Master the Grill this Summer

May 12, 2022

Fun things always happen in summertime. There are gatherings here, there, everywhere! Fire up the grill—it’s time for a cookout!  

When it comes to the best food, preparation and taste are key. And when thinking about the type of food that gives you a full, happy stomach but isn’t too hard to prepare, there’s only one thing that comes to mind: barbecue!

Grilling is one of the best ways to enjoy making and eating delicious food during the warmer months. To get the most out of your barbecue party, make sure you know the grilling essentials.

Basic Supplies Needed For Grilling

First off, you need the proper materials by your side. Before firing up the grill, have these items ready: 

  • Charcoal or gas grill
  • Meat thermometer
  • Grill brush
  • Sturdy tongs
  • Spatula

How To Grill Properly

To truly enjoy a savory barbecue, you need use the right techniques. Here are the four top tips to master grilling this summer:

1. Clean your grill

Cleaning your grill does wonders! You always want to be sanitary, especially when it comes to food. Use a stainless steel brush to clean your grill so that you can remove food stuck in your cooking grates. Do this when the grill is hot, because it will be easier to clean.

2. Preheat your grill

On to the exciting part, preheating your grill. Close the lids for 10-15 minutes until the temperature reaches 500˚F.

If you’re wondering why it’s a must to keep the top down while preheating, it keeps the grates hot enough to make it ready to sear the food. It also prevents you from having to flare it up again because of limited oxygen. Lastly, it reduces cooking time by speeding up the whole process! 

3. Monitor your time

If you use a timer during grilling, there are fewer chances that you will overcook your food.

4. Maintain your grill temperature

To avoid over or undercooking your food, maintain your grill temperature by controlling the individual knobs provided by the grill itself.

If you want to slow down the fuel burning rate, close the top vent halfway while keeping the lid on. The top and bottom dampers’ role is to control the airflow inside the grill, so when there’s more air in the grill, the fire will be hotter.

Keep in mind the types of charcoal fire: a charcoal briquette fire typically loses 100˚F of heat over 40 to 60 minutes, while a charcoal fire loses heat even faster.

If there’s too much flame, simply keep the lid on as much as possible. This controls the amount of oxygen inside the fill, which can eliminate intense flare-ups.

If the heat is getting out of hand, you can always move the food to indirect heat, wait for the heat to die down, and then move the food back.

Direct and Indirect Heat

What's the difference between direct and indirect heat? Keep reading to learn which to use on different meats.

Direct Heat

Direct heat is when the heat is directly hitting the food. For direct heat, the best food to cook is relatively small and tender pieces that can be cooked in 20 minutes or less. Some examples are hotdogs, kabobs, burgers, and shrimp. It’s also ideal for dishes like steak, boneless chicken breasts, and pork chops.

Indirect Heat

Indirect heat is when the meat is placed to the side of the heat source. This type of heat is best for larger and tougher cuts of meat that usually require more than 20 minutes to cook. It is also ideal for whole chickens, roasts, or cedar plank fish.

Gas Versus Charcoal

Both gas and charcoal grills have their fair shares of benefits and drawbacks. Here are some of the things you should know when deciding on a grill.

Benefits Of A Gas Grill

Gas grills can be convenient because of their low maintenance.

  • Gas fuel is cheaper than charcoal.
  • It’s easier to clean.
  • They come with different accessories like smoke boxes that can help get a charcoal flavor.
  • They give off steam that adds moisture to any meat.

Disadvantages Of A Gas Grill

  • Gas grills are difficult to move around compared to a charcoal grill.
  • They can cause uncontrolled flare-ups, which can be dangerous.
  • They aren’t as hot as a charcoal grill.

Benefits Of A Charcoal Grill

Charcoal grills have their own benefits.

  • Charcoal grills cost less than gas grills. 
  • They don’t flare up like gas grills because the charcoal provides the heat for cooking.
  • They are more portable.
  • They are hotter because charcoal burns hotter than gas.
  • The smoke flavor given by charcoal gives food a yummier taste.

Disadvantages Of A Charcoal Grill

  • They take more effort to clean.
  • Longer cooking sessions mean more charcoal.
  • The grills don’t come with any accessories or additional features.
  • They may sometimes have a petrochemical smell.

Simple Tips to Make It Yummier

Caramelize Well!

Above all, what makes people rave over grilled food is its delicious taste. If you’re grilling pork, barbecues, and hotdogs, don’t forget to marinate and season first, which lets the flavor seep in more and makes every bite more delicious.

Avoid Putting Cold Food Into The Grill

Before grilling it, make sure that the meat is not frozen or cold. The meat won't cook evenly, and will take longer to cook.

Rest The Meat

After cooking, let the meat sit for about 15 minutes. The juices will redistribute, making it tender and juicy. The bigger the meat, the longer the resting time.

How To Know When Your Meat Is Done

Now that we’re done with the nitty-gritty, we’re down to the fun part! To know if your meat is cooked, there is the most obvious option: cutting it! You’ll know if it’s done if there’s no blood seeping.

But if you don’t want to cut the meat, there are also other options for you to know when it’s ready.

The first option is simply using a thermometer. This is easier and saves you the hassle of having to cut the meat. For pork, beef, and lamb, the ideal temperature is 145˚F.

For the second option, use the touch test method. If you don’t want to touch food you’ll serve to your family and friends, a tong can do just the same. Remember that the more cooked the meat is, the more malleable it is.

If you use these tips and tricks, prepare to have a barbecue party of a lifetime! Your friends and family will certainly want to come back for more grilling sessions with you and your barbecuing skills.

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