There’s nothing more enticing to your senses and taste buds than the smell of a fired-up grill.
However, grilling is not just about tossing the burgers on the cooking grate, but there’s a lot more that goes into the process—this is something I learned the hard way!
Therefore, to help you avoid the same mistakes, I’ve created a detailed grilling guide for beginners that will answer all your questions such as preparing your meat to the best practices to follow.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Type of Grill is Best to Cook on For Beginners?
- 2 Preparing the Meat and Other Ingredients
- 3 What are the Best Food Items to Cook on a Grill for Beginners?
- 4 How to Set up a Grill?
- 5 The Grilling Process
- 6 Best Practices to Follow when Grilling
- 7 Mistakes to Avoid During Your First Grill
- 8 How to hold the Grilled Food after Grilling?
- 9 How to Reheat Barbeque Food
- 10 How to Serve the Grilled Meat
- 11 How to Clean and Maintain the Grill after Grilling?
- 12 Frequently Asked Questions
- 12.1 1. How long before cooking should you light a Grill?
- 12.2 2. How do you know when to start grilling?
- 12.3 3. Do you turn on all burners when grilling?
- 12.4 4. Should I spray my grill before cooking?
- 12.5 5. Should I oil my grill grates?
- 12.6 6. Should I use nonstick spray on the grill?
- 12.7 7. How long should coals burn before grilling?
- 12.8 8. Do I close the lid after lighting charcoal?
- 12.9 9. What part of the grill is the hottest?
What Type of Grill is Best to Cook on For Beginners?
The first, and perhaps the most important thing is to choose the right grill when you’re just getting your feet wet with grilling—a task that can be truly overwhelming, given the sea of options available, starting from basic gas and charcoal grills to infrared and hybrid grills.
But as a beginner, you need to decide between a gas and charcoal grill, because these are literally pretty straightforward to use, and are highly affordable.
When it comes to propane grills, you’ve got two options to choose from—propane tanks and natural gas grills.
While both propane and natural gas grills offer the same performance in terms of grilling, it all boils down to convenience.
There may however be a slight dip in performance between natural gas and propane grills if you’re grilling in chilly temperatures of -45-degrees cold, because the propane fails to vaporize.
Speaking of which, propane does offer twice the power than natural gas grills, and releases less gas into the grill.
One of the big reasons why it’s important to choose between a natural gas grill and propane grill from the get go is because the orifice holes that are located at the entrance of the burners are larger with natural gas grills compared to propane grills.
So, if you change your mind, and want to use a different fuel source later on, you will need to replace the burner tubes. Even though hooking up natural gas to a propane grill is possible, it’s a daunting task to say the least.
With natural gas grills, you will never run out of propane, ever, but you will have to keep at least two propane tanks handy with a propane gas grill.
When it comes to costs of using a natural gas vs. a propane gas grill, it depends on the fuel market, and the area you live in.
But to give you a rough idea, propane gas generally costs between $40 and $50 for a 20 lbs tank, and $.50-$2 per therm for natural gas.
Charcoal grills are a bit tricky to use for newbies, as most lack a convenient knob for flame control. But many grilling enthusiasts claim that this tradeoff is well-worth the superior flavor that charcoal grills provide.
Prices for most traditional grills, Middle Eastern kebab grills, Indian tandoor ovens, charcoal grills are less upfront compared to natural gas or propane grills.
But that’s not all, charcoal briquettes also cost less than refilling a propane tank for propane gas grills.
Charcoal grills however do require a fair bit of effort to start them up, and a better understanding of the grilling technique.
This doesn’t mean that charcoal grills aren’t suited for novice grillers, but they will take some time to get used to.
Preparing the Meat and Other Ingredients
Even though you could ideally just toss raw meat on the grates of your grill, there are a few extra things you can do for perfectly cooked, and tantalizing results.
First thing to do is marinate the meat well with your favorite sauces and ingredients, and let it rest in your refrigerator for at least eight hours.
