If I had to pick one single piece of equipment to cook on for the rest of my life it would, without a doubt, be a grill. Grilling imparts the best flavor and texture into pretty much all proteins and veggies and the cleanup is easy. It’s also the easiest way to cook with less added fat while not sacrificing any flavor or texture. I personally grill year round and can hardly wait for my new kitchen to be finished because it will have a Wolf Charbroiler cooktop which is a total game changer, especially for winters here in New England.
Since Memorial Day is the official start of outdoor grilling season (at least in my book), I thought it would be the perfect time to share some of my favorite grilling tips and reference guides. With these tips and temperature charts you will be king or queen of the grill in no time.
BBQ Grilling Tips
Whether you prefer charcoal, gas, or electric grills there are some basic tips that will help ensure success every time.
- Let your meat sit out – Letting meat sit out at room temperature before cooking is a total game changer. And no, it won’t kill you. Letting your steak, pork, chicken and fish (yes chicken & fish) start to come to room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking will give you juicier more evenly cooked results. Just use common sense; don’t leave your raw meat sitting on the counter or in the hot sun for hours.
- Properly season – Grills do some of the work for you as far as adding flavor, but you can always do better. You can marinate meats and poultry by soaking in liquid dressings, marinades or sauces for a few hours before cooking. For sweeter glazes and sauces (like BBQ sauce) it’s best to wait and brush them on during the last few minutes of grilling so that they don’t burn. If I am cooking vegetables or using a sweet finishing sauce, I will usually use a dry rub or dry seasonings first. My basic go to is always kosher salt and granulated garlic because it goes with everything and isn’t overpowering, especially if adding additional sauce or seasoning later in the cooking process. For more spice combinations and a handy vegetable grilling guide check out this post on my website.
- Pre-Heat –Turn your grill on at least 10 minutes before you intend to cook so that it has time to reach the proper temperature and give you a good sear.
- Clean your grill – clean your grill grates with a grill brush, while the grill is hot before you start cooking and after you finish grilling. This will keep debris from sticking to your food and ruining all of your hard work.
- Oil your grill – Before you turn on the grill, soak a paper towel with cooking oil and rub it all over the grate. If your grill is already hot, fold the oiled paper towel up and use a pair of metal tongs to hold it while you oil the grates. This will go a long way in keeping your food from sticking.
- Use a timer – if you have tools why not use them? We all have timers on our phones and using a timer insures better results. No matter how good you are with estimating time it’s easy to get distracted or forget, especially at parties and gatherings with lots of people around.
- Be patient – Once your timer is set, leave your meat alone. DON’T TOUCH IT. Close the lid to maintain your heat and resist the urge to poke it, lift the edge, move it around etc. The food needs time to sear and form the crust, giving you that great grilled flavor and locking in the juices.
- Use a Meat thermometer – if you are using a timer you don’t necessarily need a thermometer for beef or lamb but it’s a good idea to have one on hand for checking the final temperature of pork & chicken. Nobody likes undercooked chicken!
- Protect your veggies – we’ve all had it happen…. you’re cooking vegetables on the grill and every time you go to turn them you lose a few through the grates. An easy solution is to use a metal cooling rack placed over your grill grates. Oil it just as you would the grates and grill away.
- Let your meat rest – after you remove your meat from the grill, let it rest for 5-10 minutes so that the juices can settle/reabsorb. If you slice into it right away the juices will come running out, you will lose flavor and your meat will dry out quicker.
BBQ Grilling Guides
Take a look at these grilling guides to help cook the perfect meal.