Summer is almost here, which means it’s time to break out the grill, invite over friends and family, and start cooking some delicious food.
We love to grill and from our years of cooking hot dogs, hamburgers, and more, here are our 5 essential grilling tips for the perfect summer barbecue!
Summer Grilling Tips
1. Buy the right equipment!
You wouldn’t expect to win a Nascar race in a beat up 1971 Ford Pinto, so you shouldn’t expect to grill the perfect steaks, chicken, and fish without a solid grill. There are many great options, but the key things to look for when making a decision are head space, temperature control, and size. Size and head space are personal preference, but make sure your grill can handle the volume you expect to cook. Temperature control on the other hand is vital. The more you can control temperature the better you can cook different types of foods at their ideal cooking temperatures thus enhancing taste. So look for the ability to control temperature, heat range, and and the ability to have zones.
There’s also the age old question of gas vs. charcoal grills. There’s no right or wrong, but each their own merits. Charcoal grills get hotter, which is a good thing, and allow you enhance flavor with wood chips and other add ons. They also can add too much smokey flavor if not used properly and are a pain to manage and clean. Gas grills on the other hand are simple to use and offer more control, but lack versatility.
As simple as this may sound, properly preparing your grill can significantly enhace your experience and the tast of your food. At a high level make sure to clean your grill before and after each use. Residual food can add unwanted to flavors.
Additionally be sure to pre-heat your grill to the best temperature for whatever your cooking and DO NOT put your food until you’ve reached it.
3. Buy the best ingredients
Now that you have the right grill, make sure to buy the best ingredients. Especially when dealing with meat, chicken, and fish there is an appreciable taste and quality difference between “good” and “bad”. We’re all red meat eaters and make sure to buy good quality stakes for grilling (note that this does not correlate 100% with price).
When looking for a steak, look for two key factors – marbling and thickness. Marbling refers to the fat content and how well it’s dispersed throughout the cut of meat. The higher the marbling the “better” the steak. For you what this means also is how much you will need to season it to bring out other flavors. Higher marbling will have greater natural flavors whereas a low fat content piece – like a london broil – will require more care. Thickness too will inform cooking time and requisite temperature and seasonings (if too thick) to allow continuous flavor.
4. Prepare your food
As noted above, food preparation can significantly enhance flavor and for certain cuts of meat, chicken, or fish will be outright essential. Personally, the best cuts of mean simply require salt and pepper, but make sure your preparation – whether a complex marinade or light salting – is a well researched and conscious decision.
5. Let it sit!
Now you’re cooking! (So let it cook!)
We have the urge to flip our chicken or burgers, roll the hot dogs, and cut into our steak to see how they’re doing. Don’t! Everything you’re cooking should only be flipped or touched once to ensure proper cooking and flavor profile, so be patient.
Who hasn’t prematurely flipped a hamburger that then fell apart?