Next, pat the meat dry using a paper towel, as this would remove the excess moisture from the meat.
The moisture leftover will not help grill, but steam-cook the meat, so you won’t get any caramelized bits.
Next, season the meat with salt and pepper just before grilling, as these two ingredients bring the moisture to the surface.
The reason you should season with salt and pepper at the last minute before grilling and not when you remove the meat from your refrigerator is because it only pulls the moisture left behind to the surface after you’ve patted the meat down with paper towels.
What are the Best Food Items to Cook on a Grill for Beginners?
Some food items are easy to cook on the grill for those just getting their feet wet in this space. However, there are several food items such as steaks that require some level of expertise to get it right, so they can be intimidating to grill for the novice.
Vegetables are a great starting point for two reasons—they don’t cost that much, and can help you get acquainted with your grill quickly.
Grilling vegetables will help you learn about the hotspot areas of your grill, and which foods to stick in what areas of the grill.
For example, grilling sweet potatoes is best done on the back right corner of the grill, as this part of your grill tends to be a bit cooler than the other areas.
By grilling vegetables, you also learn about the right way to prep your ingredients before grilling. For instance, you don’t really need to prep tomatoes before grilling, but should cut zucchinis into large steak-like planks.
Another great food option to start with for novice grillers is none other than the good ol’ ubiquitous backyard BBQ staple—barbeques chicken.
Grilling chicken is a great way to take what you’ve learned about cooking vegetables such as determining hot and cold spots on your grill, and put it to the test by showing you how to use the different heat zones, and cooking chicken and other meats thoroughly.
When you grill chicken, you will also get a firsthand experience of what I’d like to call—zone seasoning, which entails seasoning the raw chicken with a tasty dry rub or baste with barbeque sauce when on the grill.
After you’ve learned about preparing the meat and marination, you can try your hands at basic pork chops. By grilling pork chops, you’ll learn about grill marks, and brining—the process of infusing the meat with savory, finger-lickin’ flavors!
You’ll also learn about cooking at the right temperature, and the number of times you need to turn the meat for the perfect grill marks.
Grilling fish such as salmon will teach you how to cook to achieve juicier, grilled meats, and how to create lightly caramelized grill marks.
Steaks may seem difficult to cook, but they truly are easy as long as you’re aware of the desired temperature for different types of doneness such as medium rare and fully cooked.
How to Set up a Grill?
If it’s a brand-new grill, you will have to install it according to manufacturer specifications. But if you’ve used the grill before, then wipe it down thoroughly, and clean the cooking grates to ensure that they are free from dirt, debris and grease.
Seasoning a Grill
Whether you’re using a used grill or a brand new model just out of the box, you will have to season it before use, and here’s why!
Seasoning the grill grates gets rid of contaminants from the factory in the case of a brand grill, and the corrosion of the grill grates that makes them sticky. All types of grills ranging from charcoal, gas to stainless steel grills and cast iron will benefit from seasoning.
Why should I season my grill?
You just brought home a shiny new grill, and I know you’re eager to fire it up, but wait—you have to season the grill for the following reasons.
Like all products straight out of the factory, your new grill will have manufacturing oils, residual paint, dust and metal shavings—things you definitely don’t want in your cooked food. Think of seasoning a grill as a way of sterilizing it to get rid of these impurities.
Easier cooking and cleaning
Seasoning a grill ensures smooth non-stick cooking, and enables your grill to function at its best.
Reason for this is cooking oils and fats tend to stick to the cooking grate, resulting in a smooth non-stick surface over time.
This is especially evident in cast iron cooking grates, because they are porous, and easily absorb these oils and fats.
Longer service life
Seasoning extends the service life of your grill, and prevents it from rusting. In fact, if you season your grill regularly, your grill will serve you with great flavor for years to come.
How to Season a Grill?
