Pro Tips For BBQ
Almost everyone loves perfectly-grilled meats, poultry, fish, delis, and what have you. The flavor of smoke imparted onto the food gives it a different dimension that you won’t get from other types of dish. Becoming a master of the grill is not that difficult. You only need to understand the basics and try to employ as many of these top BBQ pro tips to get you started. Soon enough, you’ll be the master of the barbecue and other grilled feasts.
Start With The Right Tools
Getting the right tools and BBQ accessories for your grilling escapades is crucial to creating fantastic grilled dishes. Whether it’s poultry, beef, pork, fish, or vegetables, a good set of grill tools is fundamental.
Start with your grill. Traditional grilling only requires a platform upon which to set the food above dry heat. Today, however, you will have an amazing selection of grilling devices from a smoker to an electric grill. Everything depends on your budget and how much work you want to put into your grilling adventures.
Most BBQ pros use briquettes because the heat they produce lasts longer and is more consistent than charcoal. However, no briquette can ever match the temperature of live charcoal. For beginners, using briquettes makes for a hassle-free grilling.
Don’t forget your long-handled versions of tongs, spatulas, basting brush, and carving-type poker. As soon as you get comfortable with your grilling adventures, you can start getting skewers and a grilling basket. Who knows? You might also want to get a pellet grill for your next BBQ session.
Make Your Own Barbecue Marinade And Sauce
There are many barbecue marinades and sauces on the market. These are ready to apply onto your chosen meat cuts. However, many of them are very sweet that your grilled food will turn into a charred slab of meat. A much better solution is to make your own homemade barbecue sauce or marinade.
You can go for a basic tomato BBQ sauce made with tomato sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar, olive oil, and a bit of vinegar. You can also go for a basic mustard BBQ sauce or a vinegar-based BBQ sauce. The thing about BBQ sauces is that you need to have at least a single type of acid in it. This will help tenderize your meats.
From these basic barbecue sauces, you can make the necessary adjustments. Most folks will add spices if they want more heat. Some may add honey or a bit of brown sugar for better caramelization. The point is to start with something basic and work your way from there.
Always Prepare Your Grill
Whether you have a smoker or any other type of BBQ grill, it is best to prepare it beforehand. You will have to get down and dirty when it comes to preparing the grill. It is ideal that you do this a few hours before you start firing up the charcoal or the briquettes.
Scrub the individual grates of the grill. Make sure that there are no remnants of burned-on food on the grates. If there are black crusts that are very stubborn, try removing them with a grill brush. Rubbing these with a piece of sliced onion should also do the trick.
Learn The Grill Zones
There are at least two grill zones in your pellet grill or any other type of grill. Towards the center of the grill is direct heat. This is where the temperature is at its highest. Hence, the food that you put here should be those that are sturdy proteins. You can place your beef, lamb, pork, and patties in this section. If you have thick slices of veggies, you can grill them in this spot, too.
The periphery of the grill is where you will have the indirect heat zone. It is the ideal location for your warming rack and a good place to grill more delicate proteins. You can grill fish, chicken, and less sturdy veggies in this zone.
Learning how to use the grill zones is important. For instance, an inch-thick steak is best grilled for about 8 minutes over the direct heat zone. It is then finished on the indirect heat zone for another 4 minutes.
Learn How To Check For The Level Of Doneness
Grill pros are never afraid to touch their grilled food to check the level of doneness. This is especially true in the case of steaks. For beginners, they may use a meat thermometer to stick into the slab of meat.
There is a more practical way to check the level of doneness of the meat and this is the palm test. The test requires you to touch your thumb with the other four fingers, one at a time. While touching the thumb to any one of the other fingers, you will also feel for the “hardness” of the muscle at the base of the thumb. The farther the finger is (the pinky), the higher is the level of doneness. This means you will have a well-done piece of grilled meat.
Learn To Grill Different Foods
If you’re grilling chicken, it’s best to brush the barbecue grill with oil first. Remember what we said about chicken where you’re going to put it on the grill? Make sure to grill it off center and uncovered. One last thing, reserve the brushing of the sauce until about a few minutes before you take it off the grill.
Grilling the perfect burger is all about using patties that have “warmed” to room temperature. Put an indentation in the middle of the patty and avoid pressing it into the grill. Of course, if you want a super-dry burger, you’re more than welcome to press it.
For steaks, don’t forget to season it with generous amounts of salt and pepper. When grilling hotdogs, it’s best to score it in a spiral manner. This will help grill it without losing its form.
One last thing: Let your grilled foods rest for about 3 to 5 minutes to preserve their succulent juices.
Mastering the art of grilling does take time. But if you adhere to these simple tips, you’ll be grilling like the pros sooner than you expect.