Is there anything tastier than the smoky, charcoal infusion of a summer barbecue? Whether looking for a no-fuss dinner or vacationing with family and friends, summertime is ideal for throwing steaks down over a hot grill.
Yet, barbecuing the perfect meal isn’t necessarily the most straightforward task — especially if you’re a beginner. Thankfully, there are a few grilling hacks you can try for a seamless grilling experience.
Quick Reminders for Grill Safety
A recent National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) report said that fire departments responded to about 10,600 grill fires between 2014 and 2018 — killing approximately 10 people and causing 160 injuries.
Before you fire up the grill, it’s important to adhere to the following grill safety tips to protect yourself, your family and your home:
- Keep your grill away from your house and ensure there’s no covering — for example, a carport or porch.
- After the grill cools, clean the grates to remove grease and prevent future fires.
- Prevent bodily burns by wearing long sleeves and grilling gloves.
- Never turn on a gas grill with the lid closed.
- Set different zones for meats to prevent cross-contamination.
- Keep a fire extinguisher or baking soda nearby for putting out grill fires.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
Additionally, the internal temperature of your meats must be high enough to kill germs and ensure your food is safe to eat. For instance, hamburgers are ready when they reach 160° Fahrenheit, while fish and poultry should have an internal temperature of 145° F and 165° F, respectively. Whole-cut meats should also be 145° F. It may be best to invest in a food thermometer to check for doneness.
5 Grilling Tips You Never Thought to Try
Barbecuing can be tricky and takes time to master. However, these five clever tips will turn you into a pro in no time.
1. Check Propane Levels
Imagine firing up the grill and finding out there isn’t any propane left in the tank. Perhaps even worse is running out halfway through cooking and needing to head to the store for a refill.
Unfortunately, propane tanks usually don’t have a gauge to tell you when the propane is running low — but one trick can help you figure out if there’s just enough left.
Pour a cup or bucket of hot water on the side of your propane tank and slide your hand down. Because propane absorbs the heat from the water, the metal will feel cool when you touch it — that’s the approximate level to which your tank is filled.
2. Keep Burger Patties Moist
Burgers can dry out quickly if you’re not watching them carefully. However, some simple ingredients can ensure your burger patties stay juicy on the grill.
A bit of olive oil and Worcestershire sauce is all it takes to lock in moisture and seasonings for the best flavor. You might also add a dollop of sour cream to your meat mixture before forming the patties.
Shredded zucchini is another way to keep your burger patties wetter from start to finish. Just be sure to squeeze as much liquid from your zucchini as possible before mixing it in with your ground meat — otherwise, your burgers will be soggy and won’t hold their shape.
3. Contain Your Veggies
Grilling vegetables can be tricky since their small size makes it easy for them to fall between the grates.
Always wrap your vegetables in foil or use a grill basket with holes to still get that delicious charcoaled flavor. Another option is to use a cast-iron pan, which can withstand around 500° F, depending on the manufacturer.
If the vegetables begin to stick or burn, just toss them in a drizzle of olive oil and cut them into smaller pieces for faster cooking.
4. Grill Salmon in Foil Packets
Salmon might seem intimidating if you’re new to barbecuing, but it doesn’t have to be. The easiest way to grill salmon perfectly every time is by wrapping it in foil first.
Foil packets guarantee that the salmon steaks stay moist for optimal tenderness and don’t flake while sitting on the grates. It also allows the fish to cook with its seasonings.
Spray the foil with olive oil, then place rosemary or dill and lemon slices down first. Add the salmon steak on top and season with a bit of pepper or other seasonings.
When serving salmon with beer, opt for Saison, which has just the right spicy fruitiness to complement the fish’s rich and fatty taste.
5. Use Your Grill as a Pizza Oven
Burgers and hot dogs aren’t the only foods you can barbecue this summer. For those who don’t want to spend the money on a pizza oven, you can use your grill to make a pizza the entire family will love.
Preheat your grill to 425° F and roll the dough out on parchment paper. Holding the ends of the parchment paper, flip the dough onto the grates — this will likely take a bit of practice — and peel the parchment paper away.
Close the lid for two or three minutes, then add your favorite toppings. It’s best to have your toppings measured out and ready to assemble beforehand. Cover your pizza for another three to four minutes until the cheese melts before removing it from the barbecue.
Cover your pizza for another three to four minutes until the cheese melts before removing it from the barbecue. Alternatively, you can find a great example of a high quality pizza oven here
Practice Makes Perfect When Barbecuing
There are endless grilling tips and tricks you can try for people to consider you the ultimate grill master. Just be sure to adhere to the proper outdoor cooking and food safety techniques. Before you know it, barbecuing will be a cinch.