Grilling can be a fun, delicious and healthy way to entertain friends or enjoy an outdoor family meal. Here's a review of some barbecue basics on how to barbecue better, put together by our in-house barbecue afficionados!
Gas Barbecue Tips
- After you light the barbecue, turn all the burners to high to preheat for at least 15 minutes, even if you plan to cook on lower heat. Once the cooking grate is hot, scrape it clean with a grill brush and adjust the heat settings as required.
- Whether you’re cooking with direct or indirect heat, keep the lid closed. Keeping the lid down concentrates the heat for searing and keeps the temperature steady for slow cooking.
- If you don’t need your removable warming rack and it is in your way, remove it before preheating to avoid burning yourself.
Charcoal Grilling Secrets
- Use enough charcoal. The size of your grill, the amount of food being cooked, and the desired intensity of the fire are all factors in deciding how much charcoal to use. In the end, you want a fire that covers an area that exceeds the space your food occupies on your grate. The higher you pile the charcoal, (and therefore the closer it is to the cooking grate), the more intense the fire will be.
- Make sure the coals are covered with fine, gray ash before you start to grill. This is a sign that the coals are fully lit and hot.
- Once the coals are ready, set the cooking grate in place and let it heat up for five minutes. Once the grate is hot, scrape it clean with a grill brush.
- Don’t close the cover when grilling. It can give an ‘off’ flavour to foods. If you need to trap heat to cook something through, cover the food with a disposable aluminum pan or pie plate.
- Shield the grill from the wind to keep smoke in the grill and maintain a steady temperature.
Food is much less likely to stick to a clean grate than a dirty one, and will taste much better. Always scrub a well-heated grate, using a special barbecue wire brush. If you don’t have a wire brush, a crumpled wad of foil works just as well. Hold the foil with tongs and scrub the grate clean.
Keep it Clean – and Greased
Keeping your grill greased is the next important step. This will prevent sticking and create those perfect grill marks on your food. For best results, dip a paper towel in olive oil and run it along the grill using tongs.
When is the Meat Done?
Understanding when to take your meat off the barbecue is key! Use the following chart as a guide, keeping in mind that meat should come off the grill when it is 5 to 10 degrees shy of the desired temperature listed below, as it will continue to cook several minutes after it comes off. It’s safest to cook ground meat to at least 160°F, roasts, steaks and chops to 145°F, and poultry to 175°F.
Meat Cooking Guide
Tips for Grilling Meat
- Whenever possible, marinate the meat overnight or at least for a couple of hours in the refrigerator.
- If the barbecue is too hot, remove the meat until the barbecue grill cools a little bit to avoid burning the meat.
- Try not to turn the meat too often, especially beef. You should cook the meat to 40% done on one side, flip it once and cook it the rest of the way. Beef is about 40% done when it has become slightly brown about halfway up the edge of the meat.
- Unless you are in a hurry or you like your meat to be dry, do not press on it. You will squeeze out all those wonderful juices.
If you are not a pro when it comes to cooking meat, always use a thermometer to test for doneness.
Let the meat rest for five or ten minutes after it comes off the grill before slicing or serving it to keep the juices in the meat.