It’s grilling season! The weather is warm, the days are long, and it’s the perfect opportunity to gather friends and family for a backyard party and a delicious barbecue.
If you haven’t checked off all the items on your list just yet, take a look at this collection of tips and recipes that will make your get-together a grand slam:
Which side are you on? Convenient Gas or Smokey Charcoal? The debate over the superior grilling style has waged on for decades. If you’re thinking of buying a new grill, there’s a lot to consider.
Are you drawn to the iconic image of cooking over an open flame? If so, charcoal is probably for you. On the other hand, if you plan on grilling frequently, a gas grill could be a better option.
Charcoal grilling tends to be messier and more involved because of the left-over ashes and grease. There’s also the challenge of lighting and controlling the heat of the coals. Some say that charcoal lends a deep, smoky flavor and a searing effect that gas grills can’t match. But not everyone agrees.
Others argue that the characteristic flavor of grilled food comes from the drippings, not the fuel. When drippings hit the heat source below, the oils, sugars, and proteins burst into smoke and flame. It’s those complex molecules in the smoke that imbue the meat with rich flavor.
While flavor is a personal preference, there are some straightforward differences between Gas Grills and Charcoal grills that could change your opinion of which is better. Let’s look at the pros and cons:
Charcoal Starters, also known as Chimney Starters, are a great way to get your coals going. They are basically metal cylinders with holes and a basin to hold your starter. You can use either newspaper or a lighter cube to start your coals. Use two at a time to get ahead on your grilling festivities!
Check out the video below for a quick guide on using charcoal or chimney starters.
If it’s been a while since you grilled last, and your grill has been sitting idle, make sure all the small pieces are working properly. Check hoses for cracks and leaks and replace them if necessary. Make sure your burners, tubes, and knobs are in working order. If they are clogged, you may be able to unblock them with a toothpick for pipecleaner.
An important step in making the perfect piece of meat is making sure your grill is clean and well maintained. To prepare a gas grill, you’ll need a stiff brush, canola oil, a bowl, and a kitchen towel.
Turn up the heat so that the grates are easier to clean, but not so hot that you can’t safely work. This should make it easier to scrape the residue off with your brush. If you don’t have a brush, you can use a ball of aluminum foil.
When you are ready to cook, dip the towel in canola oil using your tongs and swab the grates until they shine all over. This will help keep your food from sticking.
If you are preparing a charcoal grill follow the same steps, but first clean out the ash catcher so it doesn’t end up on your grates and your food.
You’re almost ready to get cooking! Pre-heat your grill so it cooks even better. To preheat a gas grill, light the grill with the lid open, then turn the heat all the way up and close the lid. When you are ready to grill, you can adjust the temperature where you need it.
To preheat a charcoal grill, light the charcoal and let it burn until the coals start to turn white and ashy. Next, replace the lid and preheat for about 15 minutes. Go ahead and open the dampers so air can flow.
Marinating your meat can yield delicious results, but you’ll need 2 to 5 hours for the meat to absorb the marinade. If you have the time to take the scenic route to flavor town, try this marinade recipe on steaks or brush on hamburgers:
Mix these ingredients together and pour over your meat. Refrigerate for 2 or more hours and then grill meat as desired.
Acidic liquids soften and increase the water-holding capacity of muscle fibers, resulting in improved texture and juicier meat. Try orange juice, wine, vinegar, or lime juice instead of lemon juice to unlock new flavors.
Don’t marinate in metal containers. Most marinades contain acid that can react chemically with metal and affect the flavor.
Barbecue purists might argue that marinade overpowers the natural taste of the meat. Here are some seasoning tips to keep in mind when using dry spices:
Be careful when adding salt. Salt can dry out your meat by drawing out the moisture. Since it is easy to use too much salt, we recommend salting cautiously right before grilling and adding salt to taste afterward.
Let steaks sit at room temperature for half an hour and then press salt and pepper into both sides of the meat. Before placing the steaks on the grill, brush them down with vegetable oil.
We use 80/20 ground chuck so the burger is plenty juicy. Leaner ground beef/sirloin can dry out easily when grilled.
Tired of dry burgers? Try folding an ice cube into the middle of the patty for a juicy, melt-in-your-mouth burger.
Dimple Your Burgers. Meat tends to puff up when cooked at temperatures over 140 degrees. Simply make an indentation in the center of your burger to prevent flying-saucer shaped patties.
Give it a Rest. Let your meat patties “rest” and cool so they retain their juiciness. When you let meat rest water pressure drops, fibers relax, and the juices stay inside even after biting or cutting in.
In a medium bowl, mix ingredients. Refrigerate until serving
Use grilled or rotisserie chicken. This makes a HUGE difference! For something a little spicier, add hot sauce before mixing.
Happy Grilling! We hope you learned something from our blog. If you enjoyed it, please share it with your friends. If you’d like to see more content like this, follow SwimmingPool.com on Facebook and Instagram!