There are several ways to season a grill, but here are the two methods I use that deliver effective results.
- Start by rinsing, and thoroughly air drying the grill grates. You don’t need to use dish soap for this task, but if you do, make sure you wash it to get rid of all the soap.
- Wipe and coat the grates with a high heat resistant oil such as peanut oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil by using a basting brush, paper towel or even a new paint brush.
- Lightly brush or wipe the oil on the inside of the lid, the insides of the pit, and on the emitters of your grill, if it has them.
- Turn on the grill, and allow it to get screaming hot.
- Let it burn and smoke for roughly 30 minutes to 45 minutes.
You will notice the grates change in appearance, but this is normal, and means that they are developing a non-stick cooking surface. Turn the grill off and let it cool, and voila, your grill is seasoned.
How to Set Up and Start an Electric Grill for Beginners?
- Since all grills vary across manufacturers, you will have to refer to your user guide on how to put the grill together. This includes setting up the lid, grill grates, wheels, etc.
- After setting up the grill, place it on a flat space on the kitchen countertop if it’s an indoor grill or an outdoor flat area that’s free from any dirt or debris.
- Connect the electric grill to an electric outlet. Turn it on by pressing the button, and allow it to preheat for roughly 5 minutes to 10 minutes, before placing the food on it.
- Electric grills come in several models, where some allow you to adjust the temperatures, while others have fixed temperatures. If you have a grill with adjustable temperatures, set the temperature you desire to cook the food.
How to Set Up and Start a Gas Grill for Beginners?
- Just like electric grills, you will have to first set it up according to the manufacturer specifications.
- Next step is to determine if your grill is designed for burning propane or natural gas to hook it up to the right power source.
Most gas grills use propane that’s supplied in small gas tanks, but others can be connected directly to the natural gas supply of your home.
- After you’re determined the type of gas source, locate the hose and regulator of the gas grill. If it’s a propane gas grill, thread the regulator onto the valve that’s located at the top of the propane tank. Make sure that you secure the regulator all the way, but don’t over tighten it.
- It’s a good idea to keep another full propane tank handy, so that you can install it immediately in case the first one runs out of gas.
- Open the propane tank valve or the natural gas valve all the way. Keep a fire extinguisher within close reach before lighting the gas grill.
- Place the gas grill on a flat surface, and in a well ventilated area outdoors before lighting it.
- If your gas grill has an igniter button, press and hold it down, while slowly turning the burner knob closest to it. Take a look through the cooking grates to see if the burner tube has ignited, and if it has, release the igniter button.
- If the burner doesn’t light within a few seconds, turn off the burner control knob and release the igniter button. Wait for about two minutes for the gas to dissipate, before trying again.
- If your grill doesn’t have an inbuilt igniter button, you can use a lighter wand or long matches to fire up the grill.
How to Set Up and Start a Charcoal Grill for Beginners?
- The first step remains the same as the other two types of grills, where you put together the grill according to manufacturer instructions. Place the charcoal grill in a well-ventilated area outdoors.
- With charcoal grills, you have to decide whether you would like to cook over direct heat or indirect heat. Direct heat means that you will be cooking your food directly over a bed of lit charcoal, whereas indirect heat is when food is cooked over a fire (bed of charcoal) to the side.
If you’re cooking over direct heat, spread the charcoal evenly in a single layer across the cooking grate. To prevent flare-ups, you should leave a small gap between the parts of charcoal to serve as an area of indirect heat.
If you’re using your charcoal grill for indirect cooking, spread the charcoal evenly in a single layer on both sides of the food, but not under it, so you get an indirect heat zone.
- Lighting a charcoal grill can be a tricky task, but the first thing to do is keep the charcoal briquettes close to help the fire spread from coal to coal easily.
- There are several ways to light the charcoal in your grill, but I like to use a chimney starter, and good ol’ newspaper.
Most charcoal grills don’t come with a chimney starter, but you can buy one separately as an optional accessory.
