MEMORIAL DAY IS AROUND the corner, so that can only mean one thing: grilling season has officially begun! With years of outdoor cooking experience, we know that grilling isn’t simply about turning up the heat and cooking meat. In our bestselling book, Master of the Grill, we give pointers on everything you need to know about grilling—such as clever grill hacks and food science advice to help you grill successfully. Here are some of our best tips to help you perfect your grill technique this summer, whether you’re a novice or die-hard grillmaster.
Master of the Grill
If you are new to grilling, Master of the Grill is perfect for you. If you consider yourself a genuine pit master, Master of the Grill is perfect for you, too. With over 400 recipes, we've divided this book into three sections (The Basics, The Easy Upgrades, and Serious Projects) to help you find recipes that suit your level of grilling.
4 Best Practices for Grilling
Whether you're new to grilling or just need a refresher, review these tips before you start playing with fire.
1. Location is Everything: Which is why we recommend setting up your grill at least 10 feet from your home on a flame-safe surface. This means yes to driveways or patios and a hard no to grass or a wooden deck. (Make sure to put the grill away from where children and pets might wander.)
2. Cleanliness Counts: Whether you’re using a gas grill or charcoal grill, the interior basin of your grill needs to be cleaned a few times each season to wash away built-up food matter. If not, you risk the chance of having food matter ignite or lending off-flavors to whatever you’re cooking. (Don’t forget to empty drip pans and ash-catchers frequently to reduce mess.)
3. Food Safety Matters: In our book, Master of the Grill, we share dozens of tips on how to prevent cross-contamination. Here are three things you should always do: Use separate platters for raw and cooked foods, dispose of extra marinade, and apply sauces to meat after it’s done cooking to keep your basting brush from becoming contaminated by uncooked meat.
4. Avoid Sloppy Food Prep: Fat or excess use of oily marinade dripping off the meat can catch fire and cause flare-ups. Trim meat carefully and pat dry foods marinated with oil with paper towels before grilling.
How to Set Up a Gas Grill in 4 Steps
Here’s how to get a fire going on a gas grill. (Note: We recommend you read all instructions in your owner’s manual thoroughly, and follow the directions regarding the order in which the burners must be lit.)
1. Check Propane Level: If your grill is equipped with a gas gauge or tank scale, check to make sure you have enough fuel. If your grill doesn’t have a gauge, bring 1 cup water to boil in a tea kettle or saucepan, then pour boiling water over the side of the tank. Then, place your hand on the tank. If the water warms the tank, that means the tank is empty. If the tank remains cool to touch after you’ve poured hot water on it, then there is enough fuel inside.
2. Light with Lid Up: Turn the burners to high and ignite. Lighting the grill with the lid down can trap gas and cause a dangerous explosion of fire. This is why you should always light the grill with the cover open.
3. Cover Grill and Get Grate Hot: Once your grill is lit, cover it and let it heat for about 15 minutes. Most grills reach their maximum heat level within 15 minutes but you may need to give your grill a few extra minutes on a cold or windy day.
1. Get Coals Hot: Remove cooking grate from grill and open bottom grill vent halfway or completely, according to the recipe. Fill the bottom section of chimney starter with crumpled newspaper, set starter on charcoal rack, and fill top of starter with charcoal briquettes according to the recipe. Ignite newspaper and allow charcoal to burn until briquettes on top are partly covered with thin layer of gray ash.
2. Get Grate Hot: Empty briquettes onto grill and distribute as indicated in recipe. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and heat grate for about 5 minutes, but no longer, or the fire will start to die.
3. Scrub Grate Clean: Use grill brush to scrape cooking grate clean. You wouldn’t cook in a dirty pan, would you?
Recipes for the Grill
Now that you’re aware of the best practices for grilling and know how to set up your grill, it’s time for you to test your skills. Here are few of our best grilling recipes to get you started.
Grilled Flank Steak with Charred Sweet Onion Relish
Flank steak is wide and thin so it doesn’t always fit easily in a pan—but it works great on the grill. This recipe only requires two steps so you’ll have a meal ready in 30 minutes or less.
Smoky Beef Skewers with Corn and Black Bean Salad
This is the perfect weeknight meal to cook on the grill. Many of the ingredients in this dish, such as canned black beans and chipotle chile powder, are items likely have onhand. With a short grocery list and two easy steps, you’ll have dinner ready in no time.
What else would you like to learn about grilling? Let us know in the comments! And for more articles like this one, make sure to check out the features page of this website.