Summer has arrived. It’s time to enjoy the sunlight, natural view and some good quality time with friends & family. It’s also the perfect time to use your favorite appliance, the smoker or barbeque machine.
If you are a beginner, grilling can be a little tricky for you. To help you out, we will discuss some useful grilling tips and tricks. By effectively using those tips, your grilling skills will certainly be enhanced.
11 Tips Every Beginner Should Know
Grilling and smoking take some dedication. But the result is always satisfying. To slowly become a pro, understand the following steps.
1. Know How Your Grill Works
The first and foremost point is to know every detail and function of your grill. Based on the mechanism & design, every appliance is different.
Check the instruction book and study everything carefully. It will teach you all the basics, like how to switch on the grill, which can be risky if not done correctly. It can also be embarrassing if by accident you burn your hair in the grill even before you have started cooking.
Jokes aside, it can be very risky if you do not know what you are doing. The same goes if you want to use smokers.
Smokers are a little different from grills. Smokers utilize smoke to cook the meat. To check out the best barrel smokers, take a look at this article on boatbasincafe.com.
2. Select Your Charcoal
If you are a beginner then using gas grills will be a good choice, but if you want to take your skills to the next level then try using charcoal.
The fuel used for cooking can have significant differences and charcoal is a traditional cooking fuel for grilling, smoking, and barbecuing. You have to use charcoal at some point, so it is better to learn early.
First, you have to know your charcoal. The two main types are briquettes and lumps. Briquettes offer a long burning time and are consistent. Briquettes also come in pieces that are almost equal in shape and size.
Lumps, on the other hand, offer a nice clean burn, reach higher temperatures, and allow to form a smoky flavor.
3. Use Hands To Check The Heat
The modern grill has a system to display the temperature. You can simply look at it to see if the heat level is perfect or not. If you do not have a modern one do not worry, you can tell the temperature simply with the help of your hand.
1. How To Tell If It Is High Heat
Place your hand, palm down at least six inches above the grill. Feel the heat. If you can not hold your palm in that position for more than three seconds then the grill is at high heat.
2. How To Tell If It Is Medium Heat
Do the same. This time if you can not hold it over six seconds, you are at medium heat.
3. How To Tell If It Is Low Heat
This time, if you can hold your hand over the grill for over ten seconds or more then you are at low heat.
4. Always Use Metal Utensils
Using plastic utensils is not advised while grilling. Since plastics melt easily, it is not eco-friendly. So, always use metal utensils.
Also, make sure you have sufficient amounts of charcoal and gas. It would be a great idea to bring some cold refreshments for yourself as it can be extremely hot while cooking on a grill.
5. Know When To Use Direct & Indirect Heat
Heat zones are an absolute necessity, no matter which grill you use. This is done by preheating the grills. there are two ways to do so.
If you place the grilling item directly on top of the heat source, then it is direct heat. If you want to sear or get fine grill marks on your meat, this is the way to do it.
But since the meat comes in direct contact with the heat, there is a chance that the outer layer may get overcooked, while the inner part remains raw. To eliminate this issue, switch to indirect heat.
In this method, you do not place the item directly on top of the flame, but rather on a separate part that is heated by preheating.
With this, not only will you cook the outer layer perfectly, but the inner portion will also get nicely cooked. For the best result, however, start by using direct heat and when the outer layer is done, switch to indirect heat.
6. Properly Oil Your Grill
You do not want the meat and other food items to badly stick to the grill grates. To avoid that, you have to oil the grill.
Make sure your grill is turned off, pour some oil on a paper towel, and use it to rub the oil all over your grill. If the grill is already on then use a tong to hold the oil-soaked paper towel and rub the grate.
If you do not have paper towels around you then use an onion. Slice the onion in half, use the tong to hold the onion and dip it in vegetable oil, and rub the grates.
7. Warm Up Your Food Nicely
Try to cook your meat at normal room temperature. Remove the meat from the refrigerator and set it aside for 20-40 minutes.
Grilling your meat at a high temperature for a short period is the secret to a yummy meal. The longer you will cook your steak, the drier and tasteless it will become.
To make the ideal medium-rare steak you need the insides of the meat to be a little cold when you put it on the grill. This will make the outside crispy and the inside much tender.
8. Keep The Lid On
Whether to keep the lid on or off is another common confusion beginners have. There are four primary benefits to keeping your lid closed.
- Your food gets properly seared since the grates get very hot when the lid is on.
- It allows your food to stay juicy, prevents it from drying out, and shortens cooking time.
- By keeping the lid on, you can trap the smokiness inside. This smoky flavor comes out when the juices and fat of the meat are vaporized due to the heat.
- If the fat drips off and hits the grill, it can cause a sudden burst of flame or flare-up. Flare-ups can be very dangerous if you are too close to the grill. But this can be avoided by keeping the lid on.
9. Use A Meat Thermometer
It’s difficult to guess the meat temperature simply by touching it unless you’re a very skilled chef. We recommend purchasing a meat thermometer for this purpose.
It will be simple and faster for you, and the accuracy level will be higher as well. Meat thermometers are also cheap. The average ones only cost about $10. This is a small price to pay to enhance your grilling skills.
If you still want to know how to measure the temperature with your bare hands then here is how you should do it.
Gently touch the meat on the grill and if it feels soft like the lump of flesh between your thumb and index finger then your meat is rare. If it feels as soft as your cheek then it is cooked medium-rare. If the meat feels as hard and firm as your forehead then it is well-done.
However, using the meat thermometer is the most accurate way to tell.
10. Don’t Move Your Food Around
Another important trick is to never turn your steak repeatedly, let it produce a crispy coating first. If you keep turning the meat before it’s properly cooked, it’ll stick continuously to the grill grate. For flipping your meat, use a spatula or tongs.
Avoid the temptation to use a fork to continuously poke, pierce and stab your meat to check whether the meat is perfectly cooked or not.
If you do that, the juice inside the meat will spill out and make it dry, less tasty, and less juicy.
11. Always Keep Your Grill Clean
Keeping the grill tidy and clean, as well as properly washing hands are some of the most essential aspects of cooking.
If food splatters on your grill, and it’s warm, immediately use a stainless steel brush to clean it. This isn’t just for the sake of cleanliness. It also keeps the food from sticking to the pan. Besides, a dirty grill can get your guests sick.
Some essential equipment for cleaning your grill is:
- Grill cleaning brushes
- Ash vacuum cleaner
- Cleaning sprays
- BBQ ash tools
- Cleaning tool kits
Grilling for the first time can be a little overwhelming with all the heat and smoke but if you get it right, the results are always satisfying. So gather your tools, follow these tips and cook some mouth-watering meaty dishes.