6 Great Grilling Tips

April 24, 2006 10 Comments

Grilling Tips

Six Of My Favorite Grilling Tips

Either you love to grill or you hate it. There is no in between. I love to grill but I don’t always follow my own guidelines so I mess up. I compare it to day trading, something I tried a few years ago to some success but failed in the end because I didn’t follow the rules.

There are some simple rules to grilling that by following you have a better chance of success than if you just throw a piece of meat or fish on the barbecue.  There are actually lots of different grilling techniques depending on what you are cooking and what you are cooking on but I’m going to just mention some of the basics.

I receive a lot of email from home cooks who complain they tried grilling a piece of swordfish or a New York strip steak and the results were not what they expected. They say, “Why can’t I grill a piece of fish like they do at (insert your favorite restaurant)?”

The answer is simple. You don’t grill everyday, six days a week. In a restaurant, the jobs are specialized so all one cook may do all day and night is grill.  They may grill 50 to 150 items a night, day after day. I promise if you grill one item every day for a few weeks you will become a great griller at home.

Here are a few tips that may help you next time you fire up your grill. I have a lot more information on grilling at Grilling at Home.

  1. Numero Uno! When it comes to grilling make sure it is clean. You don’t want your steak to taste like last nights fish.
  2. Preheat your grill. One of the biggest mistakes home cooks make when grilling is not getting the grill hot enough. This is especially true with gas grills. One of the conveniences of cooking with gas is you don’t have to wait for the coals to get hot but more times than not we start cooking before the grate is hot enough. With a gas grill, you may have to let it preheat for 15 to 30 minutes.
  3. Get to know your grill. Just like your sauté pans, grills have hot spots and cool spots. You want to learn where on the grill items are more likely to burn and where other items may not cook at all.
  4. Prep your ingredients. Trim fat off meat, have your rubs applied, and be sure all your vegetables are cut to the right size and ready to go. You don’t want to get to the grill and be pulled away to prep.
  5. Stay focused. The second biggest mistake I think I make when grilling is walking away from the grill to do something else. It may be get another dish ready, pour a glass of wine or talk with some friends but this is always when I make my mistakes. Once you start grilling, stay with it and pay attention. You don’t want to ruin an expensive piece of meat for a refill.
  6. Practice, practice, practice. The more you grill the better you’ll become at knowing when something is done and ready to serve. There are lots of timing tricks but the bottom line is experience and getting a feel for the food.

These are just a few of the many pointers that may help you become a better grill master but I would love to hear from you and read some of your favorite grilling tips.

And be sure to also check out my article 8 Tips to Grill Like a Pro

Last modified on Thu 31 July 2014 10:40 am

Comments (10)

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  1. Melbuurn says:

    I love to grill as it is an easy low-fat flavoursome way of cooking. Something th George Foreman’s of this world will never be able to recreate.

    However, I just purchased a new heavy based skillet. I seasoned as per the instructions, which was basically coat in vegetable oil then bake in a 200c oven for 1 hour, then allow to cool in the overn.

    I did this but I now have a skillet that essentially has the oil burnt into it. No amount of scrubbing with a ligjht scourer, hot water and detergent will move the persistent grease.

    My question is, have I killed this new skillet or is there a way to get it clean?


  2. Mike says:

    Your Heavy Skillet Problem….
    Try heating it up again at about 200c.
    But take it out and wipe it down with paper towels or whatever you have. The old grease should soften up
    enough to accomplish this. I had to go through the same procedure…now I use the pan every day.

  3. jim says:

    If you it is pure cast iron you can do what we do to re=season cast iron skillets. Next time you have a bonfire throw the skillet into the fire. The heat from the fire will “cook” out the seasoned oil. Take the skillet back to the kitchen the next day when the fire has went out and clean and try seasoning it again. This sounds like a crazy idea but it works wonderfully.

  4. Bob says:

    Try the folllowing web site for instructions on seasoning and care of cast iron.


  5. Matt says:

    Why in God’ green earth would you want to remove the seasoning from your cast iron? If you have a skanky cast iron pan scour it with salt (no soap ever!!) coat with oil (veg oil, canola oil, peanut oil, something with a high smoke point) and pop that sucker in the oven.
    When you clean the thing after cooking do not use soap and be sure to DRY the thing lest it rust
    Also what does a cast iron pan have to do with grilling?

  6. philip weinstein says:

    I have a wonderful wood grill I shipped to new england from Texas, thick steel. Slow cooking is the secret. Keep it less than 300 degrees and away from the fire. Juicy and tender is the result. Roasts, ribs, chichen whatever. Philip

  7. David Arnold says:

    Indirect cooking is the best way to do things such as chicken breast, especially with a covered grill (like a Weber). Once the coals are ready, divide them in half, and place a rectangular disposable aluminum (foil) drip pan in the center. Place the chicken over the drip pan, and cook for the usual required time. The chicken will not be charred, but will be well cooked. Works like a champ!

  8. Brenda says:

    Have you tried plank grilling? Buy any UNTREATED plank at the lumber yard/Home Depot. We keep 12″ cedar fence planks on hand. Cut a piece large enough for your meat, fish or wheel of Brie. Soak in water, several hours to all day. Place food on plank & take to the grill. Yes, the plank burns up. The food absorbs the fragrance from the wood.

    We do salmon with a crab topping or make a homemade salsa to top the Brie. Proscuitto wrapped asparagus is also wonderful.

    The cookbook that started us is “Sticks & Stones”. It has recipes using washed pine needles!

  9. Sheila says:

    Grill Corn on the cob, smothered in Anchovy Paste – it is F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S! Salty and very, very tasty!

  10. Kathy says:

    If you have a V-Rack for your roasting pan, you can turn it upside down and use it for a rib rack when grilling.

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