8 Essential Grilling Tips
Want to be the master of the grill? These 10 grilling tips and tricks will tell you everything you need to know to make the most delicious meals on the grill! From juicy burgers to perfectly cooked steaks, follow this guide and become a grill master in no time!
1. Soak-ahead wood chunks
Try this trick to make sure soaked wood chunks are always ready when you are. Soak as many chunks as you like at the same time. Drain the chunks, seal them in a zipper-lock bag, and store them in the freezer. When ready to grill, place the frozen chunks on the grill. They defrost quickly and impart as much flavor as freshly soaked chunks.
2. Wooden skewers at the ready
Soak wooden skewers ahead of time and store them in the freezer so you can have them on hand and ready to go when you want to throw them on the grill.
3. Charcoal prep
Hoisting a huge bag of charcoal to pour some into a chimney starter can be messy and difficult, especially when you are dressed nicely for a summer dinner party. To get around this sloppy situation, try this tip.
1. When you first bring home the sack, divide the briquettes into smaller bags, about 4 quarts (50 briquettes) to a bag.
2. When you need to build a fire, just cut a hole in the bottom of a small bag, and the charcoal flows right into the chimney.
4. Using the empty charcoal bag
Instead of using old newspapers to light a chimney starter, save the empty bags from your charcoal briquettes to light your next fire.
1. Cut or tear the bag (separating the layers of paper) into pieces small enough to fit in the bottom of a chimney starter.
2. Stuff a few pieces of the bag in the bottom of the chimney and light. The charcoal residue on the bag will help it stay lit.
5. Hot tips for grill lighting
Lighting up a charcoal grill can be a tricky business, even with a chimney starter to help you. Here are a few tips for getting your charcoal grill started quickly and efficiently in a variety of circumstances.
A. Egg carton
For a quick light, use a cardboard egg carton. Place the empty carton in the kettle, stack up to 3 quarts of briquettes on top of it, and then light the cardboard to start the flame, adding more briquettes once the first batch is lit. The coals light quickly and evenly, without the need for a chimney. Rearrange the hot coals as needed.
B. Potato chips
Here’s a grill-lighting method that is also a great way to use up stale potato chips. Arrange 2 cups of plain potato chips in a coffee filter and place the filter in the bottom of a charcoal grill. Place a chimney starter on top of the chips, fill the chimney with charcoal, and light the chips. The greasy chips burn slowly, igniting the charcoal with ease.
C. Self-starting charcoal
A chimney starter is practically foolproof, but just to make absolutely sure that it will get the job done on a cold or windy day, try the following trick. Place four or five briquettes of self-starting charcoal at the bottom of the chimney, then fill the balance with hardwood charcoal. By using just a handful of self-starting briquettes, you’re guaranteed both a quick start and food without the acrid taste that comes from using self-starting charcoal exclusively.
D. Paper towel roll
Use your recycling to help light a chimney starter on a blustery day.
1. Place wads of crumpled newspaper underneath the chimney starter and set the chimney starter on the grill grate. Hold an empty paper towel roll in the center of the chimney starter and surround it with briquettes.
2. Light the newspaper. The paper towel roll encourages air to flow up through the briquettes, carrying the flames upward for efficient ignition.
6. Windproof fire starting
Anyone who enjoys grilling well into autumn knows how frustrating it can be to light a grill or chimney full of charcoal on a blustery fall day. Instead of using a match or lighter, you can get the fire going with a small butane torch (the kind used for caramelizing crème brûlée).
7. Reminder to turn off the gas
Make sure you remember to turn off the gas tank after grilling with this simple trick. Jog your memory by slipping a rubber band around the knob of the gas tank. When you turn the tank on, place the rubber band around your wrist, and only remove it when you turn the tank off. As long as you’re wearing the rubber band, you know that the tank is on.
8. A better way to grease the grill
If you find yourself out of paper towels, you can use standard coffee filters to oil your grill grate. The sturdy filter paper is less apt to tear or leave behind fuzz, and—since it’s less absorbent than paper towels—you can get the job done using less oil.