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Take Your Grilling Skills to the Next Level With These Tips

I believe in grilling against the elements. While I don't encourage going out in a blizzard for some grilled sausages, I do think that having a quick grill session in a drizzle is totally feasible. After all, grilling is cooking directly over the most lethal natural element, isn't it? 
But I know not everyone is as hardcore as myself, and I do recognize that summer is the official BBQ season. Which is the perfect time to practice your grilling methods and take the average grilling session to the pro level. Let's see what's under that hood!

1. Work with the hot spots

grilling assorted food

Learning the hotter spots of your grill will allow you to create heat zones for gradual, even cooking. First, identify the hot spots by covering the entire grill surface with inexpensive white bread. Make sure you cover the entire surface, like tiles. Close the hood and turn the heat to medium - about 350°F. 

Once you smell the toast, flip the slices and see which are more toasted. You can also take a photo of your bread tiles to remember. This method also works for the oven!

When you learn the hot spots, you can work with them to control your cooking. What cooks quicker, like veggies, will go to the colder areas, while the rest - things that only need a light roast - will go to the hotter areas.

You can also easily manipulate the hot spots by controlling the burners in a gas stove, or arranging the coals only on one side so that half your grill is on high heat and the other on low heat.

2. Forget the grill marks

grilling sausage and veggies

Cross-hatching grill marks are only beautiful to the eye. While we do agree that a dish has to be pleasing the eye as well as the tongue, one can't come at the expense of the other- you've got to prioritize taste. How would you get the glorified grill marks AND a juicy steak? Follow these tips:

- Don't ever squeeze anything into the grill. That satisfying "tssss" is the sound of all the juices in your food going down in flames. The result? A beautifully striped steak, which is super tough and dry inside. 

- Instead, grill your food about 70% on one side without flipping, prodding, or squeezing. Then finish it on the other side and enjoy a succulent grill feast, the likes of which you've never had before!

"With your meat on the cool side of the grill and the grill covered, you can even create an oven-like setting inside for grill-roasting large cuts of meat like prime rib or a leg of lamb," as Serious Eats states. 

3. Expand your arsenal

grilling- grill basket

Investing in good grill baskets has several benefits:

- Say goodbye to ever losing food through the grates again. Your new grill baskets are here to make sure nothing, and we mean even the smallest diced potatoes, will ever fall into the flames. 

- Say hello to perfectly cooked tender fish! Grilling fish in the grilling basket ensures the skin won't tear off, resulting in fish that's both perfectly cooked AND pleasing to the eye. 

A thermometer will help you get that perfectly cooked steak every single time. No more guessing or poking the meat to try and decipher if it’s rare, medium, or well done. Use the thermometer for an accurate reading: 

  • 120°F equals a rare steak 
  • 140°F equals a medium steak
  • 160°F equals a well-done steak.

4. Light a coal grill with a chimney starter

grilling- coal
Ditch the match light coals and the lighter fluid. This is not good for your health and the taste of your food. Instead, place some crumpled newspaper underneath a chimney starter, pack the top with coals, set the newspaper on fire with a single match, and let the fire burn the coals until they're entirely gray. Then, and only then, spread the coals and start cooking. 
5. Extra pro-tips
grilling with friends
  • Don’t forget to let the grill preheat for at least 10 minutes. Once you light the fire, cover the grill so that the grates are well heated.
  • Always start with a clean grill if you forgot to clean your grill after your last grilling session, here is a quick cleaning tip.
  • Mind the vents. Opening them will allow oxygen in, increasing the heat inside the grill.
  • Let the meat rest a few minutes before cutting into it. This will prevent the juices from running all over the plate and will allow even distribution for a juicy, succulent, and scrumptious cut. 
  • Pre-arrange all the tools and accessories you’ll need before you start cooking. Do this while you let your grill preheat and don’t forget your beer too!

Source: 1,2

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