Now that the weather is finally starting to break – I’m sure you’re thinking about breaking out the grill for the first cookout of the season! If you currently own or use a gas grill, check out these tips in our Ultimate Guide to Gas Grilling for getting your grill ready and keeping it safe to use through the end of summer.
1. Keep Your Grill Clean
By maintaining a clean grill not only will you notice enhanced performance but also reduce the chances of a flare-up and incessant smoke. Both can burn the outside of your food and leave a bad flavor.
The best way to clean your grill is to turn on the grill on high for 10 to 15 minutes to let any excess grease burn off. Then, just scrape off any leftover residue from the grill grates. Although a lot of great will be burned off during the high-temperature “cleaning” you will still want to use a grill brush to help remove any leftover food and push any remaining debris into the grill itself. Remember all this debris and food that is pushed into the grill will remain until a deep cleaning. Remove the grates and burner covers at least twice a year to thoroughly clean it.
2. Control Flare-Ups
Flare-ups from a cooking fire should always be controlled. For that reason, you should always keep a part of your grill empty – in the case you would need to move the food during a flare-up. When a flare-up does happen, move the food away and let it burn off with the grill lid up. However, if the fire does spread, remove all food from the grill and let it burn off the grease as quickly as possible. In the case it becomes out of control, remove all food an turn off burners and gas while leaving the lid open so the fire can die down on its own.
3. Heat and Sugar
Barbecue chicken and ribs are often a cookout favorite. Sugar burns quite easily, so foods that are coated with a rub or sauce are more likely to burn. By keeping your grill temperature below 265 F, you can prevent charring your food.
4. Watch Your Grill
Nothing ruins a cookout faster than burn food. Most often this happens when you walk away for just a moment or become distracted.
When grilling it is important to pay close attention to the grill – especially for burgers, chops, and steaks which are cooked at a higher temperature very quickly. By having your prep done before the food hits the grill, you’re less likely to burn your food.
5. Have Plenty of Fuel
Planning a cookout? Always be sure to have an extra tank of gas on hand in the case you run out!
6. Food Safety
Practice food safety whenever you cook (and prep!) This means never use the same cooking or prepping tools for uncooked meats and veggies. You should also use a clean plate for placing cooked meats. Never reuse dirty plates that have been exposed to raw meats!
7. Cook at the Correct Temperature
Always use your best discretion when cooking on a grill. Although your grill does have a high setting – it doesn’t mean it should be used for everything. For example, thin cuts of lamb, pork, and beef should be cooked quickly and at a hot temperature. However, fish, veggies, and chicken should be cooked at a medium temperature. Roasts, like a whole chicken, should always be cooked at a lower temperature even though it will take more time!
Searing is one of the secrets to keeping great flavor. To sear, start with the grill as hot as it will go. Once you put the meat one, wait 1 minute to flip and reduce the heat. The high temperature will end up caramelizing the meat’s surface leaving a great taste!
9. Indirect Grilling
Indirect grilling lets you get more use out of your grill. You can cook entire chickens, roasts, and even bake bread! Simply just turn off the burners that sit directly under where you have placed the food on and let the surrounding burgers do the work.
10. Maintaining Your Grill
Performing regular upkeep and cleanings on your grill will extend the life of your grill and result in better-tasting food. You should regularly check the ports are not clogged and there are no issues with the starter. If your ports are clogged, use a thin wire or pipe cleaner to remove the obstruction. Now you’re ready for some great months of grilling!