With summertime in full swing and the Fourth of July just around the corner, it’s prime grilling season! Whether you’re a grill master or just getting started, these tips will help you have a safe and delicious barbecue experience this summer.
All grill masters worth their seasoned salt know that great barbecuing is all about temperature control.
- Preheat your grill. After igniting your gas grill or your charcoal briquettes, lower the lid and allow it to preheat for about 15 minutes. This will help get the grate piping hot and ready to put those mouth-watering grill marks on your food.
- Keep the lid closed. “If you’re looking, you aren’t cooking” is an important axiom to remember. Opening the lid too often lets heat escape, lowering the temperature and preventing you from getting a nice sear on your food.
- Use the two-zone method. For better temperature control and more cooking options, set up your grill with a zone for direct heat and one for indirect heat. On a charcoal grill, push the coals to one side for the direct heat zone, leaving the other side to heat indirectly. On a gas grill, simply turn on burners on one side.
- Know the best temperature for your food. This chart provides cooking temperatures and times for both meat and vegetables.
You don’t have to have a lot of fancy tools to have a great barbecue, but there are a few essentials that make things easier.
- Skewers. Because who doesn’t love a kabob? We recommend metal skewers because they pierce the food more easily, but be sure to use tongs when turning them. For wooden skewers, soak them in water for 10 minutes before using so they don’t burn on the grill.
- Long-handled spatula. This allows you to flip your food without standing right next to the very hot grill.
- Grill brush. Keeping your grill grate clean is important to prevent burned bits from sticking to your food.
- Digital thermometer. To make sure you’re cooking your food to a safe temperature, a digital thermometer is key. Thermometers that come standard with many grills are notoriously inaccurate.