Grilling Tips That Will Make Everyone Think You’re A Master

Maybe it’s part of our primitive nature, but people like to pride themselves when it comes to their cooking skills over an open flame. (And nobody ever minds being called the “grill master.”) However, what you don’t want is for people to think you have no idea what you’re doing. Here are a few simple tricks to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Use Bread To Learn Where The Grill’s Hot Spots Are

Picture of bread
thekitchn/Pinterest
thekitchn/Pinterest

Every grill is different, which means that every grill’s hot spots are located in different areas. This is important to know so you don’t end up either burning or undercooking food because it wasn’t placed on the right section of the grill.

To find out where these places are, lay down pieces of fresh bread on an equal amount of heat and flip after one minute. You should be able to clearly tell which areas are the hottest depending on the char on the bread.

Use A Muffin Tray To Hold Your Condiments

Picture of muffin trays
Alpacalypse28/Reddit
Alpacalypse28/Reddit

Most grill masters will probably admit that they’ve never used a muffin tray in their life, but it turns out that they’re the ones missing out.

Muffin trays can also serve as the perfect holders for your condiments, such as pickles, onions, tomatoes, or whatever you are working with. Not only does it keep them all together, but it saves you from having to wash multiple dishes! And we all know that’s always for the better.

Check Your Propane Levels With Hot Water

Picture of propane
Susan Biddle/The The Washington Post via Getty Images
Susan Biddle/The The Washington Post via Getty Images

If you’re using a propane grill, there are few things less embarrassing than running out of fuel because you didn’t know how much propane you had left in the tank. Luckily, there’s an easy way to check.

All you have to do is get a glass of hot water and pour it on the side of the tank. Find the point where it goes from being hot to cold, and the cold area is where the propane is located.

Double-Up On Skewers

Picture of skewers
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Although when most people envision a shishkebab or some other skewer dish, they think of only one skewer. However, only using one is considered a rookie move by another that’s made their fair share of skewers in their day.

The key is to use two of them, so you can turn them on the grill with ease and without having to worry about the meat, vegetables, or whatever you have on them from spinning all over the place.

Use An Egg Carton To Light Your Coals

Picture of an egg carton
IprovideCONTENT/Reddit
IprovideCONTENT/Reddit

If you’ve ever used a charcoal grill, you may have learned that you may not get all of your coals lit on the first try. Not only is this embarrassing, but it can be frustrating to the point that you reach for the lighter fluid, which can affect the taste of your food.

Instead, fill an empty egg carton with coals and light the carton on fire. This is a sure-fire way to make sure your coals are lit without the use of lighter fluid.

Make Diamond Grill Marks

Picture of grill marks
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images
Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Something you might notice at steakhouses is that the meat comes out with small diamond grill marks. Thankfully, this is something you can do too with almost no effort. Play your meat at 10:00 on the grill and leave it for half of the time you intend to grill that side.

When half the time is up, without flipping the meat, turn the meat to 2:00 and leave for the rest of the remaining time. Then, repeat the process on the other side.

Roast Peppers With Ease

Picture of roasted peppers
Essdras M Suarez/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Essdras M Suarez/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Unsurprisingly, the process of making roasted peppers is exactly what it sounds like and can be done by anyone. Place your peppers directly over the heat on the grill and cook until all of the sides are completely charred.

Don’t worry, you didn’t burn them. Next, place them in a bowl that’s covered with saran wrap until they are cool. Once they are, the moisture that’s been created in the pepper will allow the skin to slide right off by just using your fingers.

Always Season Your Meat Ahead Of Time

Picture of man grilling
Kurt Wittman/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Kurt Wittman/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make while operating the grill is forgetting to season your meat before cooking it. It’s recommended that you season at least an hour before grilling to lock in the flavor but no less than 30 to 40 minutes because it will just suck out the moisture.

Also, it’s important always to use a little more than you think because a decent amount usually falls off during the cooking process, and it will help you develop a nice crust.

Know Your Temperature Guidelines And Use A Meat Thermometer

Picture of a meat thermometer
David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

While some people say they can tell if a piece of meat is done by just looking at it or touching it, don’t be a hero. Know at what temperature different types of meat should be reached before serving and use a meat thermometer to be as exact as possible.

There’s nothing worse than somebody getting sick or overcooking an expensive piece of steak because you had too much pride to use a thermometer. Always better safe than sorry in this case.

Grill Fish On Slices Of Citrus

Picture of fish and lemon
Reddit
Reddit

Unless you’re extremely confident at what you’re doing and have the proper equipment to do so, grilling fish can be nerve-racking. Because it’s so delicate, you can overcook it and risk having it stick to the grates with no clean way of removing it.

To prevent this, you can grill your fish on top of lemon slices. Not only does it ensure that your fish stays intact, but it also infuses the fish with citrus, which many people already add to it!

