Monday, August 26, 2013

7 Easy Steps to Becoming Master of The Grill

Anything guys can do, we can do better! Right? Maybe? Ok look, there are only a few more weeks left to summer. I know, where did it go!? It's like just yesterday it was June 1st.  But if you're like me, then you're probably trying to squeeze in the last bits of summer style fun to make up for either all the fun you feel you didn't have time to experience and/or to make up for all the non-fun you're going to experience come September.  Either way, I'm sure at some point grilling food will be involved as which to everyone's delight, I give you: These 7 easy and awesome tips on how to grill with perfection... yes, using an actual grill and not a grill pan.

First thing's first... Leave fear at the door!  Don't be afraid that you'll ruin everyone's burgers, you gotta be in this to win this and you will... win this!


There are two kinds of grills: charcoal and gas. If you're looking to buy a grill, here's how to decide which kind you want:

Charcoal. If you like the hands-on experience of building a fire and you can wait 30 minutes for the coals to be ready, charcoal is for you.
  • Requires building, starting, and maintaining the fire
  • Requires disposing of ashes and cleaning of the grill
  • Portable, easy to move
  • Costs less initially but charcoal has to be purchased for each cookout
Gas. If you like being able to push a button and be ready to grill in 15 minutes, gas is for you.
  • Preheats and is ready to cook in 15 minutes
  • Low-maintenance fire
  • Easy to light and easy to control cooking temperature
  • Easy to operate and clean
  • Costs more initially but inexpensive to maintain


Charcoal. For charcoal grill owners, this is essential. You can find it packaged at your local supermarket, home goods store, or drugstore.
Skewers. Skewering makes cooking shrimp, vegetables, chunks of meat, and other small items very simple. We recommend using inexpensive bamboo skewers; just soak them in water for 30 minutes to prevent them from burning.
Tongs. Use two pairs of tongs. Mark one pair with red tape (red = stop) and use it for handling raw food. Mark the other with green tape (green = go) and use it for cooked food. This will help to prevent cross-contamination.
Food. Get whatever grub you want to grill!


Personally, this is something I used to always struggle with. The first step is to light the fire. This is the most basic step in outdoor cooking, yet many people are still confused by it. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  • Remove the lid and open all air vents.
  • Mound 50-60 charcoal briquettes into a pyramid-shaped pile.
  • Place either nontoxic fire starters or crumbled newspaper under the pile of briquettes and light.
  • When the briquettes are covered with a white-gray ash (usually 20 to 30 minutes), arrange them in a single layer.
  • Open the lid. Check that all burner control knobs are turned off and that your LP tank is not empty.
  • Turn the LP Gas tank on.
  • Light the grill according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using either the igniter or a match, if necessary. Generally, when lighting a gas grill, only one burner should be turned on for ignition. Once the fire has started, other burners can be turned on.
  • Close the lid and preheat all burners on high until the thermometer reaches the maximum heat—more than 500° to 550°F. This will take 10 to 20 minutes. Before cooking, adjust burner controls and lower the heat as recipe directs.


Meet the Grilling Trilogy: olive oil, salt, and pepper. This is a simple flavoring for just about anything you can grill. Use the best-quality raw ingredients with this trio of ingredients, and everything that you grill will be delicious. Remember, in most cases—in life and in cooking—less is more, and the Grilling Trilogy is the epitome of that.


Besides lighting the grill, figuring out when the food is “done,” much less perfectly prepared, makes many cooks quiver in their flip-flops. Not to worry; arm yourself with these two tools (both are inexpensive!):

A timer. Set the timer for the number of minutes that you think the food will need before turning, etc. Base this estimate on the recipe or your past experience.

An instant-read thermometer. Use your instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature to see if your timing is correct. Remember, grilling is much more of an art than a science, and cooking times will vary slightly based on many factors, including wind, thickness of food, starting temperature of food (refrigerator cold vs. room temperature), grill preheating time, and temperature of the fire. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize that the mystery is part of the game of grilling and what makes it so much fun!


  • Keep the air vents open, or else the fire will go out.
  • Make sure charcoal briquettes are gray-ashed before cooking.
  • Control flare-ups with a closed lid, not a spray bottle filled with water.
  • Use an instant-read thermometer, the only fail-safe way to test for doneness. The thermometer reads the internal temperature of meat and poultry in a matter of seconds.
  • Peek under the lid; every time you lift the lid, heat escapes and the cooking time increases.
  • Add volatile fuel to the fire; this means no lighter fluid. Use either crumbled newspaper or fire starter cubes.
  • Flip food more than once unless a recipe specifically requires it.
  • Pierce meat with a fork; this lets all the precious juices and flavor escape.


The quickest way to extinguish flare-ups is to put the lid on the grill. The lid will reduce the amount of oxygen that feeds the fire—thus limiting or snuffing out any flare-ups. Don’t be tempted to use a water bottle to extinguish flare-up flames. When the water hits the hot cooking grates and the flames, it can splatter, causing burns to you and/or cracks in the porcelain enamel finish on your grill.

So.... Ready to grill?

[photo: glamour (Source)]


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