The Basics of BBQ Grilling – From Start to Finish


If you are looking to grill your way to greatness, you need to know the basics. Here, all in one nutshell, is everything you need to know about grilling…from choosing which wood chips to use, to knowing the best ways of basting your food.

What sets grilled food apart from every other kind of cooking is the deep, seared flavors and wonderful aroma you create in the grilling process. When food is placed directly over a hot cooking grate, it develops multiple layers of great tastes and beautiful grill marks. Juices drip through the grate and into the heat source of the grill, adding an irresistible aroma to the food. Grilling over direct heat allows you to caramelize the sauces on the surface of the food.

If you are considering using a commercial barbecue sauce, keep in mind that most of these sauces contain sugar or other sweetener, which will have a tendency to burn over the intense heat of a grill. It is best to wait about fifteen minutes or less before the food is done before adding barbecue sauce. It will then turn into a sweet and delicious glaze, instead of a charred and bitter coating.

You can give your grilled foods a bolder smokiness by using wood chips or wood chunks. Soak them in water for at least thirty minutes, and then add them to the grill. Some gas grills come with smoker boxes that sit between the cooking burners. These get so hot that the wood will smolder instead of just burn up.

When using a charcoal grill, all you have to do is drop the wood over the hot coals. A good technique is to use wood chunks or chips in combination with indirect heat. In other words, the food sits in the middle of the cooking grate, while the heat is either side of the food. This allows you to cook larger cuts of meat very slowly, giving the smoke time to penetrate the meat.

Here are 10 tips to great grilling success:

1. Always buy the best meats. A poor cut of meat can never be saved by  even the best grilling techniques.

2. Be as organized as possible. Always have your food, sauces and equipment by the bbq grill when you are ready to start cooking.

3. Allow your meats to sit at room temperature for about thirty minutes before grilling.

4. Try experimenting with different kinds of woods for different kinds  of tastes.

5. Always make sure you have enough fuel or charcoal before starting.

6. Use a chimney starter to start charcoal fires. If you choose to use charcoal lighter fluid, allow the fluid to soak into the coals for about 10 minutes before starting the fire. This allows the coals to start slowly and burn off the bitter fluid.

7. Cut down on flareups and burned meat by keeping a clean spray bottle filled with water handy. When flames start to rise, spray a little water on them to keep them down. Try using apple juice instead of water to add some extra flavor.

8. Never stab your meat with a fork or knife after the grilling starts. The juices will flow right out of the meat. Use tongs to turn the meat.

9. When using indirect heat methods, keep the BBQ grill covered most of the time. Opening the grill will cause you to lose heat rapidly.

10. After cooking, let the meat rest for a few minutes. The juices will redistribute through the meat, and not run out onto the plate.

Over time, these barbecue techniques will will become second-nature to you. You will be organized, efficient, and cooking great BBQ grill foods for years to come. The only thing that will change from each grilling experience will be the food.