Eleven Grilling Tips to Take You From Meat Murderer to BBQ Badass
If you’re a guy, and we assume you are, you know that one of the most manly pursuits you can attempt, after wrestling bears and finishing that 2,000 piece puppy jigsaw puzzle, is to be a master of cooking over charcoal. Everyone fancies themselves a grilling guru, although chances are you can improve even your absolutely perfect technique by following some of the grilling tips we’ve outlined below.
It’s our goal to make you a Master of Meat, a Bishop of Beef, a Sultan of Steak, a Chancellor of Chicken and a Prince of Pork. (Yes, those can all be used as sexual euphemisms. You’re welcome.)
- Flavor It
We don't mean slopping a little bottled sauce on your food and cooking it to a crisp either. Use spices, rubs and marinades. If you're going to do it, do it right. For example a simple all-purpose BBQ dry rub can be constructed with a few basic ingredients.
Try a mixture of kosher salt, garlic and onion powder, a little black pepper and if you're feeling fiery, a dash of cayenne powder. Boom, instant dry rub for almost any meat.
- Smoke A Little Smoke
Put that “cigarette” down. We're talking about hardwood smoke.
Using a few chunks or chips of hardwoods such as mesquite, hickory or even fruit wood like apple or cherry can add a whole new layer of flavor to your meal. Not sure how to use them? It's simple, soak them in water for about a half hour before you need them, and toss them on the coals.
If you're using gas, wrap them in a foil pouch and set on the burner. They will emit a light smoke that will impart massive flavor to your food.
- Highway To The Heat Zone
When you're using charcoal, you want to put your coals to one side for searing and direct cooking over high heat. This is great for short-time cooks.
If your meat has a little substance to it you can move the food away from the coals and allow it to cook indirectly at a lower temperature. Great for chicken, roasts and thick cuts of meat.
Also, it gives you a space to heat up a pot of beans or sauce on the grill while you're cooking.
- Clean Up Your Act
You're a dirty, dirty boy. But your grill doesn't have to be. Scrub those grates down with a long handled brush while the grill is hot. It makes removing the goop easier and keeps your food tasting like, well, food.
Bonus: The cleaner your grates, the easier it is to create those grill marks that everyone thinks makes your food taste better. People can be, and more often than not are, dumb.
- Lube It Up
That's right baby, smear some oil all over those hot, hard grates. Take it easy, pour some oil on a paper towel and using your tongs, gently massage the oil across the grate to coat it evenly.
This will help prevent sticking, and chafing we imagine.
- Don’t Crossbreed
Sorry, we're not advocating Speciesism or anything, we're not judging your lifestyle choices here.
You do, however, want to keep your utensils and cutting boards separated when working with raw meats, vegetables and the like.
Nothing ruins a great meal faster than explosive diarrhea and nausea.
- Get It HOT
Fire up your grill, especially if you're working with charcoal, at least 20 minutes prior to cooking.
This will allow the grill to come up to temperature throughout the cooking chamber, it will preheat the grates which will help prevent sticking and it will kill any bacteria that may be present.
If you're not sure why bacteria is bad, see previous entry about explosive diarrhea and nausea. Seriously, major party foul here.
- Don’t Penetrate Me Bro
You know how when you buy a grilling tools kit, you get a spatula, a set of tongs and a fork? Throw that fork the hell away. You don't need it, you don't want it, and it serves absolutely no good purpose.
Piercing your meats to flip or rearrange them simply perforates your food and allows the juices to run out, leaving you with a dried up, tough and awful piece of meat.
We know a few ex-girlfriends that must have been pierced with a BBQ fork.
- Leave It Alone
Seriously, would you just quit already? You don't need to constantly poke and prod and flip and rearrange that meat.
Leave it alone. Give your food a chance to cook, to sear and to reach its fullest potential.
You're worse than a codependent schizophrenic.
Just. Stop. It. Already.
- Keep An Eye On The Time
Food will continue cooking once it's removed from the grill, so it's best to remove it just prior to the desired finishing temperature.
This would be a good time to use a digital instant read thermometer and find out exactly how hot your meat is.
Overcooking is often the result of leaving it on the grill until it reaches the final temperature.
This is one time you're allowed to poke your meat.
- Chill Out
Grab a beer, or six, and let your food rest before you dig in.
Allowing your steaks, chops and roasts to rest for 10 – 15 minutes while covered loosely with aluminum foil is a great way to let the juices disperse throughout the meat and to inject yourself with some barley and hops infused juices.
You've earned it, Grillmaster.