When the weather gets warm all we want to do is fire up that grill! We maintain there is nothing that can’t be cooked on a grill. Take in our best grilling tips and elevate your barbecue to a whole new level!
Direct vs. Indirect Cooking
Can’t decide whether to use a direct or indirect grilling method? If the food takes less than 20 minutes to cook, use direct heat; if it takes longer, use indirect heat. Grilling small pieces of chicken such as legs or thighs? Use direct heat. Cooking a whole chicken? Indirect heat is best.
Also, remember to factor in whether your meat has bones. Boneless pieces do well grilled quickly over direct heat, but bone-in pieces take longer and direct heat alone would burn them. Use indirect heat for bone-in pieces.
You Gotta Know When to Sauce It
We know it’s tempting to slather on the sauce when you’ve got a barbecue sauce you love, but patience is key. Be careful not to sauce meat too early, especially if you are using a sweet sauce, as the sugars will burn and threaten your meal. Sauce them during the final minutes of cooking.
Even Playing Field
Burger lovers, this is a must-use grilling tip! Burgers can puff up in the middle as they cook, making the tops rounded and awkward for piling on the toppings. To avoid this, press an indentation into the top of each raw patty with your thumb or the back of a spoon. (It’ll help keep them from shrinking too.) When the center pushes up, the top of each burger will be relatively level.
Don’t Over Rub
Be gentle when applying rubs. If you rub seasonings roughly into the food, you can damage the meat fibers and texture of the food and run the risk of over-seasoning it.
Build a Marinade and They Will Come (Eat)
When building a marinade, start with the basics. That means a little acid, like lemon juice, vinegar, or mango chutney; a little oil; and a whole bunch of good flavors. Start with a 1:3 ratio of acidity to oil like in salad dressings. The acidity tenderizes the food and contributes tanginess; the oil provides moisture and richness.
When marinating do a short soak for most foods—30 minutes to two hours. Much more than an hour or two in the marinade can over-soften food and result in a mushy texture (especially if the marinades contain enzymes from ingredients like pineapple and papaya) or give the food a tough texture if the marinade has a lot of acid-rich citrus juice and/or vinegar.
Key Tips for Kebabs
Save yourself some time when you want to grill. Skip soaking bamboo skewers each time you need them by soaking a big batch for an hour or so, drain, then freeze them in a resealable container. When it’s time to grill, pull out as many skewers as you need.
Whether you’re making veggie kabobs or ones with meat, don’t skimp when you’re threading them on the skewers. Kabob ingredients, such as chicken pieces, will stay juicier longer if they are touching one another but not crammed on the skewers.
If You Like It, Throw It In A Grill Basket
Instead of skewers, another of the pro’s go-to grilling techniques for grilled veggies is in large batches in a grill basket. It’s quicker than skewering all of them. Grilling delicate fish fillets and small foods, such as chopped veggies and shrimp, in a grill pan prevents the food from falling through the cooking grate. Make sure to grease the basket if your food hasn’t been marinated or tossed in an oil mixture to prevent sticking.
Don’t Be a Firestarter
Keep yourself and cookout guests safe by knowing how to handle a flare-up. Don’t use a water bottle to extinguish flare-up flames. When water hits hot cooking grates and flames, it can splatter, causing burns or cracking the porcelain-enamel finish of the grill. The quickest way to extinguish flare-ups is to put the lid on the grill. The lid will reduce the amount of oxygen feeding the fire and limiting or snuffing out the flare-ups.
Giving cooked meats time to rest is the key to juicy, perfectly cooked meat. The resting process allows the juices to redistribute themselves throughout the meat. Let your meat rest uncovered because the covering causes the food to steam and can make the golden brown crust or skin soggy.
Want More Grilling Tips?
Buxton Hall Barbecue’s Book of Smoke
Information gathered from bhg.com