Looking for a few useful grilling tips to elevate your Sunday BBQ? Summertime is probably the best time of the year, despite what winter enthusiasts would have you believe. When the weather is warm and the sun is high in the sky, it is time for the beach and outdoor parties. This is probably the coolest thing about those few warm months; you get to spend a lot of time out in the open instead of at home, curled up under a blanket. In addition to the enjoyment of being at the beach, grilling is another activity that is most fun at this time of year.
Inviting your friends and family over and making delicious food together is what summer is all about. But to do that, you have to master the art of grilling, which takes time to perfect. These are some grilling tips and ideas that could help you throw the best BBQ parties this summer.
Our Grilling Tips for the Summer
1. Get a Chimney Starter
Handling a charcoal grill often proves more complicated than anyone imagines, and there are several approaches to do it right. Getting a chimney starter can help you with that so you can focus on perfecting the food. It helps you light the coal and heat it without the need for any lighter fluid. It ignites it and creates a draft that will keep the coal-burning for a long time. It is a helpful tool to have for whatever sized barbecue you’re having, and it will make your life a lot easier.
2. Don’t Squeeze or Flip too Often
These are two of the most important grilling tips you will ever have. Flipping and squeezing the meat are two of the most common mistakes that people make while grilling. Flipping the steak over the grill can cause it to cook unevenly, as it keeps the heat from spreading evenly across the meat. The best approach is to let one side cook until the meat is ready to be flipped. You should then flip it –– for burgers, do it once only, and for bigger steaks, the fewer times the better. That way, it will cook evenly and form a delicious brown crust.
As for squeezing the meat, which can be too tempting to resist, it drains the steak or burger of the juicy fats inside, which will result in dry meat. Don’t squeeze the meat so it could retain its moisture and fat because that will make all the difference in the taste.
3. Poach Sausages
This is one of the favorite grilling tips of my son – who LOVES sausages. If you want to enjoy the best sausages you could ever have, poach them before you set them on the grill. This is particularly useful with fresh sausages as poaching them first helps them cook evenly, and it creates a delicious, juicy center that will taste wonderful after you grill the sausages.
4. Don’t Let the Flames Get Out of Control
Flare-ups aren’t something new with grilling, and they will happen every time you grill. Yet, that doesn’t mean you should let the flames roar out of control. They can charr up the food and give an unpleasant taste and look, ruining everything you have been doing. This is why it is a good idea to keep a spray bottle filled with water close by. This will help you dampen any flare-ups and keep the flames under control, keeping them from ruining your barbecue.
5. Close/Open the Lid Depending on the Cut
Different cuts of meat require different cooking techniques so keep that in mind. This will mostly affect whether or not you should keep the lid open. So, for slimmer cuts, fish, chicken breasts, or even steak, you should keep the lid open since those slender cuts cook faster and don’t need much time on the grill. As for bigger and thicker cuts like tenderloin or whole chickens, you should leave the lid closed as those will require a longer cooking time, and they need to cook evenly, so closing the lid will help you do that.
6. Oil the Grill
The last thing you want is for the meat to be sticking to the grill. Just as you would with a cooking pan, you need to grease the grill up. So, before you fire the device up and start grilling, get a paper towel, soak it in oil, and rub the grate. This will help you avoid any meat sticking to the grate and keep the entire barbecue smooth and easy. This is better done before you turn on the grill, but if it’s already on, you can use tongs to hold the towel.
7. Clean the Grill
This is one of the most important tips for an excellent grilling experience, yet, it is one that a lot of people forget about or willingly ignore. If you want to have an excellent grill with delicious food, you have to do it on a clean grill. The last thing you want is for the fish from the last BBQ to stench up the chicken or steak you’re grilling this time. Food has a pungent odor that can linger around for long after you’re done cooking unless you clean the grill properly.
It is not just the smell that you should be worried about, though. Using an unclean grill can pose a serious threat to your health. This is why BBQ grill cleaning is essential, and it has to be done properly and in an organized manner. As a ground rule, make sure you clean the grill thoroughly after a barbecue and clean it the next time you take it out, too.
8. Let the Grill Heat up Before Using It
A lot of amateurs put the meat on the grill before it heats up, which doesn’t do your barbecue any favors and could end up ruining it completely. You should wait for the grill to heat up after turning it on or lighting the charcoal for at least five to ten minutes before you put the meat on. If you are using lighter fluid, it is best to wait for a full 10 minutes until it has all evaporated, so it wouldn’t get into your food.
