Summer is the perfect season for grilling, whether you’re making burgers, BBQ, fish, or other warm-weather dishes. However, there’s a lot more to grilling than just throwing meat over hot charcoal. Check out our ultimate guide to getting the most out of your grill for all the grilling secrets.
Season Your Grill First
When you’re first getting started, ensure you know how to season your new grill in order to make cleaning quicker and protect the grates from rust. Simply clean and oil the grates, turn on the heat, and let the oil cook for about 30-40 minutes with the lid closed. When it’s done, let the grill cool down, then it’s ready to go!
Use a Marinade
Marinades are the key not only to a flavorful grilled dish, but also to one that stays nice and moist. Whenever you cook meat, there’s a risk of it drying out, and grills tend to have very high temperatures. The best marinades combine fat, acid, and salt with other herbs and spices appropriate for what you’re grilling.
Incorporate Wood Planks
One of the best tricks for getting the most out of your grill is to turn it into a smoker using wood planks. Wood planks come from trees with aromatic smoke, like cedar, cherry, hickory, maple, and apple. Thoroughly soak the plank in water, vinegar, or even wine before covering it with food for grilling. Try to cover up as much of the plank as possible to avoid dangerous flare-ups.
Planks and Their Flavors
Each kind of plank gives off different flavors via smoke. Here are a few flavors and their pairings:
- Cedar: Sweet and lightly smokey, goes with everything.
- Alder: Stronger smokiness and vanilla taste.
- Maple/pecan/apple: Medium smokiness, fruit and nut flavors, great for pork and chicken.
- Oak/hickory: Stronger flavors, perfect for beef and lamb.
Keep It Closed
There’s a common rule in cooking: if you’re supposed to keep the lid on something while it cooks, don’t keep opening it to check on the food! This rule applies to grilling because opening the grill releases heat and all that smokey goodness you want to flavor your food. So, keep that lid closed and avoid obsessively checking your steaks.
Use a Meat Thermometer
Once you do open the grill, how do you check for doneness? Usually, you’ll just have to sacrifice one of your brats or steaks and cut it open to see the color. However, you can get around this by using a meat thermometer. Once you know what temperature your perfect steak needs to be, you can avoid cutting it open, which loses delicious juices.
Becoming a Grill Master
Outdoor grills are capable of so much. Use them to impart all kinds of flavor to your dishes at the next summer cookout.