When it comes to grilling right, experience is the most important factor. So when just starting out, practice on cheaper foods. You can still get great results with cheaper cuts, but if you mess up, you’re not out a lot of money.
People have been grilling (the modern way) at home for decades now. Prosperity meant leisure time, and leisure time meant backyard grilling. What has changed, however, is the quality of grilling. Advancements of grilling technology and grilling knowledge have improved backyard cooking a great deal.
When talking about gas grills, many people are certain that using a sterile appliance such as this would make nothing but tasteless food. These folks are used to the fragrant smell of smoke from a charcoal or wood fire. But given the chance, the gas grill has become the “grill of choice” of many backyard cooks.
There is nothing wrong with a charcoal grill. It just takes a little more grilling knowledge. A charcoal grill takes longer to get started, and requires more watching while grilling (to make sure the fire and heat is right). Never use charcoal starter. Instead, buy a chimney starter to get the fire started. It is easy to use, and it does not leave a foul taste on the food.
In any type of grilling, there are some basic tips that need to be learned and followed, in order to produce great results virtually every time you grill. There are “do’s and dont’s that make the difference in grilling success or failure.
1) When buying a grill, it is just as easy to cook a small amount of food on a large grill than a large amount of food on a small grill. For this reason alone, buy a large grill.
2) Beginning grillers often believe that great grilling requires the heat to be as high as possible, with the meat being as close to the flame as possible. It is supposed to be a quick process. But while you do want to sear in meat flavors, you do not want to coat the meat with a layer of burned flesh. It creates a charred, bitter, and not so great taste. Always grill over low flames, and with the food at least 6 inches above the fire.
3) When grilling, never leave the grill unattended for more than a couple of minutes. When grilling meat, a flareup can happen at any time. Always have a clean spray bottle filled with clean water to knock down any flames that get a little too high.
4) Brush meats with sweetened barbecue sauces and glazes just a few minutes from the time it is done cooking. If you apply the sauces too soon in the grilling process, they will burn and leave a foul taste on the meat.
5) Always clean the grill rack thoroughly after using. If you go over it with a wire brush or steel wool right after grilling, the lingering heat will allow you to get the food bits off the grate easier. Wipe with a rag or paper towels dipped into vegetable oil afterwards, Your grill will not get rusty, and will be ready to use the next time.
6) If you have a gas grill, buy a spare tank for use when the other one runs out of propane. Gauges are not always accurate, so having an extra tank will prevent running out of gas halfway through grilling an expensive steak.
This is not really a grilling tip, but more of a suggestion: Be creative with your grilling. Try adding flavors that normally sound like they would be tasty, but may not have been tried before. Most importantly, be safe and have fun grilling.
Billy Bristol is the editor and chief bbq pitmaster for TexasBarbeques.com, an outdoor cooking and entertaining website devoted to backyard living. TexasBarbeques.com has been providing barbecue recipes, cooking tips, grilling techniques, and backyard entertainment ideas since 2005.
Billy is also the writer and editor for Food in Texas, a website devoted to the celebration of traditional homemade Texas Food. With simple recipes and cooking ideas that bring out the best in classic Texas cuisine, Food in Texas is creating its own culinary legacy.
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