Updated May 2, 2017
Grilling is the ultimate summer cooking experience, but no matter how many times you’ve hit the grill in recent memory, we bet a little refresher is in order before the season really gets underway. Here are our top five rules for the grill.
A Clean Grill is a Happy Grill
Treat your grill just like any other cooking surface — give it a good cleaning before and after you cook. Scrubbing and oiling the grill grates not only protects the grates but creates a nonstick surface for cooking. Remember, a hot grill makes for easier cleaning (as any of the stuck-on food bits become brittle and easier to scrape off) but if your grill really needs a deep clean, preheat the grill then turn it off while you scrub and oil.
Keep Ingredients for the Grill Lean and Clean
Don’t grill anything too fatty or with too much marinade as this can cause flare-ups. Most recipes will direct you to trim excess fat or shake off any excess marinade — this step is included for your safety. One of our favorite new recipes for the grill — Simple Grilled Beef Short Ribs — includes a few extra steps along these lines. Bone-in short ribs are too fatty, but by removing the bones and doing a little extra trimming they become the perfect cut!
Use Skewers to Your Advantage
Skewers can not only add a party vibe to any dinner, but really work for you on the grill. Metal skewers get hot which helps meat to cook more evenly — just remember to use tongs or an oven mitt when flipping them on the grill. Double-skewer larger items such as shrimp, chicken strips or sticks of summer squash. In this case, skewers can help keep ingredients from twirling and also maintain the shape of the ingredient.
Indirect Heat is Your Friend
For larger cuts, such as whole chickens, roasts or a rack of ribs, do most of your cooking away from any actual flames and keep the grill lid closed. This allows for slower cooking and more even temperatures. Unless you have a serious cookout in the making, most grills are big enough to prepare one side for lower heat cooking. Shove hot coals to one half of the grill or turn off one or more burners on a side to create the ideal cooking environment.
Remember — You Control the Grill!
Don’t fear the grill and don’t let the grill make the decisions — you’re in charge! If it gets too hot, turn it off or pull everything off the grill. If it’s not hot enough, close the lid as this will help to build heat quickly. The grill works for you!
What are your go-to rules for the grill? Check out our Guide to Grilling for even more essential tips.