You should buy a chimney starter from your charcoal grill manufacturer to ensure that it’s the right fit.
- Fill the chimney starter with the right amount of coals, where a standard size holds approximately 100 briquets, but you probably won’t need these many.
- Add one or two sheets of newspaper to the chamber below, and light it in several spots. As the newspaper burns in the chamber below, the flames will rise, and light the charcoal above.
- Peek through the vents of the chimney to see whether the coals have started, and if the edges of the coal have turned gray. If the coals are not yet lit, burn another piece of newspaper to accelerate the process.
To help the newspaper burn longer, drizzle it with cooking oil before lighting it.
- The coal should take roughly 10 minutes to light up,
- After the coals are lit, and start to glow, pour them onto a pile, and spread them across the grill grates.
A word about charcoal
Even though you may think that one bag of charcoal is identical to another, there are actually myriad different types of charcoal to choose from including briquettes, flavored charcoal, lump charcoal, and more.
Kamado Joe KJ-Char Big Block XL Lump Charcoal
The Kamado Joe lump charcoal is made from a blend of hardwood – Guayacan, Guayaibi, Mistal, and White Quebracho, and burns for up to 18 hours. This 100 percent natural lump charcoal burns hotter, and allows you to achieve steak-searing temperatures, making it a great choice for slow-cooked foods.
OLIVETTE Organic Charcoal Briquettes
The OLIVETTE charcoal briquettes are made from recycled olive pulp, olive pits and olive pruning branches, and are much healthier than other types of charcoal in the market.
They are easy to light, and burn for up to 5 hours, and don’t spark or emit volatile ash.
Method 2 – Lighting a Charcoal Grill
Another easy and effective way of lighting charcoal in a grill is with lighter fluid.
- Pile the coals into a pyramid or mound to help increase the coal to coal contact, and help the fire spread.
- Carefully squirt the lighter fluid over the charcoal without getting it over yourself, and make sure you get in on the sides of the charcoal. Light the lighter fluid immediately following the fluid directions, and don’t squirt lighter fluid onto flaming or hot coals.
- You can use a fire starter or matches to light the lighter fluid on the charcoal.
The Grilling Process
Marinating your food
Marinating meat before tossing it on the grill is a great way to intensify the meat’s taste to make it more flavorful and aromatic.
When it comes to marinades, the choices are endless, so it’s truly up to what you’d like to coat the meat with.
Apart from marinade acting as a tenderizer to bring out the meat’s natural flavors before grilling, marination is also regarded as one of the most effective ways to reduce the formation of cancer causing compounds known as HCA’s (heterocyclic amines).
These compounds are produced when you cook food at really high temperatures such as when grilling, so the marinade reduces the chances by serving as a barrier between the meat and the direct flames.
Contrary to what you’ve read on the internet, marinating meat doesn’t mean it will be tasteless and bland, because there are several different ingredients you can use to create healthy and tasty marinades for any kind of meat, fish or poultry.
After you’ve marinated the meat, cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours before grilling.
Similar to if you’re gardening, if you’re cooking, you should wear clothes suitable for grilling. Since you’re going to be handling hot items, you should invest in a good pair of mitts to prevent any burns.
Speaking of which, you should also wear food safety gloves when handling raw meat. You can change your gloves more easily than washing your hands when outdoors.
Adding to this, avoid wearing clothing with long sleeves, as they might become a fire hazard.
You probably already have most of the utensils required for grilling in your kitchen such as plates, storage trays, forks and knives.
But you should also keep some grill specific items handy such as spatula, tongs, and most importantly a meat thermometer to know exactly when the meat is perfectly cooked.
If your grill didn’t come fitted with a side table, it’s a good idea to set one up, so that you have everything you need within close reach.
Temperature Guide for Your Grill
It’s easy to gauge the temperature of gas grills with the onsite dials, but it’s challenging if you have a charcoal grill.