9. Use a Meat Thermometer
A lot of people think that a meat thermometer is just a fancy accessory used by professional chefs on cooking shows, which is far from the truth. It is an integral tool that will help you perfect your barbecue and makes all the difference in your grilling technique. Most chefs can’t tell the meat’s temperature by just touching it, and even those who are experienced enough to know often use a thermometer. It is a much easier and simpler way to learn if your meat is cooked throughout and to which extent, which will help you grill the cuts to a rare, medium or well-done degree, depending on the preferences of the people eating.
10. Cut Vegetables into Long Strips
This might sound like one of those insignificant grilling tips. However, there is nothing quite like grilled veggies, but making those isn’t as easy as it sounds. We often cut them into chunks while sautéing or roasting, but with grilling, that is not the way to go. They need to have a considerable surface area so they can cook evenly and not get burned. Considering veggies grill a lot faster than meat, you should cut them into long strips or rounds. That way, they will cook fast and evenly, and you won’t have many wasted chunks that are either charred or unevenly cooked.
11. Control the Heat
The secret to grilling is controlling the heat. To do that, you need to understand what kind of cut you are dealing with. For chicken, you need to use low heat. Chicken is very easily cooked and doesn’t take high temperatures, but a lot of people grill it wrong. You want it to be crispy on the surface and juicy inside, or else, what’s the point in grilling? For that to happen, use low heat and flip it a couple of times until it cooks evenly. As for beef and pork, for instance, they require high heat to cook. So, for steaks or pork tenderloin, make sure the heat isn’t low or else the center of the meat won’t cook properly.
12. Let the Meat Defrost
Another very common mistake that many people make while grilling is taking the meat right out of the freezer and putting it on the grill. If you do that, the meat most likely won’t cook evenly and the taste will be off. It is best that you let it come to the room temperature by leaving it for half an hour or so on the counter. After that, you can put the meat on the grill and commence the barbecue. That way, it will cook evenly, and you will get a delicious flavor.
People like grilled food because of the delicious smoky or charred taste that comes from using charcoal or even gas. Yet, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest some time and effort to elevate that taste by marinating before you grill. There are a ton of options to make the perfect marinade for your meat, from lemon juice to barbecue sauce or even wine. Let the meat marinate for hours, overnight even. When it is time to grill, you will find that the taste is significantly better because you let the meat marinate for hours. So, experiment with different marinades and try out flavors until you find one that you love. You will find that it takes your grilling game to the next level and is totally worth the effort. By the way – read this if you want to make your own BBQ sauce.
14. Don’t Overcook
This is one of the most important grilling tips. Overcooking food is never a good idea, especially when you are grilling. You should know that the food continues to cook for a while even after you take it off the grill, which means you still have a few minutes of it cooking although you removed the heat source. Carry over cooking is real, and it could be the difference between a juicy steak and an overcooked one. So, experts recommend that you take the meat off the grill just a little bit earlier. This will leave a few minutes on the outside where it can cook just a bit more, leaving you with a delicious steak or burger. Even if it is not fully cooked, undercooked is always better than the other way around, at least until you perfect the timing when it comes to grilling.
15. Focus on Grilling
This might sound like a bit much for some people, but you do need to focus on grilling so you could have the perfect barbecue. This means that you shouldn’t be dividing your attention between the grill, beverages, side dishes, and a ton of other things when you have a crowd to feed. Grilling isn’t that difficult, but the slightest oversight can lead to cooking errors that result in food that isn’t as flavorful as you had expected. So, prepare any other side dishes beforehand, and focus on grilling the meat and/or veggies and nothing else. You also need to understand your grill and how it works, so don’t wing it.
Read the manual before turning it on. Focusing on grilling and being careful helps you avoid cooking mistakes that will result in poor food, and more importantly, it ensures your safety as well as that of all guests at the barbecue. The last thing you need is burning an eyebrow or blowing something up in what was supposed to be a nice family barbecue.
Grilling is all about attention to detail and careful consideration. Even the utensils you use will make a difference. If you use plastic utensils, they could easily melt from the high heat, which is why it is always better to use metal utensils. These are the kinds of details that make a successful barbecue.
It is not as difficult as you might think, but it does require some planning. So, before you invite everyone over for a BBQ, take some time to think about the number of people you can accommodate, how many individuals your grill can serve, the supplies you have, and so on. The more effort you put into planning, the better your barbecue will turn out to be.
If after all – you prefer to go to an excellent BBQ restaurant – check this post.