Learn how to add more flavor to your BBQ, the ins-and-outs of cooking methods, and how to grill delicious, juicy BBQ that will leave your guests craving for more! Happy Grilling!
Use the SmokerWood smoke is a must for great barbecue flavor. If you have a gas grill it may already be equipped with a smoker box or tray. Simply fill the tray with the wood chips of your preference (after soaking in liquid) and your food will soak up the fragrant wood aromas as the wood burns slowly. If you're using a charcoal grill, simply add wood chips or chunks over the hot coals. Wood chunks tend to last longer in charcoal grills, and we recommend using them if you have charcoal.
There are a variety of wood flavors on the market today, allowing the grill master to experiment with different flavors to create the perfect combination. Alder adds a light, aromatic flavor that's perfect with fish and seafood. Cherry and apple create a sweeter note to beef, poultry, or pork. Hickory adds a deep smoke flavor to beef, pork, and poultry. Mesquite is the strongest, smokiest flavor and is ideal for beef. Oak and pecan are good "medium" flavors that add smoky flavor without too much bitterness. Be slightly cautious when using wood, as you can definitely over-do it and excessive smoke flavor can ruin the flavor.Shop Smoking & Flavor »
Direct vs. Indirect Heat
Direct grilling is simply where your food is placed directly over the fire. The only main variation with direct grilling is you can leave the lid up or down. However, most of the time, you should cook with the lid down. If you think about when you're frying eggs on the stove, only the part of the egg in direct contact with the pan is being cooked. That's why you have to flip the egg to cook the other side. Put a lid on that pan, and then the top of the egg will cook just as the bottom. It works the same way when grilling.
Steaks, burgers, fish, etc. all should be cooked using direct heat. You want the grill to be hot when cooking these foods, and it needs to be directly above the flame to get a good sear the outside.
Indirect grilling is similar to baking. The fire is located on one side of the grill, while the food is on the opposite side. Picture a typical gas grill, with the burners turned on over one half of the grill. Then the meat is placed on the other side, away from the direct flame. Once you close the lid, convection and radiant heat will cook your food. The benefits of this cooking method is your food will cook more evenly and it's less likely to be burned on the outside. However, it will take longer to cook your food.
When using a charcoal grill, simply put your hot coals on the side of the grill and your food on the opposite. You may also place a drip pan underneath your food, if you choose. Drip pans can be filled with water, wine, or beer to add humidity inside the grill which helps keep the food from drying out.
If the type of meat you're cooking can easily burn on the outside before the inside cooks, you should use the indirect method. This typically includes poultry, roasts, and other thick cuts of meat.
How to Get Perfect Sear LinesEver wonder how professional chefs get perfect sear lines on steaks or burgers? Well, they probably won't tell their secrets, but we have a secret you can call your own. GrillGrates are a set of interlocking grill grates that can be used on nearly any grill. The grates are made from an aircraft-grade aluminum that's undergone a hardening process to make them stronger. This material conducts and retains heat better than steel or cast iron, which makes it perfect for the grill. Between the rails, juices collect in the valleys then steam or sizzle, adding more flavor and moisture to your food. This is a great product that will give you professional results with every use. Shop GrillGrates »
How to Apply a Dry RubApplying a dry rub isn't rocket science, but there are a couple of good practices to follow when you do. It's helpful to remember the phrase "wet hand, dry hand" when you apply the rub. Use one hand for spreading the rub over the meat while keeping the other dry to sprinkle the rub over the meat. Check out Chef Tony's video for more helpful tips. Shop Rubs & Food Prep »
Tips For Preparing Chicken WingsGrilling chicken wings or drumettes this Memorial Day? For wings, we recommend removing the tips because they tend to fall below the grates on the grill. Watch our video to see this technique in action.
Hamburger Grilling 101When you think of Memorial Day BBQ, most people think of hamburgers. They are fun and easy to cook on the grill, but getting them to come out perfect every time can be a challenge if you're new to grilling.
Always remember to use good quality beef, preferably an 80/20 beef to fat ratio. Other ratios simply don't have enough moisture to produce a juicy burger. Watch our video for more hamburger tips from Chef Tony.
Here's an easy way to check for doneness while grilling steaks.
- Rare – The steak should be seared on both sides, when pressed, the meat should have little to no resistance.
- Medium Rare – The steak should be grilled on the first side, until little drops of blood run up to the surface, then turned and browned on the other side. The meat should feel spongy when pressed.
- Medium – The steak should be grilled on the first side, until drops of juice are visible on the surface. Turn the steak, and brown the other side, until the meat resists when pressed.
- Well Done – The steak should be grilled on the first side until plenty of juice has come to the surface. Turn the steak and brown the second side, until firm to the touch. This should usually be done over lower heat, depending on the thickness of the steak.
Tips for Marinading SeafoodWhen marinading seafood, add a little bit of honey, as this will help the herbs and spices bind to the flesh and add a nice sweet hint to your dish. For perfectly seared tuna steaks, place steaks in a sealed plastic bag and soak in warm water for 10 – 15 minutes. While soaking, pre-heat your grill until very hot and wipe with a little oil. Soaking the tuna will allow it sear faster, and protect the flavor and texture. Shop Seafood Grilling Tools
Tips for VegetablesBrandy blends well with almost anything: fruit, vegetables, meat, and desserts. It's fairly inexpensive and shelf stable, unlike wine. If you're adding it to a sauce, remember to reduce the Brandy first. This will concentrate the flavors and lower the acidity of the Brandy, which helps prevent curdling of milk or egg products. To enhance the flavor of a "stuffed" recipe (stuffed peppers, fruit, mushrooms etc...), try fire roasting some or all of your ingredients before blending and stuffing. Try to get your kids to eat more broccoli and cauliflower, by lightly oiling and grilling. When cooked quickly on a grill, they will have a sweeter more mild flavor. When grilling broccoli or asparagus (especially thicker asparagus), keep them from turning grey, by first peeling their stems. This allows them to grill quicker, keeping their delicate buds in tackt. While grilling veggies, it's a good idea to grill these with the lid open, until just al dente. Shop Vegetable Grilling Tools
Read more articles by Chef Tony Matassa, ShoppersChoice.com, LLC.