BBQ Tips & Tricks: What You Need To Grill Like a Pro
Updated: Dec 27, 2021
One of the best summer pastimes is to break out the grill for a barbecue cookout. However, grilling is a fun activity for all seasons, and even if the leaves start falling or there’s snow on the ground, you can still enjoy some delicious meals. You can prepare countless different things with a grill, from sides and desserts to the main course.
Whether you’re a meat lover or a vegan, grilling is an activity that everyone can enjoy. It’s one of the most effective cooking methods for crafting flavorful meals on the fly.
If you’ve never grilled before, don’t worry. With these helpful tips, you’ll be cooking like a pro in no time. With this in mind, here are some of the best BBQ tips and tricks and what you need to grill like a pro.
Create a Dedicated Workstation for Organizing Everything
Every pro chef understands how essential it is to have an organized area for your equipment. When you can’t locate an item, it distracts you from the primary task and can impact the outcome of your cooking.
Everything should be visible and neatly placed for accessibility so you can focus on the task at hand: grilling. This strategy will help you in all aspects of cooking, even when you’re not at the grill. Place your fork or spatula in an easy-to-reach place where it won’t get knocked over, and if you need other tools such as tongs or a sauce brush, have them nearby.
A successful grilling operation starts with a full-service work area where you can prioritize tasks. Going through cabinets looking for tools isn’t the most effective way to cook, so find everything before you start so you don’t overcook your food.
Make Space for Dedicated Heat Zones
Depending on whether you have a gas or charcoal grill, you’ll want to set out heat zones on your grill so you can cook your food evenly. On a charcoal grill, this means you’ll heat the coals and push them all to one side of the grill for maximum heating capabilities. Consequently, the other side of the grill should have no coals or ones that aren’t hot for indirect cooking purposes.
If you have a gas grill, turn one of the burners on your machine higher than the others to get the same effect. The purpose of this is to directly cook your food on the hot side and then slowly finish cooking on the cooler side.
You might be able to see if your grill is hot or not if there are burning coals or small flames, but your grill can also get very hot without any visual cues. To find out if the heat is working, keep your hand above the grate with your palm facing downward but don’t touch the grill. If it starts to get too hot, pull your hand away, but you can leave your hand above the grate for a few seconds before this happens.
Clean Your Grill Before You Cook
As you start to preheat the grill, note that it’s easier to clean when it’s hot. You should clean your grill before you cook to prevent yourself from ingesting nasty chemicals, and so your food doesn’t taste strange.
Since you need to preheat the grill anyway, you can multitask by cleaning as it starts to warm up. All you have to do is grab a wire brush and scrub the debris off the grate. If you have a charcoal grill, empty the ash pan, so the chemicals don’t get on your food. Cleaning the grate helps to preserve your grill, and it also helps your food cook more evenly. For extra protection against stickiness, pour the cooking oil of your choosing for added flavor.
If you want to avoid chemicals as much as possible, you can find chemical-free charcoal briquettes online.
Use a Timer and Thermometer To Track Your Progress
To follow your progress while you cook, use a timer and a thermometer to track how long your food has been on the grill. Looks can be deceiving, so although it may be tempting to just throw your food on the grill and gauge with your eyes, this isn’t an accurate way to measure the temperature. Also, the weather can affect the strength of your flame, which determines the temperature of the grill.
Consequently, you may overcook or undercook your food if you don’t monitor it closely. If you’re unsure whether your food is fully cooked or not, shorten your cooking time to be safe. You can always cook it more, but there’s no going back once it’s burned.
Many grills come with a thermometer attached to the lid, but you need to purchase a separate cooking thermometer if this isn’t the case for yours. This is especially true if it’s your first time grilling, so you can thoroughly check your results.
Burgers Are Tasty, But Vegetables Are Essential
Many barbecue enthusiasts use their grill solely for burgers and hot dogs, but there are many fantastic cooking possibilities for vegetables as well. They make the perfect companion for your meats, and you can grill vegetables for salads, sides, or toppings. When grilling vegetables, be sure to use a grill pan or basket so the vegetables don’t fall through the grate.
Even if you only grill lettuce, it can add that extra spark of flavor to your cooking. You’ll be surprised at how tasty the results are when you cut a head of iceberg or romaine lettuce, add some oil, and grill it to perfection.
If you’re making a mouthwatering salsa, try grilling tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers for a smoky feel. Then, chop up all the vegetables and squeeze some citrus juice on the final product with some cilantro sprinkled on top.
After You Finish, Take the Food off the Grill
As you complete the grilling process, some food will finish cooking before others. Have a plate and aluminum foil at your disposal to take food off the grill as you finish so it doesn’t overcook. Also, you can cover the finished products in an aluminum wrap to keep them warm.
Once you finish everything, it’s time to serve your scrumptious creation. The next time you want to grill, be sure to follow these BBQ tips & tricks to grill like a pro.