose. (affiliate link) They are also great for basting during cooking with marinades and sauces.
10. Start with a Clean Grill. You would not want to cook in the same frying pan indoors without cleaning it between uses would you? Why should the grill be any different? Previous grilling will leave your grill plates coated with grease, and meat particles. To ensure the cleanest taste to the food, use a grill brush to clean the grill plates before you add the next round on meats.
11. Time it and check to make sure. Sure it is easy to say five minutes for rare, or whatever, but this means that everything must be exactly the same size. Don’t leave it to chance. Use a digital meat thermometer to make sure that your meat is perfectly grilled every time. (affiliate link.)
12. Go with Charcoal. I know all of you will groan on this one, but trust me, charcoal gives a better BBQ flavor than gas. Gas BBQs won’t give you the smokey flavor that you want from cooking outdoors without the addition of some special chips. Yes, it is not as instant, but these tips are for the perfect grill, remember?
13. Make your own burgers. My local BJs club has a great deal on burgers. But unless I am doing a BBQ at the last minute, I resist buying them and make my own burgers. There really is no comparison in taste when the burger is done. GRILLING TIPS: make an indentation in the burgers when you form them. Why? When hamburger patties cook, they shrink. When they shrink the edges tend to break apart which will cause cracks to form in the patty. To make sure this doesn’t happen, you need the burger patty to be thinner in the middle than it is around the edges. This will give you an even patty once it has finished cooking.
Grilling is such a fun way to entertain with friends, but you have to do more than just put some meat on the grill. Read on for more tips!
14. Go Easy on the Vegetables. Grills can make a mess of veggies if you leave them on too long. For the best results just lightly char them and then add seasonings, or olive oil later for some extra taste.
15. Use a grill basket. Delicate foods like fruit, veggies, and fish are better cooked over the grill using a grill basket. You can also place shish kebabs in one of these and turn them all in one piece instead of individually.
16. Don’t Fan the Flames. The flames will flare up if you are slopping with oil based marinades, squish your burgers(don’t do it!) or have extra fatty meat. Trim your meat of excess fat first and have a water bottle handy to use in case of flare ups.
17. Go for the grill marks. Nothing says BBQ like perfectly placed grill marks on the meat. To get them, place the meat on the grill at a 12 o’clock angle, and then rotate it to a 3 o’clock angle to get diamond marks before you flip the first time.
18. Safety first. Keep these simple rules from the USDA in mind: avoid cross-contamination by using separate cutting boards for cooked and raw meats. The same goes for utensils and platters. When your meat it cooked, don’t put it back in the raw juices. Put it on a clean platter. Don’t baste with the marinating liquid. Make extra just for this purpose.
19. Add the rub early. The meat needs to come to room temperature anyway. Add the rub when you take it out of the fridge and let it sit while you wait for the meat to come to room temp.
20. Add the BBQ sauce at the very end. Most BBQ sauces are very high in sugar which will burn easily. Adding it in the last few minutes of the cooking time will give great flavor, but not char the meat.
21. Don’t be afraid of mistakes. Some of my best grilling experiences (and some of the worst…) came from experiments in sauces and marinades. Also, who wants the same grill every time? Experiment!
22. The Charcoal matters. I know that using charcoal takes time, but pass right by the type that is labeled “match to light.” This is sprayed in lighter fluid and this will end up in your meat. Buy good quality charcoal and be patient. Instead of lighter fluid (which does NOT burn off, no matter what they say), use a chimney lighter. (affiliate link)To use one of these, you You place paper in the bottom of it and charcoal in the top. After a few minutes you will have a lit charcoal that you can just pour onto the bed of charcoal to get your fire started.
23. Don’t over crowd the grill. A great grill needs space around the foods to cook well. If the grill plate it too crowded it will impede the flow of air ad the food is more likely to burn. This one is too crowded. Cook the meat in turns instead.
24. Hold off on the alcohol. One of the fun parts of a friendly BBQ is having a drink with some friends. But hold off on the alcohol until you are done cooking. Trust me on this one….
25. End with a clean up. Make it easier to start the next time. Turn off the grill and let it cool down. Scrape the grill with the wire brush. Next time all that will be needed is some oiling.
And most of all have fun!
Do you have some BBQ grilling tips you would like to share? Please leave them in the comments section below. I’d love to add them to my post.
Note: I received a pair of the BBQ gloves for free in exchange for including them in this grilling tips blog post.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."