Summer or winter, it’s never not grilling season for BBQ lovers. But even after a lot of experience behind the smoker, getting the grilling right can still be overwhelming.
What’s the right temperature? How long should you wait before taking the meat out of the grill? What is the best kind of charcoal that you should use?
There are just so many questions.
But don’t you worry! We’ve compiled a list of the best grill secrets straight from the masters. Read on as we discuss the intricacies involved to create the best BBQ recipes every time.
Always preheat your grill
Remember how before baking your favorite cake, you always have to preheat the oven? Just apply the same logic when grilling.
Whether it’s to extract the full flavor of slow-cooked food or get those coveted grill marks on meat chunks, grills should always be preheated if you want to get the most out of your cooking. If you put your ingredients on the grill too soon, you’ll get that noticeable and highly undesirable grassy smell in your foods.
We would also recommend keeping the heat to at least 500°F. In case you’re using charcoal, make sure you let the coal burn until it’s covered with a thin coating of grey ash. For a gas grill, it’s better to heat to high heat, which should take about 10 to 15 minutes.
Choose your meat cuts wisely
If you choose your needs incorrectly, you‘re setting yourself up for a grilling disaster.
You see, if you want a quick grilling session, you should look for meat that doesn’t spring back, and instead, yields to the touch. In this case, you should look for protein-packed chunks that have a little marbling effect. Remember, lean meats have a tendency to overcook and dry out rather quickly, so you have to adjust your grilling time accordingly.
Get the marinade timing right
We have two factors here that we’d like to bring to your notice.
Firstly, you should add your dry seasoning at least an hour before cooking. This will make the flavor seep inside your meat, irrespective of the cut. Next up, make sure you keep your meat tender and not mushy. There is a very slight difference between these two consistencies, but it certainly matters.
Depending on the quality of your meat, you should know whether or not it can withstand long marinade times. For instance, it’s common for expensive cuts to lose their structure when left in the marinade for long as opposed to lesser expensive cuts.
Knowing caramelization isn’t charring
Don’t all of us love that exquisite seared and smoky taste in our grilled goodies? Well, getting that taste is slightly trickier than expected.
You have to make sure you’re using the right level of heat, making sure that you don’t end up burning the meat. The best tip here would be to avoid turning your meat more than necessary – once or twice is good enough. This, in turn, will allow your meat chunks to brown properly – all the while retaining the rich, seared flavor.
Keeping your grill clean
If grilling is an art, keeping the grill clean is an obligation to make sure your art turns out beautiful. Otherwise, it’ll only become messy.
Bits and pieces of food are always going to be stuck on the grates whenever you get behind the grill. This is why you should clean the grates to remove any leftover grease or food particles before your next session. You can heat the grill and use a wire brush to remove any stuck food. In case you have a cast-iron grate, steel brushes work best.
Make the grill non-sticky
You might have used oil previously to make your grills non-sticky, but we have an even better technique than that.
Cut a potato in half, rub both the halves on the hot grates. This will prevent you from using too much oil, while creating a naturally non-sticky layer on the grill.
Buy a meat thermometer
Many grillers consider a meat thermometer an unnecessary expense, but not experts.
You‘ll find many thermometers mounted on the grill’s lid as heat has a tendency to rise. However, this also means that the thermometer can show a temperature of 50° hotter than they would when placed on the grill itself.
It’s to avoid these inaccuracies that you should buy an instant-read meat thermometer if you want to get your grilling right. You can use it to check the internal temperature of your meat and make sure that it’s always cooked properly every time.
And while you‘re at it, make sure you get yourself a nice pair of tongs as well!
Go slow and take it low
Grilling at super-hot temperatures is a recipe for a disaster. While you may think you‘re saving time by keeping the temperatures high, you’ll only be wasting your time and effort both since the ingredients won’t be cooked well and would taste just that, bad.
Instead, it’s better to grill slowly and at low temperatures. Make sure you learn how to control the temperatures of your grill so you can understand slow cooking techniques better. This can also help you experiment with different flavor profiles.
Create different grilling zones
You might have come across the term direct heat and indirect heat when reading through barbecue recipes – something that’s only possible when you create different grilling zones on your grill.
If you have a grill with a very large surface, it’s natural you want to cook multiple items at once. In such situations, you need to create different “zones“ to keep the temperature right according to the ingredients.
For instance, you can keep one section at a lower temperature, while the other section can have a higher temperature. You can shift your ingredients as needed to grill them thoroughly.
Make the most of your smoker
Having a charcoal grill with a smoker gives you a lot of room to experiment, especially if you plan on preparing multiple dishes for longer periods.
You see, these grills are designed with various sections, which makes them perfect for cooking roasted foods, such as chicken and brisket, that are cooked slowly. The only thing you need to ensure is adequate water and humidity in your smoker before leaving the dishes in.