One of the most common summer activities is grilling. Grills are used all over to cook a wide variety of foods from steaks to vegetables, and there are so many different considerations when it comes to grilling that can make or break your meal.
While these tips may seem obvious, they can be easy for beginners to overlook. In this article, I will share 25 essential grilling tips that experts use!
Start with a clean grill
Whether you have a gas grill or charcoal, the first step is always to clean your grill before use. This removes any residue that may be left from previous grilling sessions and ensures proper cooking of food.
Rinse with water and scrub it down, including around vents where they meet the base so there are no pockets for grease to accumulate in.
Don’t move the food around
After the grill is preheated, it should be safe to place your food on. Grilling experts say that you shouldn’t move the meat around too much or touch it with a fork as this can cause flare-ups and make cooking more difficult.
Use tongs if you need to turn food over for even grilling, but only rotate in one direction to avoid damaging the food.
Don’t squeeze or flatten meats
This is what causes the flare-ups and makes cooking more difficult. Grilling experts recommend that you use tongs to turn your meat so it cooks evenly, rather than using a fork or flipping over with a spatula.
Don’t be afraid of fats!
Adding fat can help prevent food from sticking; this also helps keep the grill clean.
Keep a water spray bottle handy for flare-ups
If your food is cooking too quickly or if you are having trouble with it sticking, then a water spray bottle can help keep the grill clean and prevent flare-ups.
Do not put anything under the meat while grilling
Some people suggest using aluminum foil to hold in some of the heat on bony cuts of meat like chicken breasts or ribs, but experts recommend against this. The grill can’t cook properly and things will stick to the foil so it is best not to use anything under your food when grilling.
Invest in a meat thermometer
The only way to know if your meat is done cooking or not is with a good quality meat thermometer. This will make sure that you are correctly grilling the food and it won’t overcook on one side while continuing to cook through on another.
Another beneﬁt of using a meat thermometer is that it will keep your food from tasting dry and overcooked.
Avoid putting cold foods straight on the grill
It is best to allow cold items like steaks and vegetables to come up in temperature before grilling. This will help prevent the food from sticking as well as ensure that it cooks evenly.
Undercook foods, just slightly
The grilling process will cook the food more to your desired temperature. It is best not to overdo it and have all of your food overcooked, as this can dry out meat and vegetables.
By undercooking slightly, your food will continue to cook on the grill and you won’t lose any flavor.
Rest all meat after cooking
It is important to let your meat rest before cutting, as it will help keep juices in and prevent food from drying out.
For a perfect steak, this should be at least five minutes for thin cuts of beef like flank or skirt steaks; thicker pieces may need longer resting time.
Don’t over-char to cook through meat with bones
When grilling meat with bones, it is best not to over-char the outside. This will help ensure that all parts of the meat are cooked through without having it become too dry from charring on the inside.
Keep it simple when serving a crowd
If you are grilling for a group, it is best to ask everyone what they would like before cooking. This will help avoid overfilling the grill with too many different foods that might not cook at the same rate.
When cooking for a crowd it can become a little stressful. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help in getting the food off the grill and inside for eating.
Preheat the grill
If you want to be an expert griller, it is important that you preheat the grill properly. You should only put food on a hot grill; if your food will not cook in a few minutes then you need to wait until the grill reaches its optimal temperature.
This is one of the most important grilling tips to remember.
Use different grilling zones and indirect heat
Experienced griller will know to use different parts of the grill for various foods. For example, meats or vegetables that need a lot of time on the grill should be put in one area while things like hamburgers could go into another part where they can cook quickly and then get served without having to wait too long.
This also helps to keep the grill from getting too hot and overheating, which will result in food sticking to it.
Take advantage of the smoker
If you are not a fan of the taste from charring meat, then using charcoal or wood in smoker boxes to give it that smoked flavor is an easy way to do so.
A good rule of thumb for smoking your food on the grill is about one hour per pound and some smokers will also include instructions.
Get a nice pair of tongs
You will want to make sure that you invest in a good pair of tongs for grilling. This is especially true if you are cooking with meats or vegetables, as this will prevent the food from sticking and ensure it can easily be turned over on the grill without falling apart.
This is one of those tips that many people overlook but they are definitely worth investing in.
Invest in a good grill brush
If you want to make sure that your grill is always clean and ready for use, it will be important to invest in a really good quality grilling brush.
This may sound like an unnecessary expense but the truth of the matter is if you have any leftover food on there.
A good basting brush is a must
A good basting brush is one of the most essential tools for grilling. This will help you apply marinades or sauces to your food without having to worry about ruining a wooden spoon or other utensils that may not work as well.
