It's a fact: food just tastes better when it's hot off the grill—as long as you don't burn it to a crisp, that is. Plus, grilling is a quick way to get a delicious meal on the table, giving you more time to enjoy the beautiful summer weather with your family and friends.
Improving your grilling technique is easier than you think. Just like everything else, practice makes perfect. The more you grill, the more you master the art. But there are a few grilling tips and tricks of the trade. Learn how to grill like a pro and impress your guests with your grilling prowess at your next picnic with these simple gas and charcoal grill-master tips.
Gas or Charcoal?
Both charcoal and gas are great options, but here’s the big difference: Gas grills light instantly and offer steady, adjustable heat. On the other hand, while charcoal grills burn hotter than gas grills, they require more lead time while the coals heat up. For a quick meal, gas is best. But if you have the time, charcoal grills lend that true smoky “grilled” flavor to your food.
Best Meats to BBQ
If you're a newbie to grilling, don’t be afraid to branch out from the typical hot dogs and brats. There are so many delicious meats to barbecue on the grill: chicken, steak, pork, kielbasa, burgers (beef, lamb, turkey, black bean)—and let’s not forget meat and veggie skewers!
My family's go-to grilling meat is chicken, and these maple-glazed chicken skewers served with a side of sweet jalapeno salsa and baked beans makes a real crowd-pleasing meal. We like to cook a little extra for leftovers for dinners and lunches for the rest of the week.
Things that cook quickly, like veggies and steak, are best grilled over high heat. This is where you’ll see those nice charred grill marks. But chicken and thicker cuts of meat—like in this recipe for spicy grilled pork chops or this one for Mango Chipotle Chicken—are best grilled over medium heat with the cover down, creating a closed environment that traps the heat and evenly cooks the meat.
Most newer gas grills make grilling super easy, because they come equipped with an internal thermometer. But for charcoal or older gas grills, you may need to play a little trial and error. If you hold your hand over the grill for a second to feel the heat, you’ll get a good sense of how hot it is.
Once you master the grill, you might just find yourself preparing most of your meals in the great outdoors. And with so many savory meats and juicy summer veggies to try, you’ll be grilling like a pro by summer’s end.