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Best Barbecue Tips and Tricks

Charcoal Grill vs Gas Grill

When you use a charcoal grill, you will have to do everything manually: preheating, making sure the temperature is hot enough, and cleaning up. Because it’s charcoal, you can’t turn the temperature down, and you have no idea what the exact temperature is. The upside? Charcoal burns hotter, and you get real, authentic smoky flavor in your barbecue every single time!

Gas grills are more expensive than charcoal grills but more convenient to use. You can control the temperature with a turn of the knob, and clean-up is a lot easier. But since it runs on gas, it can be dangerous to use. And when a part breaks, depending on the make and model of your gas grill, it can be a bit inconvenient and costly to purchase spare parts.

It really boils down to how flavor matters to you (charcoal grilling produces more flavorful food), how concerned you are about the environment (charcoal and gas grills emit smoke and gases in the atmosphere), and how much you love or detest clean-up time (ash, charred meat etc.).

How to Prep your Barbecue Grill

Clean your barbecue grill of residues from your last grilling session. If you’re using a charcoal grill, buy good quality coal, like lump coal. It does heat up quickly, has no chemical or gas odors that affect the taste of your food, and leaves very little ash afterwards. Make sure the grill is hot and properly heated. You’ll know that it is when you drop the food and it makes a searing sound.

Food That You Can Barbecue

Aside from the usual fare of pork, beef, chicken, and fish, did you know that there are a lot of food that you can cook using the barbecue grill? Prepare your taste buds for a burst of flavors when you grill watermelons and top them with Greek yogurt. You can grill your own pizza, topped with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella. You can do a special grilled cheese sandwich on whichever bread you prefer. Potatoes, tofu, asparagus, eggplant, corn ---the list is endless. Let your imagination run wild!

Tips and Tricks

  • Oil your grill rack properly to avoid food sticking to the grill.
  • You’ll know your charcoal is ready for grilling when it’s white or ashy gray.
  • Always use a pair of tongs when grilling. Let one side of the food grill properly. Don’t flip it too much and don’t press on it too much. If you try to flip it over and there’s resistance, it’s not yet cooked, so let it sit longer.
  • Baste your meat with your sauce a few minutes before taking them out of the grill. Never leave them cooking for more than ten minutes as the sauce will char.
  • Clean up the grill while still hot. It’s easier to scrape off cooking debris when the grill is hot.   
  • Marinate, marinate, marinate. Marinate to get the most delicious flavors, as well as to kill off carcinogenic properties that form when you grill meats.
  • If you want to use special herbs in your barbecue, throw them directly into the charcoal when you’re grilling.
  • Remember the rule of grilling: better to be undercooked than overcooked. No way to remedy a steak that’s overcooked. But an undercooked one can easily go back to the grill to cook some more.
  • Make sure that meat is cooked. How do you know if your meat is cooked? Use a thermometer. Even professional chefs use one to check the internal temperature. Remember that for meats like beef and pork, as well as for fish, they are done at 145°F; for ground beef and poultry, they are usually done when temperature is at 160°F to 165°F.

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