You can use the hand method to gauge the temperature by holding your hand just above the cooking grate, and start counting the seconds until you can’t tolerate the heat.
The longer you can hold your hand over the heat of the grill, the lower the temperature. You can use this technique for both charcoal and gas grills.
Move the food Around the Grill
One of the common grilling myths is that you shouldn’t turn your food too frequently when grilling. But remember, you want food that’s evenly cooked, therefore you should flip the food, and move it to other parts of the grill to prevent flare-ups.
Cook Over Indirect Heat
Depending on what you’re grilling, there are certain foods that can benefit from being cooked away from the heat source using indirect heat.
Slow cooked food items include beef roasts, whole chickens, racks of ribs, and/or poultry or meat that require a longer cook time.
Know when the Food is Done
Knowing when your food is done can be a bit overwhelming, given that cook times can vary across foods.
However, to avoid the guesswork, here are three guidelines to follow.
- Food can be cooked longer, but you can’t un-cook food.
- Undercooked meat can be harmful for your health.
- Even though you will be able to determine the right doneness for your foods with experience, it’s best to use a meat thermometer to ensure you get it right.
Best Practices to Follow when Grilling
Gas Grills – Best Practices
Control is one of the biggest benefits of gas grills, because you can easily control the temperature by simply turning the knob.
Only use high heat for searing for a short period of time, and use medium for cooking hot, and low heat for cooking more slowly the remaining time.
Close the lid of your gas grill if you’re cooking food items that are thicker than ¾ inch. Leave the lid of your gas grill open when searing or cooking foods that’s less than ¾-inch thick.
Browning and Searing
The dark sear marks and golden-brown color impart delicious flavor in your foods. Here are a few tips to achieve fantastic sear marks in your food.
It’s easier to dry meat that’s dry, so pat the food with a paper towel before tossing it on the grill. Flip the cuts of meat frequently to avoid burning either side, except for burgers that only need to be flipped once or twice.
When you have a small or large cooking area on your grill, do not pack the food too tightly, but leave some space for the heat to rise, and cook the edges evenly.
Smoking on Gas Grills
If you have a pellet grill or a smoker, you can sprinkle a large number of pellets directly into the grill box, and allow the smoking to begin.
Make sure to keep the lid of the smoker closed to prevent the pellets from flaming. You can also use the tin foil method by placing wood pellets in heavy duty tin foil, crimping the edges closed, poking some holes in it, and allowing the smoke to flow out.
To use your gar grill properly and efficiently:
- Remove the cover from your grill, and turn on the gas supply.
- Start by turning the control valves all the way to high, and light the grill following the manufacturer instructions.
- It’s important to preheat your grill before cooking anything, which should be roughly 10 minutes with a gas grill.
- While the grill is preheating, take a grill brush and clean the cooking grates.
- After the grill is hot, place the food on the cooking grates, and do not leave the grill unattended, because you risk burning the food.
- Flip the food when necessary, and remove when done.
- Take the grill brush, and wipe the cooking surface.
- Don’t forget to turn off the fuel supply. Wait for the grill to cool before covering it.
Charcoal Grill – Best Practices
Many grilling aficionados including me agree that food cooked over a charcoal grill tastes much better than food grilled over electric or gas grills.
Gas and electric grilling is quicker and more convenient, but if you have time to spare over a weekend, charcoal grills are the way to go.
However, if you’re new to charcoal grilling, it’s going to take some time to get things right, and here are some best practices to guide you on the right track.
Charcoal is the most important part of charcoal grilling, and readying the coals is the lengthiest part of the process.
I mentioned earlier that you can use lighter fluid to start the charcoal, but doing so will also end up flavoring your food—which is something you probably don’t want.
Instead of using lighter fluid, use a chimney starter to light the coals. Depending on the amount of charcoal you’re lighting, it should take between 15 minutes to 20 minutes for the charcoal to heat up, after which you can pour it into the base of your grill.
