How To Become A Pro At Grilling

How To Become A Pro At Grilling:12 Useful Tips

Ready to become a grilling pro? Grilling is an ancient method of cooking that still reigns supreme today. With the right tools and techniques, anyone can master the grill. 

Start by choosing quality ingredients and properly preheating your grill. Keep it clean to avoid sticking and flaring. Remember to oil your grill grates and let your meat rest before cutting. Experiment with different marinades and seasonings to enhance your flavors. 

Invest in a meat thermometer to ensure perfect doneness every time. Whether you’re grilling burgers, steaks, or veggies, these 12 tips will have you grilling like a pro in no time.

1. Use Room-Temperature Meat

For perfect grilling, always start with room-temperature meat. Taking meat straight from the fridge leads to uneven cooking, so take it out of the fridge 20 minutes before grilling. 

This simple step helps the meat cook just right without the grill working too hard. So, remember, room-temperature meat ensures tasty results every time you fire up the grill.

2. Ensure Your Grill Is Hot

Always make sure your grill is hot before you start cooking. This ensures that your food gets the perfect texture, stays juicy, and reduces the risk of sticking. Preheating the grill to the correct temperature is necessary for food safety and efficient cooking.

Remember, low heat ranges from 250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, medium heat reaches 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and high heat is between 400 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Preheating your grill, whether gas or charcoal, takes about 10 to 15 minutes, so plan accordingly.

A hot grill cooks food better and helps kill bacteria, ensuring your barbecue is delicious and safe.

3. Clean The Grill

Cleaning the grill before each use is essential for the best grilling results. Preheat it and scrape off any leftover food with a wire brush. This prevents the food from sticking and allows the flavors to shine through. 

A clean grill also prevents flavor contamination and ensures even cooking. To maintain hygiene, remember to clean the grill immediately after each use. If you don’t have a grill brush, use foil instead.

4. Oil The Grill

Before you start grilling, it’s important to oil the grill grate to prevent food from sticking. Avoid using strong-tasting oils like extra virgin olive oil, as they can burn easily. Instead, use a neutral oil such as vegetable or canola oil. You can apply the oil using a paper towel or a special kitchen rag, making sure not to use too much to avoid flaking.

If you’re using a gas grill, consider turning off the burners momentarily to reduce the fire risk. Alternatively, you can cut a potato in half to grease the grill naturally. Remember, oiling the grill helps clean up the char and ensures that your food cooks evenly without sticking.

5. Do Not Move Food Around Or Open The Lid On The Grill

Remember this golden rule when grilling: Don’t stir your food or lift the lid! Moving it around while cooking disrupts its cooking time and makes it cook unevenly. Plus, flipping your food only needs to happen once. 

Keeping the lid closed ensures that your grill stays hot enough to cook your food perfectly and prevents it from drying out. So, let your grill do its thing with the lid on and avoid unnecessary peeking to enjoy delicious, evenly cooked meals every time.

6. Use An Instant-Read Meat Thermometer

Always use an instant-read meat thermometer to ensure your grilled food is safe. This handy tool helps you check if your meat has reached the correct temperature. Remember, different meats have different safe temperatures. 

For example, chicken should reach 165°F, while beef can be medium at 160°F. Once you take the meat off the grill, it continues to cook a little more, so consider that extra 5 to 10 degrees—it’s called carryover cooking.

7. Invest In Some Good Quality BBQ Tools

Investing in high-quality BBQ tools can make grilling easier and more enjoyable. While you don’t need a big kit, a few safety essentials like a silicone brush for basting and heat-resistant gloves are crucial. For added protection, look for gloves that can withstand temperatures up to 662ºF. 

A good spatula, pair of tongs, Forks, and Knives are essential in any BBQ tool kit. For long-lasting enjoyment of your outdoor cooking adventures, choose appliances that are durable and built to withstand extreme heat.

8. Let The Meat Rest After Removing It From The Grill

Always let the meat rest after removing it from the grill. Resting allows the juices to spread evenly, making the meat juicier and tender. Whether it’s a large tri-tip or a small tenderloin, giving it 5-15 minutes makes all the difference. You can cover it with foil to keep it warm while resting.

9. Follow Food Safety Guidelines

Always follow these food safety guidelines to keep yourself and your loved ones safe in the kitchen. To avoid cross-contamination, remember to use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked foods. 

When marinating meat, always refrigerate it and never apply the marinade until it has been boiled to remove bacteria. Following these simple steps helps prevent foodborne illness and ensures that your meals are delicious and safe to eat.

10. Use A Grill Basket

When grilling cut vegetables and fruits, use a grill basket to prevent them from falling off the grates and catching fire. These handy tools are designed to securely hold small pieces of food and allow them to cook evenly over the heat. 

Before adding food to the basket, lightly grease it to prevent sticking. Grill baskets offer a convenient solution for cooking delicate ingredients on the grill without worrying about them being lost or burnt.

11. Know Whether To Cook Your Food Directly Or Indirectly

When grilling, knowing whether to cook your food directly or indirectly is very important. More minor cuts like New York strips cook best over direct heat, while larger cuts like ribs benefit from indirect cooking. Indirect heat means only half of the grill is heated, leaving the food on the unheated side to cook slowly. 

Maintaining a steady temperature of around 350 degrees Fahrenheit is essential to indirect grilling. Avoid opening the grill too often to prevent temperature fluctuations that can dry out your meat.

12. Add The Sauce To The Meat

When grilling meat, remember to add the sauce towards the end of the cooking time to prevent burning and sticking. Add the sauce in the last 5 minutes for a shorter cooking time. For longer, wait until the last 15 minutes. This prevents the sugars in the sauce from caramelizing too quickly, which ensures juicy and flavorful results.

Read: Homemade and Store Sauce

Final Thoughts

Grilling is an ancient method of cooking that brings out delicious flavors in meats and vegetables. By following these 12 tips, you can be a Grill Master in no time! Always make sure your grill is hot before cooking to get the perfect sear. Keep it clean to prevent sticking and unwanted flavors. Do not move the food around too much, and avoid opening the lid too often. Use a meat thermometer to be safe, and let the meat rest after grilling. 

Remember to follow food safety rules and choose the right temperature for your food. With these tips, you’ll be grilling like a pro!

lizz barret foster

I’m responsible for managing and coordinating content creation, distribution, and optimization. I’m the former editor-in-chief of PMQ Pizza Magazine and have written for several B2B food publications over the years, including Restaurant Hospitality, Flavor & The Menu, Restaurant Business, National Culinary Review, FSR, Restaurant Startup & Growth, and more.

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