It’s National Grilling Month, and what better way to kick off a fun month of grilling than to put some quick grill tips and tricks to use. Let the grilling begin!
1. Clean your grill and grate with a grill brush after preheating
This tip sounds like a no-brainer, but to achieve optimum grill cleanliness, run your grill brush over the grates after preheating. That way, the heat will have already begun to loosen the grit and grime that’s been stuck on your grill since your last cookout. As Chris Allingham, a blogger on Weber grills, also attests to: “There’s zero chance of forgetfulness. If you burn-off after cooking, you go into the house and enjoy your meal, only to realize 30 minutes later that your grill is still glowing cherry-red-hot out on the patio.” Our Senior Graphic Designer, Dorik Downing, also suggests an alternative to a wire brush, which has potential safety concerns. Dorik’s grill brush of choice is the “Ultimate BBQ Cleaning Tool,” a brush made from red oak that forms to the shape of the grill grates.
“What I like the most about it is that I feel like my grill is still ‘seasoned’ because the formed tool does not harshly scrape the grill like a wire brush would. A few swipes with the tool and it’s grill time!” – Dorik Downing
Additional tip: For a deeper clean, remove your grates and soak them in a bucket of soapy water before cooking.
2. Oil your grill with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil, or use an onion
Avoid investing in cheap sprays that can cause flare-ups on the grill, and instead, simply use a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil on your grill grate. Once the towel is soaked, take a set of tongs and coat the grate entirely to prevent sticking. This tip is cost-effective and easy, making for efficient grilling and zero chance of your meat, vegetables, or seafood sticking to the grill.
You could also clean your grill grate with an onion. Amanda Perry, our Marketing Specialist, recommends this technique: “While the grill’s still hot, take a freshly halved onion, stick it on a fork, and use the cut side to rub residue off the grate. The oils in the onion will take care of most, if not all, of the grit without the elbow grease. They’ll also season the grill and add some flavor to your next meal, too.”
3. Keep a spray bottle nearby in case of flare-ups
Flare-Ups can be a scary and sudden side-effect to using a grill spray on your grill or can simply be caused by grease dripping down into the grill. While some flare-ups are small and contained, one simple trick to dousing larger flare-ups when they do occur is to keep a spray bottle filled with water nearby.
4. Invest in a grill mat
A grill mat will help reduce staining from grease that could splatter or drip out of the grill. Even if you have a drip pan, there is still a risk of grease or oil escaping the grill and staining your patio. Investing in a naturally heat-resistant grill mat could ensure a greater longevity to your patio surface.
5. Try additive-free lump charcoal
For those grill masters that favor charcoal grills, consider trying additive-free lump charcoal, a more environmental-friendly substitute to normal briquettes (which normally contain wood scraps, sawdust, coal dust, sodium nitrate, borax, and additional additives). We also recommend avoiding lighter fluid altogether when lighting your grill, as it releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, which can leave unsanitary residue on the food you’re grilling. Our Senior Graphic Designer, Dorik Downing, recommends 100% Lump Charcoal, which he uses on his Kamado Joe grill.
6. Line kettle basin with aluminum foil
By adding aluminum foil to the interior of your kettle grill, you will easily be able to dispose of the charcoal ash after grilling, as opposed to having to clean out the interior of the grill later.
7. Use a chimney starter to light charcoal
Using a chimney starter to light your charcoal in either a grill or a smoker is an efficient way to get the coals hot and avoid lighter fluid. Here’s a walkthrough on how to use a chimney starter and some basic safety tips. We recommend the Weber 7416 Rapidfire Chimney Starter since it holds more charcoal than other chimney starters and is rust-resistant.
8. Limit the times you open a grill or smoker to check the progress of your food
The more you open a grill or smoker, the more inconsistent the heat levels in your grill will be. For a gas grill, opening the lid too much can cause lower cooking temperatures and slower cooking time. For charcoal grills, opening the lid causes your food to actually cook quicker since the oxygen from the air makes the coals hotter. Bobby Flay, chef and TV host, recommends to “stop playing with the food when it is on the grill. Leave it be. Let your meat or chicken or fish or veggies form a crust and naturally release from the grates. Only flip it once so the burger or fish doesn’t fall apart.” As the old saying goes, “if you’re looking, it ain’t cooking!”
9. Let your food come to room temperature before grilling*, and then let it rest ten minutes after cooking.
Wolfgang Puck, chef and restaurateur, says that “Allowing the meat to come to room temperature is one of the most important parts of grilling that home cooks often forget. This will lessen the steak’s cooking time and help perfect an evenly cooked piece of meat. If the steak is cold when you put it on the grill, it will overcook the outer part of the meat, drying it out while you wait to cook the internal part of the meat to the desired temperature.” Also, letting the meat rest after cooking for about ten minutes will ensure the redistribution of the juices and ultimately a better flavor.
Additional tip*: Don’t leave the meat out at room temperature for more than an hour in case bacteria begin to grow.
10. Add some oil to your favorite dry rubs
Heather Thomas, our Ecommerce Marketing Specialist, recommends coating a dry rub lightly with olive oil to “…seal in the flavors during the marination process and lessen spice loss while flipping. In my experience, it also has the added benefit of changing up the texture of cooked meat to be a bit crispier on the outside and juicier on the inside, especially when combined with fresh garlic.”
11. Use a Dutch oven or a large pot with a lid when transporting your cooked meats inside
Brad Dorcik, one of our online merchandisers, recommends this tip to keep your cooked food “moist, juicy, and warm until it’s time to chow down.”
12. Throw a grill cover on!
What better way to protect what you love most than by covering it? Adding a grill cover to your grill reduces the risk of your grill rusting, as well as protects it from weathering and damage from UV rays. We recommend these products for optimum protection from the elements and an enjoyable grill experience. Also, check out one of our earlier blog posts on how to measure your grill for a cover.
Consider putting these tips and tricks to the test for any fun, outdoor grill experience you’re planning for the Fourth of July, and for the rest of national grilling month. Happy grilling!