When we think of Summer, we envision warm weather, cold drinks and most importantly, grilled food. With cookout season finally arriving—in all it's juicy and flavorful glory—we can't wait to throw some tasty food on the grill!
Grilling can seem like a pretty daunting task to someone who's never done it before. Gas vs. charcoal; what's the right temperature; when is the meat done — so many questions; so little time; so many mouths to feed. But the more you do it, the better you'll become as long as you know the key principles. With that being said, we have a few grilling basics to get you started!
Your Uncle won't be the only one mastering the grill this summer, and that's REAL.
6 Grilling Tips For Beginners
1 - How to Choose a Grill
Gas vs. Charcoal
You may be debating between a gas grill vs. charcoal. Both has it's pros and cons. Of course gas grills are more environment-friendly, which may be more appealing to you. However, from a taste perspective, nothing beats the smoky flavor of grilling over charcoal. Since we love having both options, we recommend a 50/50 gas and charcoal grill like Char-griller.
2 - Lump Charcoal vs Charcoal Briquettes
If you decide to use charcoal for the grill, we suggest using a lump wood brand vs. briquettes. Briquettes are a little less favorable because they contain additives that can negatively impact the flavor of your food. Not only does lump wood have less additives, it also burns cleaner and hotter, giving your food a more rich and robust natural flavor. However, the only downside to using lump wood is that since it burns so hot and quick, it has a smaller grilling window than if you used briquettes.
3 - Starting the Grill
How to Use a Chimney Starter
The days of using lighter fluid are over! Not only is it harmful for the environment, it can also leave an unpleasant, butane-kissed flavor in your food. Yuck. For a cleaner ignite, stuff a chimney starter with newspaper, layer the coal on top, then light the newspaper.
Another alternative is the use of Insta Fire, which is a safe, easy and non-toxic way to light your coals without using lighter fluid.
4 - Preheating Your Grill
We know you're excited about serving up some delicious food, but make sure you preheat your grill at least 20 to 25 minutes before placing any food on it. This ensures it reaches the right temperature (should range from 400 to 450 for high heat, 350 to 400 for medium heat, and 250-300 for low heat), while burning off any lingering bacteria.
5 - Marinate Your Meat
This is one of the most important steps in grilling, as you want to make sure your meat is juicy and infused with succulent flavor! With that being said, make sure you use your favorite spices and marinades to season your meat before grilling. The rule of thumb is to marinate at least 2 to 4 hours prior to grilling. You may also use some of the reserved marinade to coat during and post-grilling for optimal flavor!
6 - Balancing Direct Heat vs Indirect Heat
This can be quite the tricky concept, but once you understand how it works, your grilling technique will improve tremendously! Place your coals on one side of the grill to create a nice gradient of cool to hot. The hot side (direct heat) is perfect for grilling steaks — think of it as like a frying effect. The cooler side (indirect heat) will act more as an oven, and is best for cooking chicken, fish and vegetables. Once you master this balance, you're golden!
We hope you enjoy these grilling tips. And if it doesn't work out, don't fret — you can always swing by our food truck for some tasty sliders!