BBQ is one of the most enjoyable pastimes. It can be done in the summer with friends in your yard, during the fall for a nice Thanksgiving feast, and if you are brave enough, during the winter to enjoy some fine meats and veggies grilled to perfection.
Becoming good at BBQing is much like any form of cooking, it is simple when you break it down, but it takes a lot of time and patience to learn the ins and outs. If you ever wanted to learn to BBQ like the pros and hone your grill skills, check out some of these easy tips and tricks to remember.
Experimentation is a Key Part of Cooking
Any good BBQ pitmaster is going to tell you that grilling is all about going with what works and an equally healthy dose of experimentation. Going the tried and true route is important, but you want to have fun with it too. Getting inspiration at The OnlineGrill is one step, but you can always toy around with well-crafted recipes to add some personal flair. Something as small as adding a different spice to your rib rub could dramatically change the flavor profile, for the better or for worse, but if you mess up you learned a valuable lesson on why it is important to take chances.
Use the Proper Tools
A great BBQ-er can make do with very basic tools. A flat surface and a fire can be turned into a cooking station if you know what you are doing, but it always helps to have the proper set of equipment to make your BBQ recipes really pop. Good gloves for handling the meats is important, as are a solid set of tongs, spice shakers, temperature gauges or thermometers to ensure you have the perfectly grilled meats, and of course, the right barbecue or smoker, which is the most important tool of them all for BBQing like a pro. These tools are not always necessary, but they do show you how important cooking accessories are for completing a recipe well.
Always Clean Your Grill
Before you start grilling something new, you want to thoroughly clean the grill surface. Excess charred meats and fats congeal to the metal and can impact the flavor profile of your next cooking attempt. When you clean it, you want to use a wood scraper as it will not leave behind metal shavings or anything harmful for food to come in contact with Wood scrapers leave remnants that are more natural and will bur up with they come in contact with the flames of your barbecue so you do not have to worry about them. After you clean it, make sure you do it once over just to be sure that are keeping it from building up gunk.
Utilize Heat Zones Properly
You do not want to crank up the heat, then start chucking your food onto the grill. This will cause it all to cook at an even temperature and most likely burn it. Heat zones are specific areas where you want to control the heat well. If you are cooking something like veggies you want it significantly lower than for thicker, fattier meats. Similarly, you want to create a space where you can let your foods cool or simmer with no heat or very low and indirect heat. Each zone is important for allowing your food to come off the grill at the same time, but cook them at their respective temperatures instead of just searing everything at once.
Be Prep Ready
Preparation is key for everything, but most importantly, it is key for a good time BBQing. You may have marinated your meat the night before which is advised, but you should set up a prep station with everything you need in close proximity. This allows you to remain by the grill to monitor the flames and keep things safe, and it keeps you from running back and forth when you forget something. The wasted time going back and forth from the grill to the kitchen is cooking time wasted. Set up a small table or use the side stands of your barbecue to keep your needed tools, spices, ingredients, and anything else on hand.
As you can see, BBQing like a pro does not require a ton of steps, it just means knowing which ones to follow well. Cooking, and grilling as an extension is an artform so it needs to be treated with respect. When you follow the rules well, have patience, and learn when to experiment on your own, you can see the benefits unfold before your eyes.