Become A Better Grill Master With These Simple 8 Grilling Tips
Home cooking enthusiasts often ask me for grilling tips and how to grill as the pros do. My first response is always practice, practice, practice. Think about it: professional chefs working the grill station may cook dozens of steaks on any given night. That adds up to hundreds of steaks each week cooked to desired temperatures rare, medium rare, medium, medium-well, and well done.
I would imagine if you cooked dozens of steaks or dozens of chicken breasts or hundreds of fish filets each week, you would be an expert and be able to cook them with your eyes closed. But, unfortunately, reality sets in and you may cook a couple of steaks once a week or twice a month, so how can you be sure you'll get it right?
Nothing beats experience or the opportunity to cook one thing repeatedly, but that doesn't mean you can improve your grilling technique.
Here are eight tips that will make you a better home griller and improve your chances of putting perfectly cooked steaks on the table every time. Combine this with experience, and you'll be grilling like a pro.
Gas or Charcoal
In my opinion, grilling over gas and grilling over charcoal are two entirely different experiences. Grilling over gas is like cooking in the house on a gas stove, except you are outside.
It's easier and faster to cook on a gas grill, but you can only get the grill racks as hot as the grill is rated in BTUs. Great for lots of items that don't need a hot grill and perfect when you are in a hurry but not so good if you want that authentic smokey flavor.
Grilling over charcoal takes a little bit longer to get the fire started and get the grill hot, but once it's ready to go, you can control the heat by adding more coals or moving them into a confined area.
Not everything you cook needs such intense heat, but it's nice to have when you need it. You also get the added benefit of smoke produced when using natural charcoal.
These tips work for either gas or charcoal. Whatever method you use at your house, following these tips will make you a better griller.
#1. Start with a Clean Grill
Nothing makes grilling less fun than opening the cover and finding a messy grill with the racks caked with barbecues past. I've seen grills so impenetrable with a baked-on gooey barbecue sauce that I'm surprised the heat can get through the rack.
And how about when in the middle of grilling, the grease stuck to the sides of the grill and the grease trap catch fire, only to make your grilling experience even more challenging?
Keep your grill clean! It allows the heat to transfer better, prevents fires, and makes you feel like a better cook. What is the best way to start with a clean grill? Finish with a clean grill.
When the grill is hot, it is a lot easier to clean so be sure to pull out your grill brush and give it a clean before you head inside to eat.
You left out probably the most important thing in grilling like a pro tips. Since nearly everything is done to a stage or (doneness), a thermometer for internal temp is required to ensure tremendous success. With a thermometer a novice can actually cook a 2 lb rib eye to perfection better than a restaurant. I'm finding out at my over middle age that nearly all people that grill get lucky if they happen to cook with success and do not use such a simple tool.
That's a good point that a gas grill will only get as hot as it's rated in btu's. Charcoal lets you control the heat more directly. You can also take charcoal wherever you go.
G. Stephen Jones
Good points Larry. Thanks for sharing.
Some great points - especially "don't play with your food". That was one of the things I had hard time with when I started grilling. I would get worried it was burning so I kept moving it around, flipping, etc. Just leave it be! 🙂
If you haven't ever tried Porter & York Brand Meats, you might want to give it a try. They ship their meat out in special packaging designed to keep the fresh, never frozen, beef that has been raised naturally (grass fed, grain finished). I was able to cut one of their filet mignon's with a fork. Delicious.
I'm planning on getting my husband a new grill pro for his birthday. So thanks for the suggestion that he should use some oil or something else to grease up the grill unless what you're cooking has already been using oil for something. I'll be sure that the hamburgers and hot dogs we make on his birthday with his new pro tool are cooked on an oiled up grates.
I am getting my husband a grill for his birthday and I wanted to include some tips with it so he can learn how to grill like a pro. These are all wonderful tips! I didn't know about grill zones before! That's cool that you can get direct heat and indirect heat to help cook the food. Thanks for the tips! I'm sure these will help my husband cook like a pro!
G. Stephen Jones
You are welcome. I'm sure he will be thrilled with his new grill.
Wonderful points especially on grilling techniques. Surely using charcoal is more convenient in managing the heat transfer, but both have advantages and disadvantages. thanks for sharing.
G. Stephen Jones
You are welcome Hilmy.
One reason to not use olive oil is that it smokes/burns at a lower temperature than Canola or Safflower.
Thanks for your tips about how grease in the middle of the trap can make it a lot harder and making sure that the grill is clean can be really useful in making sure that there is better heat. I have been trying to cook more for my kids and I really want to make a great BBQ and learn how to do it with ribs so that we can have a great dinner. Getting some better equipment from a professional could be really useful and help me understand how to do some better cooking.
Thanks for letting me know that it is easier to cook barbecue on a gas grill. I've been serving vegetable meals to my kids for the past few weeks and they requested for spicy barbecue for next week. Aside from practicing my grilling skills, it would be a good idea to look for a condiments store that sells good hot sauces that they would love.