Barbecuing is a snap if you use these tips for cooking, clean-up, and safety.
Cleaning and General Barbecue Tips
- Hate cleaning that grill grate? Before you begin cooking, oil the grill to make clean-up easier. When you turn on the grill to preheat for your next barbecue, leave the grates inside. Using a wire brush, scrub the grates clean after the grill heats up. The heat will make cleaning them much quicker and easier. Then, oil them before you add your food and they'll stay clean longer.
- Can't tell how hot your grill is? Here's a really easy way to figure out the heat level of your grill. Place your hand over the grill, about six inches above the grate and count how many seconds you can hold it there. By the time you reach three seconds, you should have had to take your hand away from the grill. If you count longer, your grill isn't heated to full heat and it won't sear your foods effectively. A good rule of thumb is five seconds for low heat, four seconds for medium, three seconds for medium high, and two seconds for high.
- Tongs are a must when you barbecue. Whatever you do when you turn your food, don't use a fork! This will allow all the juices to escape from the food, and you'll end up with a dry, tasteless, overdone final product.
Ok, now you know how hot your grill is and what utensils to use when you grill. Here are some cooking tips to help you out!
- Allow meat to warm up for about an hour after you take it from the refrigerator. Tossing ice cold meat on the grill reduces the grill's temperature and prevents the tasty juices that keep meet moist and tender from getting seared in.
- You can oil the meat before you put it on the grill, too. Lightly brush your food with vegetable oil before you add it to the pre-heated grill. This will keep food from sticking.
- Don't add barbecue sauce until the last few moments of cooking or until after you take the food off the grill. Most barbecue sauces include sugar, and the sugar will burn if you add them to the food too early.
- Don't be afraid to experiment when you grill. You can grill just about anything from pizza to dessert if you know how. For example, to grill a pizza, roll out your pizza dough thin, and place it on the grill. (It's easier if you make small, individual pizzas.) While the dough is grilling on one side, take your toppings to the barbecue area. Turn the pizza dough over, cover with your favorite toppings, and grill until the dough is cooked and the toppings are hot and melting. Try some lightly grilled strawberries or pineapple for dessert. Just pop them on a skewer and grill until just warm. The grill brings out the sweetness in the fruit.
Grill Safety Tips
Finally, be safe when you use your grill. Hundreds of fires begin each year because of careless placement of a grill or because of tossing out coals that are still too hot.
- Don't put your barbecue too close to plants, fences, buildings, or other structures. It could scorch the structure or cause a fire.
- If you place your barbecue on a deck, make sure to put a flame retardant mat underneath it to protect the deck from drips, spill, and overheating.