9 Essential Grilling Tips for Beginners

Grilling Tips

Consumers bought more than 14 million grills between April 2020 and February 2021. Grill sales were already increasing, but the pandemic accelerated that trend. The pandemic influenced the desire to cook more at home.

Grilling is an incredible way to experience food. If you’re new to grilling, it can be intimidating. It can also get frustrating when your creations don’t match up with Bobby Flay.

You need some grilling tips to impress at your next gathering. Whether you’re a beginner or veteran on the grill, you always have something new to learn.

Get ready to fire up the grill with these top grilling tips for beginners.

1. Choose Your Grill

The secret to grilling starts with the type of grill you have. There are pellet grills, smokers, gas, and charcoal grills out there.

Some people swear by wood or charcoal grills because they give the food the best flavor. Others love the ease of use of gas grills.

Pellet grills have a combination of both and they retain heat longer.

 A company called Barebones Grilling has their unique grill, which is an all-in-one cast iron grill. You get the benefits of both grilling and cast iron cooking.

2. Get Your Grilling Tools

If you’re learning to grill, you know that you need some grilling tools. The most essential ones are tongs, spatula, apron, grill scraper, and a meat thermometer.

You can get as fancy or basic as you wish. You can get a thermometer that connects to your phone over Wi-Fi and tells you when your meat is done.

Charcoal grills need a chimney starter to speed up lighting the grill. You can get a smoker box and wood chips to add flavors to your meats. 

3. Open or Closed Lid?

Learning how to grill means that you know when it’s time to open the lid and close the lid. It all depends on what you’re cooking.

If you’re grilling meat more than half an inch thick, close the lid. This keeps hot air in the grill. It circulates and cooks the food.

You have to be careful not to keep the lid closed for too long. You can easily dry out food that way.

4. Let the Grill Heat Up

Beginner grillers tend to light the grill, throw food on, and wait. And they wait some more.

That’s because they put food on a cold grill. They wonder why they don’t have those nice sear marks that come from grilling.

A good guideline is to let the grill heat up for about 15 minutes. If you want to cook over high heat, the temperature should be at 450 degrees. 

5. Direct and Indirect Heat

What’s the difference between direct and indirect heat? These are the two main grilling methods.

Direct heat is when you place food right over the fire. It cooks quickly, but it can also burn the outside of food.

Indirect heat means you place the food to the side of the fire. It cooks more slowly, but the outside doesn’t get burned.

Boneless meat and thin steaks can cook well over direct heat. Once you’re dealing with ribs and chicken with the bone in, indirect heat is the better choice.

Grillers like to use a combination of direct and indirect heat. They’ll use direct heat to sear the meat and get those nice grill marks.

They’ll move the meat to indirect heat to let it cook thoroughly. This is where the grilling experience comes into play. You’ll need to experiment on your own for the method that works best for you.

6. Take Grilling Maintenance Seriously

Learning to grill is all fun and games until you have to clean up. Grilling maintenance is a critical part of owning a grill.

It’s also part of grilling safety.

Be sure to clean the grill grates with a wire grill brush before and after each use. Check the propane lines on gas grills for leaks once a month.

Be sure to clean the ashes from charcoal grills. Cover your grill when it’s not in use to prevent rust.

Read your grill’s manual for maintenance tips and follow the instructions. 

7. Be Patient and Let Meat Rest

When you learn how to grill, you’re so excited that you want to dig in and eat as soon as you bring food right from the grill.

Grilling requires a level of patience.

Yes, you’re hungry, but you need to let the meat rest. Believe it or not, your meat is still cooking when you take it off the grill.

The temperature increases a few degrees off the grill. Put a foil tent over it and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

The juices will even out and you’ll be left with a tasty piece of meat.

8. Experiment With Different Types of Food

Do you just have to grill steak, chicken, and ribs? Absolutely not!

The beauty of grilling is that you can cook almost anything over a fire. Experiment with different types of seafood, such as calamari and octopus.

Grilling fruit adds a new flavor and texture to your favorite foods.

Don’t be afraid to try different types of food on the grill.

9. Keep an Eye on Flare-Ups

There are more than 10,000 home grill fires a year. These fires cause injuries and property damage.

There are times when the grill flares up because fat drips down and reacts with high heat. While it looks cool from a distance, it’s a dangerous situation.

Cut down on flare-ups by trimming the fat from meat before grilling and using a grill mat. One of the top grilling tips is to keep a fire extinguisher nearby just in case.

The Best Grilling Tips for Great Food

You don’t have to be an expert over the grill to cook incredible meals. You do need to have the basics down. The grilling tips in this article showed you what to know to get going.

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