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Summer has arrived and it is time for some barbequing outside while having fun in the sun. You may be at the beach, pool, or somewhere else and often there is a charcoal grill nearby that you can grill up some fresh veggies, hot dogs, and hamburgers.
My favorite grill & smoker after using so many would the Trager Lil Tex and the Weber Genesis. The green egg comes close but for the price, I can do so much more with the Trager. I love Weber because they last a long time and there are always parts available for them. You also have lifetime support from Weber so if you are grill challenged like me sometimes they will help you over the phone.
Here are so tips and tricks to have wonderful tasting meat and vegetables from the grill or smoker.
Favorite Grill: Weber Genesis II
Favorite Smoker: Trager Lil Tex Elite 22
BBQ Tips & Tricks:
- Start the grill or smoker with the lid open as there will be propane gas accumulating under the lid if left close before you ignite it.
- Preheat the grill or smoker with the lid closed and till it gets to temperature before adding food. (approximately 10 minutes) This gets the grates hot enough to sear the food, as well as, speeds up the cooking time.
- Keep the grill/smoker clean. Do this constantly before or after grilling/smoking as when it is hot it is often easier to use a stainless steel brush to clean the grates.
- Oil the Food, Not the Grate. Lightly brushing or spraying the food with oil works better than brushing the grate. This will prevent the sticking of the food to the grates as well as the food to retain moisture.
- Monitor your time and temperature to avoid overcooking. Use a timer to prevent being distracted and overcooking. If you are grilling in a colder climate or higher altitude, the cooking time will be longer.
- Know When to use Direct vs Indirect heat:
- Indirect heat (when the fire is on either side of the food) is best for larger, tougher cuts of meat that require more than 20 minutes of cooking.
- Direct heat (when the fire is directly below the food) is best for relatively small, tender pieces of food that cook in 20 minutes or less.
- Maintaining Temperatures
- The dampers on the top and bottom of the grill control the airflow inside the grill. The more air flowing into the grill, the hotter the fire will grow and the more frequently you will have to replenish it. To slow the rate of your fuel-burning, close the top vent as much as halfway and keep the lid on as much as possible. The bottom vent should be left open whenever you are grilling so you don’t kill your fire.
- Under normal circumstances, a typical charcoal briquette fire will lose about 100˚F of heat over 40 to 60 minutes. A typical lump charcoal fire will lose heat even faster.
- Gas grills have individual control knobs so that you can easily regulate the heat and create different grilling zones easily. You can easily maintain heat levels as low as 200˚F to over 550˚F easily and shift from direct to indirect in minutes.
- Tame the Flame.
- Too many flare-ups can burn your food. Keep the lid on as much as possible as this minimizes any flare-ups.
- If the flames are getting out of control, move the food over indirect heat temporarily, until they die down. Then move the food back.
- Caramelization is one of the reasons for the popularity of grilled food is due to the seared taste. To develop this taste, use the right level of heat and resist the temptation to turn food often. Your patience will allow for caramelization or browning. That creates literally hundreds of flavors and aromas.
- Do NOT use Lighter Fluid. It’s a liquid chemical that can cause harm to you or others in the area.
Best tips for Grilling Vegetables:
- Before grilling corn or smoking it place the corn in sugar water for 24hrs. This makes the corn have a slight sweetness that makes them irresistible.
- Zucchini or squash grilled or smoked is amazing. You can cut it in different ways for examples like chips or pickle spears before brushing oil on with a little salt and paper. Then you are all set to grill or smoke. I like to smoke them with apple or cherry wood pellets. This gives them a nice touch of additional flavor. Check out Grilling Ideas to Make Happy Wife & Cool Life and get some other great ideas for your next BBQ.
- Grilled Pineapple has a caramelized outside with a warm pineapple taste inside. It goes good on top of a burger or pork chops perfectly.
- Grilled Chimichurri Cauliflower Steak – One of the most versatile recipes ever! Spice up your veggies with Chimichurri.
- Quick and easy Tuscan tortellini pasta salad – it is mouthwatering with fresh herbs, garden tomatoes and a flavor-filled dressing that will wow your guests.
Other Side Dishes for BBQ:
Other options for side dishes not previously stated would be watermelon, my grandmother’s famous cucumber salad, or others listed below.
The Old Summers Home presents the Ultimate Homemade Caesar Salad. The Best recipe of all time! In this Cooking with Jenn post, you will learn some tips and tricks to creating your perfect salad. From croutons to bacon bits to dressing they have it all in easy to follow instructions!
Drink Pairing and DIY Serving Tray:
Nothing goes better then a nice glass of Lemonade with your BBQ and you can make a beautiful DIY Serving Tray with contact paper.