It is important to make sure that the bristles on these are sturdy but flexible so that they can get into the creases of foods like a steak and remove any leftover bits.
Take it low and slow
If you want a really great meal that is well-cooked, then going low and slow will give it plenty of time to cook while avoiding burning.
This can be achieved by using indirect heat on the grill or cooking at lower temperatures in an oven.
Select the right meats
When cooking with meats, it is important to know which ones are best for grilling. A good rule of thumb is that the meat should be about an inch thick and have minimal fat on them before you put them on a grill.
This will help avoid overcooking or burning the outside while leaving it raw inside.
Keep the grill lid down
One important trick to remember when grilling is that you should keep the lid down. This will help retain heat and make sure that your food cooks evenly from all sides by trapping in more of the moisture inside.
The only time when it would be a good idea not to use this technique is if you are cooking something like salmon or other types of fish.
Gas Grill vs. Charcoal Grill
There are two main types of grills available to use and this is a gas grill or a coal grill.
A gas grill will provide you with the most control over your cooking process, as it is easily able to regulate heat while also supplying that nice charring effect on food thanks to the propane flame.
If you are looking for that authentic smoky flavor, then a coal grill may be the best choice. However, it does require some more effort as you will have to scoop out cinders and make sure they stay hot while also rotating food occasionally on the grate. It is generally easier to control heat with this type of grill, but there are some downsides depending on what you’re cooking.
Add BBQ sauce at the end
If you do want to add sauce when it is done cooking, then make sure that you wait until the end of the cooking time. This will help prevent the sauce from burning and can also give a nice glaze on top of your food for added flavor.
It’s also important you pick the right sauce for the meat that you are cooking. For instance, if you’re grilling beef or pork then a BBQ sauce with more of an apple cider vinegar base will work best while something like teriyaki may be better suited for seafood dishes.
Our favorite BBQ that we personally recommend is Sweet Baby Ray’s Variety 3 Pack-Honey Barbecue Sauce-Hickory & Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce-Sweet ‘n Spicy BBQ Sauce-18oz. bottles
Make the grill naturally non-stick
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of scrubbing your grill after every use, then making it naturally non-stick will make this job a whole lot easier. This can be done by cooking on one side for two hours without opening and flipping food over once or twice in that time frame.
Once the grill has been properly seasoned, there should be a protective coating of a protein called “pearls” now protecting your grill from sticking. The best way to achieve this is by using natural oils like olive oil which can
Use your thumb for even cooking
Another important tip for grilling is that you should use your thumb to check the temperature of your grill.
This can be done by using a single finger from each hand and feeling how hot it feels on the outside. If one side is hotter than the other, then rotate food around until everything cooks evenly without burning or overcooking anything in the process.
Let your meat rest before grilling
One of the most common grilling mistakes is that people start cooking their meat right away.
This can lead to overcooking, making your food dry and chewy while also having a less flavorful taste in general.
The best way to avoid this from happening is by letting it rest first before putting it on the grill for another few minutes.
In order to determine the right amount of time for this, you should take into account what type of meat it is and how thick it is before putting it on your grill.
This will help make sure that your food is not overcooked while also maintaining juiciness inside instead of turning out dry or tough.
When it comes to grilling, safety should always be your number one concern.
This means having a fire extinguisher on hand as well as making sure that the grill is out of reach from anything flammable like plants or dry leaves while it is in use.
Do not forget to wear long sleeves and pants when cooking with charcoal or gas
This will help protect you from hot embers that may fly off and also prevent any chemicals or fumes from getting on your clothes.
It’s also important to remember not to use lighter fluid when cooking with a charcoal grill, as this can lead the food to taste like it was cooked in an old car. Instead, try using newspaper or a charcoal chimney starter to get the fire going instead.
Practice makes perfect
The more you grill, the better at it you will get. This is especially true if you are grilling for a crowd or just want to make sure that your food has turned out perfectly every time.
There may be some trial and error along the way, but this is what makes all of those delicious dishes possible so don’t be discouraged.
If you follow these 25 expert grilling tips for success, then there is no doubt that you will be able to master the art of cooking on your grill.
It’s important to remember safety first and make sure not to cook too close to anything flammable while in use. You should also let the meat rest before putting it back onto the grill if possible so that it does not dry out or overcook.
If all else fails and your food doesn’t turn out as planned, don’t worry- practice makes perfect! Keep trying new things until you find something that works for you and soon enough, everyone will know how good a griller (or chef) you are!