Getting the charcoal ready does take time, effort and patience, so don’t pour the charcoal into the grill if they’re not started.
Doing so will make it challenging to control the temperature, and non-even heat distribution.
Controlling the temperature of each side of a gas grill is easier than charcoal grills with the simple twist of a dial. You can also control the temperature of the charcoal grill by setting aside at least 75 percent of the charcoal to one side to create two different temperature zones.
This allows you to grill food at different speeds, so you can cook food faster on the side with more charcoal, and warm food up with the zone that has 25 percent charcoal.
Just like electric and gas grills, it’s important to preheat your charcoal grill before cooking. Once you’ve distributed the lit coals across your grill, close the lid, and let the charcoal sit there for 5 minutes to 10 minutes before placing any food over the cooking grates.
To increase the temperature inside your charcoal grill, open the vents to welcome more oxygen, and close the vents, albeit not completely (or the fire will go out) to decrease the temperature.
Taking Care of the Charcoal
Unlike gas or electric grills, you can’t just “turn on” and turn off” the heat with charcoal grills. You can turn on a charcoal grill by adding lit charcoal. Shutting down a charcoal grill can be easily done by closing the lid and the vents, which basically prevents the oxygen from burning the charcoal.
But this doesn’t mean that the charcoal is cool enough to handle, because coals can stay hot for up to 24 hours.
This is one of the reasons why you should wait a few hours before touching the charcoal or throwing it into the thrash.
You don’t have to dispose of the charcoal each time you use the grill, but can stir up to the remaining coals, and add fresh charcoal to the existing pile the next time you grill.
Electric Grills – Best Practices
There are several different types of electric grills, but regardless of which one you use, you will have to set it up on a flat surface whether indoors or outdoors.
Next, connect the electric grill to a reliable electric power outlet, and wipe the grill down to remove the dust and residue.
Spray a little bit of cooking oil on the grates or you can use healthy choices such as avocado or olive oil. Start the electric grill by simply pressing the integrated ignition switch.
Keep tabs on the cooking times, and use a meat thermometer to know exactly when your food has reached the desired doneness.
Mistakes to Avoid During Your First Grill
You’re bound to make several mistakes when grilling the first time. I’ve in fact made several mistakes, most notably the ones mentioned below.
Not storing and defrosting the meat properly
It is important to learn how to store your meat properly, so that it’s fresh and not contaminated. To give you an idea, hamburger meat can be stored in the fridge for up to two days, and three to four months in the freezer.
Larger cuts of meat such as steaks, chops and roasts can be stored for three to five days in the fridge, and four to six months in the freezer.
Just as important as storage, you should also learn how to defrost meat properly. There are myriad safe ways to defrost meat including the cold water method and microwave method.
Starting with cold ingredients
One of the basic rules of grilling is making sure that your ingredients are at the right temperature before putting them on the grill.
Putting ingredients directly from the fridge on the grill will result in uneven cooking, and needless to say longer cooking time and dry meat.
Choosing the wrong type of grill
The biggest mistake, and one that can be easily avoided is choosing the wrong type of grill to cook different food items. For example, an infrared grill offers extremely high searing temperatures, making it a great choice for steaks and burgers, but not delicate food items such as vegetables, fish or poultry.
Adding to this, remember that charcoal grills require a bit more attention than electric and gas grills to maintain consistent heat, so if you’re just getting started with grilling, get a gas grill instead.
Not checking the propane levels before grilling
If you’re using a gas grill, check the amount of propane in the tank before grilling. There are many ways to do this including weighing the propane tank, using a gauge or disconnecting the propane tank from the grill, and pouring warm water on its side.
Using the wrong tools
You don’t need a large number of tools for grilling, but you should invest in the right ones such as a grilling apron with pockets, long-handled spatula, long-handed metal thongs, and some oven mitts and kitchen towels.
