Even though it’s one of the most popular cooking techniques around the world, barbecuing is not as simple as firing up the grill and throwing some meat on it.
Think of it as both art and science. It requires technical know-how, patience, precision and preparation along with a dash of good ‘ol elbow grease.
Whether you’re a newbie or an avid griller looking to step up your alfresco cooking game, keep these simple tips by grilling pros at ChefTemp in mind for a safe and smooth BBQ experience every time:
Mistake #1 Not knowing your grill.
Evaluating what type of grill you are going to use is the first and foremost thing to consider before you start cooking as it impacts how your food cooks and tastes. The most common types of grills are gas, propane, charcoal and electric. Here’s how to easily identify yours:
- A grill with a cord is an electric grill.
- If your grill contains buttons and knobs, it’s a gas grill.
- If your grill has a tank beneath its unit, it’s a propane grill.
- If your grill doesn’t have buttons and knobs, it’s likely to be a charcoal grill.
Mistake #2 Not oiling your grill.
Grills need oil to keep meat from sticking to them, because even on a clean grill, food may stick when placed directly on it. The safest way to do this is to rub an oil-soaked paper towel on the cooking grates before you turn the grill on.
Mistake #3 Not preheating your grill.
ChefTemp experts strongly recommend preheating your grill for at least 20 to 25 minutes before you start cooking anything. It helps kill bacteria and will ensure your food is cooked at the right temperature. Your grill should be:
- 250-300°F for low heat
- 300-350°F for medium heat
- 350-400°F for medium-high heat
- 400-450°F for high heat
Mistake #4 Not using a meat thermometer.
Both the internal temperature and external temperature of food are significant, especially when cooking meat, which is why you’ll want to invest in a meat thermometer that quickly measures both—to reduce the chances of overcooking and undercooking.
Mistake #5 Not letting your meat rest.
When you cut into a hot piece of meat that’s just off the grill, much of the liquid will come out. ChefTemp recommends placing your meat on a platter and covering it with foil for 10 minutes before slicing it. This will allow it to rest and the juices will redistribute, creating a more tender, juicier cut.
Mistake #6 Using plastic cooking tools.
Plastic cooking tools can melt with the high heat and flames that occur during grilling, leaving food unhealthy to eat. In addition, they can also impact the flavor of your food, which is why using metal tools is your best bet.
Mistake #7 Putting water on the grill.
If you feel that your grill is getting a little too hot, don’t panic by putting water on it. The best practice here is to cover your grill with the lid. This will help cut off the oxygen and the flames will start to go down.
Mistake #8 Being hasty while cooking meat.
It’s important not to rush when cooking your food as different meats like chicken, lamb, beef, pork and fish have different cooking times and suggested temperatures. Having a meat thermometer handy helps in this instance to make sure each type of food you’re making is cooked at the right temperature for the right amount of time.
Mistake #9 Pouring on the BBQ sauce.
Sauces like BBQ sauce that are rich in sugar will quickly crystallize your meat if they’re added while the food is still on the grill. Experts at ChefTemp recommend waiting until your meat is off the grill to add your favorite condiments.
Mistake #10 Overloading your grill.
Avoid overcrowding your grill with too much food at once as it needs significant room to cook properly. Instead, try cooking food in portions, this way it will have the time and space it needs to meet your culinary expectations.