Hot Summer Grilling
Great grilling starts way before the fire is burning. Here are some equipment and technique pointers.
Clean it up
Start with a very clean grate. That’s probably the best tip you can get to ensure that you have a great grilling experience this summer. It’s simplest to clean your grill by heating the BBQ to very hot, then using a wire brush to scrape the grates clear of the charred remains of previous meals. Many experts recommend you then give the grill a quick wipe down with peanut or vegetable oil.
Direct vs. indirect heat
You are often directed to cook over “direct” or “indirect heat”, so it’s important to understand what this means and know how to create the correct heat source for your grilled foods.
Direct heat cooking means you are placing the grilled item directly over the hottest area of your coals or burner. This is usually between 450°F to 650°F and is best for things like burgers, steaks, brats, fish and hot dogs. It is best to flip foods only once when cooking in this quick method.
Using the indirect heat method to cook your foods means that you place them on the area of the grill away from the direct coals or burner. This method allows you to cook larger foods, like a whole chicken, large fish or a roast more slowly so that the outside does not burn before the inside has time to cook through.
Often, it’s successful to combine these methods. Sear a large roast or chicken over direct heat to color the exterior. Then move it to the indirect heat area of your gill to slowly finish cooking.
Note: it is a good idea to place a tinfoil pan under a large piece of meat being cooked with indirect heat to catch drips and avoid flare-ups.
Special barbecue tools can make your grilling season much more successful and enjoyable.
- Long-handled tongs and spatula and an instant-read thermometer are a must (the long-handled fork-style thermometer is best for grilling).
- A grill grid or screen is really useful for grilling small foods that might slip between the bars of your grill, like vegetables and shrimp.
- A special fish basket lets you grill even a delicate fish fillet without the risk of it falling apart on the grill.