Salt and spices help enhance the flavor of the meat, and can draw out the moisture when applied to the meat and left out for 30 minutes.
Not wrapping vegetables before grilling
Vegetables are delicate food items that can burn easily, so it’s a good idea to wrap them in tin foil to avoid burning them to a crisp.
Opening the grill’s lid too often
Many grillers make the big mistake of opening the grill too often to check on their food. Remember, air escapes each time you open the grill’s lid, resulting in a dramatic drop in temperature.
You should keep your grill’s lid closed for the entire cook time when grilling for a short amount of time.
Moving or flipping your meat too early
I did say earlier that you should flip your food and move it around on the grill grates, so that it cooks well and evenly.
But once your food touches the grill’s grates, leave it alone! Regardless of the food you’re cooking—fish, poultry, burgers, etc., note that it takes time to cook and caramelize.
When your food un-sticks from the grill’s grates, it’s ready to be flipped over. And you should never press down the food on the grill.
Cooking all your meats at the same time
Given that not all food cooks at the same time, and to prevent cross-contamination, it’s important that you don’t cook chicken, burgers, hot dogs and other types of meat at the same time.
Cook different meats separately to achieve perfect results. Similarly, don’t cook vegetables and meat together, as it can lead to cross contamination, and unevenly cooked food.
Not disposing the coals properly
To reiterate, you should dispose of your coals properly without causing a safety hazard. There’s no rush as the coals can stay hot for over 48 hours, so wait until this time has passed, wrap the coals and ash in foil, and throw it into a non-combustible garbage bin.
Not washing your hands after touching raw meat
It’s a good practice to wash your hands after touching raw meat, and before dealing with cooked meat.
Not soaking the skewers
When using skewers to make kebabs and other similar items, soak the skewers first in warm water for approximately 30 minutes to an hour before plopping them on the grill.
Not using a meat thermometer
The best way to ensure that your food is grilled to perfection is with a meat thermometer. When buying the best meat thermometer, you’ll be spoilt for choice, but my go-to model is the ThermoPro meat thermometer, because it features USDA preset temperature settings, timer mode, and its ability to render accurate readings.
How to hold the Grilled Food after Grilling?
Just like storing and defrosting food, you need to care for your food after it’s cooked. First thing to remember is that once the temperature of the food drops below 140 F after coming off the heat source, it must be eaten or refrigerated within two hours.
If the outside temperature or room temperature is 90-degrees F or above, then you have an hour to eat or refrigerate the food.
Use shallow containers to refrigerate food items such as ribs, pulled pork, leftover brisket, so that they quickly chill to the safe temperature of 40-degree F or below.
You can freeze the barbeque items if you aren’t going to eat for two to three days, and do so with a vacuum sealer, because it will keep the barbeque fresh for a longer time.
How to Reheat Barbeque Food
Low and slow is the best method to reheat barbeque food, somewhere between 300 F to 325 F. Make sure you keep the grill covered so that the food doesn’t dry out or you can also reheat it in a covered saucepan or skillet over low heat.
Another quick way to reheat food in the microwave, but regardless of the reheating method you choose, use your meat thermometer to check whether the reheated food has reached 165 F—the minimum temperature for leftovers.
How to Serve the Grilled Meat
When removing the grilled food items from the grill, you should have serving dishes handy so that you don’t place the meat in a spot where you had previously placed raw meat.
After you remove the food from the grill, you should let it rest for five to fifteen minutes before serving to redistribute the juices that were once drawn to the surface of the meat.
You can use serving trays to store and stainless steel cutlery to serve the food. You can use plastic cutlery too, but some poor quality plastic utensils may not hold your barbeque items well.
How to Clean and Maintain the Grill after Grilling?
You should clean and maintain your grill for a long service life. But before revealing how to clean and maintain your grill, note that you don’t have to give your grill a deep scrub down often, as doing so can mess up the grates.