Use An Object To Shape Your Burgers

Picture of burger paddies
berlinbrown/Reddit
berlinbrown/Reddit

Having uniform burgers in both shape and size is helpful, especially when making many at once because they will all cook at the same rate. This is hard to accomplish just using your hands, so find something else you can use without spending money on a burger press.

Something along the lines of an old condiment jar or something else circular will do just fine and produce burgers that are close enough in weight and shape to all cook the same.

Use A Cast Iron Skillet

Picture of cast iron skillet
Yoon S. Byun/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Yoon S. Byun/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

A good cast iron skillet is a piece of equipment that everyone who frequently uses a grill should own. Because the whole thing can go right on top of the grates, it’s great for cooking anything that you might worry about falling between the cracks, such as mushrooms, sliced peppers, asparagus, or whatever.

Plus, you can even get fancier and cook other things like pizza, bacon, eggs, or anything else that your heart may desire.

Cook Your Meat When At Room Temperature

Picture of a steak
MIGUEL MENDEZ/AFP via Getty Images
MIGUEL MENDEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Hopefully, most people are aware that it’s not a good idea to put your meat on the grill straight from the freezer, not everyone knows that all meat, especially steak, should be at room temperature before coming into contact with the fire.

This takes a little bit of preparation if you need to defrost something or just bring it up to room temperature from the refrigerator. Doing this helps ensure a nice and even cook so there are no surprises at the end.

Put Ice Cubes In Your Burger

Picture of an ice cube
NawtAGoodNinja/Reddit
NawtAGoodNinja/Reddit

If you’ve ever had your grilled burgers come out drier than the Sahara Desert, this is a simple trick for you. When first putting your patties on the grill, take a small piece of ice (or butter for extra flavor) and place it on top of the middle of the paddy.

Then, when the burger is being cooked, the ice or butter will melt, evenly distributing moisture to the whole paddy. Now, you’ll know nobody was lying when they say you make a juicy burger.

Think Outside Of The Box

Picture of grilled peaches
Mark Leffingwell/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images
Mark Leffingwell/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images

For a lot of people, steaks, burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, is what’s usually on the menu when they fire up the barbecue, but that doesn’t always have to be the case.

If you really want to impress your, guests, whip up a dessert that involves the use of the grill. One of the easiest and tastiest things you can do is grill some fruit like peaches, strawberries, or watermelon and put it on top of some ice cream or eat it as is!

Let Your Meat Rest

Picture of steak
Carsten Koall/Getty Images
Carsten Koall/Getty Images

Although your first instinct might be to cut into a freshly grilled piece of meat to see the finished product, patience is the key here. It’s crucial that after you remove your food from the heat that you let it sit between 5 to 10 minutes at room temperatures.

If you don’t you risk all of the juices coming out, ruining all of your hard work. Letting your meat rest takes no effort and can make all the difference.

Perfect Your Buns

Picture of a hamburger
Tom Kelley/Getty Images
Tom Kelley/Getty Images

While there’s nothing technically wrong with using a hot dog or hamburger bun straight from the bag when assembling your meal, you could do better.

To really take your hot dog or hamburger to the next level, spread a generous amount of softened butter on it and throw it on the grill until the edges get crispy. Not only does this add more texture, but also flavor, and prevents your buns from getting soggy when you start adding your toppings.

Don’t Overwork Your Meat

Picture of meat
Johannes Simon/Getty Images
Johannes Simon/Getty Images

When some people get behind the grill, they may feel the need to press their meat down onto the grates or flip it countless times to make it seem like they know what they’re doing. Don’t do this.

Pressing your meat down does nothing except squeeze out the juices and lose seasoning. Furthermore, flipping the meat over and over won’t allow it to cook evenly, and you won’t be able to achieve those signature grill marks we all love at barbeques.

Always Preheat Your Grill

Picture of grill
Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images
Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Even though you may be anxious to get your food on the grill, it’s essential to always give your grill some time to get hot before you start doing anything.

For a grill on high heat, a general rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t be able to hold your hand four inches from the grill for more than three seconds, five seconds for medium heat, and eight to ten seconds for low. By doing this, you’ll know your food is going to cook the second you put it on the grill.

Ditch Your Dirty Grill Brush

Picture of person cleaning the grill
Recursive Paradox/Reddit
Recursive Paradox/Reddit

Unfortunately, when you see someone cleaning the grill in preparation for use, they’re usually using a grill brush that has been collecting dust in the garage and is nastier than the grill.

So, don’t bother one at all. Instead, ball up a piece of tin foil and, using your tongs as the handle, clean the grill as you would with a brush. Another tip for cleaning the grates is to cut an onion in half and rub the grates, which will get the job done too.