Instead, deep clean your grill every three months or so. That said, here are the steps to follow to clean and maintain your grill.
1. Burn off food
After you’ve grilled your food, don’t turn off the grill immediately, but leave it on high for 15 minutes. During this time, the leftover food particles will turn to ash, which is easier to clean than accumulated food. After this period, turn off the grill completely and let it cool down.
2. Clean the grates
The grates are the parts that touch your food each time you use the grill, so you want to keep food bacteria, grease and debris from accumulating on them.
Cleaning the grates is easy with a grill brush that has firm bristles and a scouring pad. If you don’t have a grill brush, you can use a crumpled up piece of aluminum foil in the meantime.
If you’ve cooked a lot of food on your grill, you should clean the grates with a grill cleaner.
Many avid grillers say that you shouldn’t clean the grates right after you cook because food build-up can prevent rust, but dirty grill grates can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria, and can cause long term damage.
3. Clean the burner protectors
The burner protectors are designed to prevent food, grease and debris from getting to the burners, and will get dirty. However, the burner protectors should be cleaned thoroughly after each use, because they can transport bacteria to your burners, and then to your food.
The best way to clean the burner protectors is by removing them completely from your grill, and soaking them in a bucket of soapy water. Next, rinse with a wet rag, air dry and reinstall them on the grill.
4. Clean the burners and plates
Cleaning the burners and plates is part of deep cleaning, and is a task that you need to perform two or three times per grilling season. You can clean the burners with a wet rag, and plates with a grill brush.
5. Clean the bottom tray and outside
Most grills come with a bottom tray that collects grease and debris. This tray is generally removable, so detach and clean it, so that it doesn’t clog up your grill.
After you clean the tray, you can use a rag and dish soap and water to wipe the exterior of the grill to get rid of any stains.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long before cooking should you light a Grill?
You should preheat your grill for at least 15 to 20 minutes before adding food on the cooking grates. Depending on the type of grill you have, add the heating source such as charcoal 20 minutes earlier to the grill.
2. How do you know when to start grilling?
For charcoal grills, don’t add the coals to the grill when they first turn white, because at this stage they are only hot on the outside. Wait for at least 2/3rds of the charcoal are have turned white before you start grilling.
For gas and electric grills, press the ignition switch or light the gas, and then wait 20 minutes before grilling.
For any type of grill, you can place your hand right above the grill grates, and start grilling when you feel heat dissipating from the grates.
3. Do you turn on all burners when grilling?
You should turn on all the burners of the grill on high to heat the grill quickly, but you can turn each one off to reduce the heat during cooking.
4. Should I spray my grill before cooking?
Yes, you should spray your grill before cooking to get rid of food that’s stuck to the grill grates.
5. Should I oil my grill grates?
Oiling your grill’s grates will prevent food from sticking to them during cooking. To oil the grill grates, you can dip a paper towel in a little oil, and using tongs wipe th e oil evenly over the grates.
6. Should I use nonstick spray on the grill?
Lean meats are more prone to sticking on the grates than fatty meats, for which you can use a non-stick spray before firing up the grill.
If you don’t have non-stick spray, you can heat the grill to the desired temperature, slice a potato in half, and run the exposed part of the potato in the grates.
This process releases the starches of the potato, and creates a barrier between the grates and food. But take note that the starches released by the potato on your grates could have an effect on the taste of your food.
7. How long should coals burn before grilling?
Depending on the amount of coal you’re lighting, you should let the charcoal to heat up for at least 15 minutes to 20 minutes.
8. Do I close the lid after lighting charcoal?
You should leave the lid of your grill open when arranging and lighting the charcoal, but close the lid when the coals are well lit.
Opening the lid with lit charcoal in the grill will expose the coals to oxygen, and will make them burn hotter, and increase the chances of burnt food.
9. What part of the grill is the hottest?
The center of the grill is usually the hottest, but this also depends on where your charcoal is located or burners are turned on.