Nothing says welcome to summer like gathering around the grill with family and friends while enjoying a backyard cookout. From succulent steaks to tender veggies, your grill can whip up an array of delicious possibilities.
If you’re new to grilling, you may be hesitant to start. Who wants to ruin an expensive cut of meat by undercooking or overcooking it? In our grilling for beginners guide, we’ll cover how to start a grill, how to grill your favorite meats, and provide surprising and fun ideas as to what to grill. Plus, don’t forget that Chomps makes a perfect companion to grill-out meals.
Grill Operations for Different Grills
Before firing up your grill, you’ll want to give it a good cleaning. Over time, your grill is bound to collect the burned fat, grease, and residue from various sauces and meats.
If your grill has non-coated grates like steel or cast iron, you can use a sturdy steel brush to remove any grimy residue.
For non-stick coated grates like porcelain, you can use a nylon-bristled brush to avoid scratching. Some grills will come with a cleaning brush designed specifically for your grill, in which case, you can simply use that.
Once your grill is cleaned, it’s ready to be fired up! If your grill grates are not coated, you may want to pre-season them with a thin layer of a high-temp cooking oil like avocado or canola oil.
Before turning up the heat, you’ll want to consult your grill’s manual to ensure you’re starting your grill properly. However, you’ll find the basics of starting various grills below.
Starting a gas grill: To start a gas grill, you’ll need to turn one of the knobs to high and then press and hold the ignitor button. You should hear a clicking followed by the ‘whoosh’ of the gas igniting. After you hear the gas igniting, or see a flame, you can release the ignitor button.
Starting a charcoal grill: Charcoal grilling for beginners starts with the kind of coal you’re using. For example, if you’re using coals that are marked as “match light”, you’ll be able to simply light them with a match.
However, if you don’t have “match light” coals, you’ll need to add lighter fluid to your coals before lighting them with a match. Once your coals have light gray ash to them, you’ll be ready to cook.
BBQ 101: How to Cook Meat on a Grill
Before tossing meat onto your grill, you’ll want to prepare it first. This is a simple, yet important step to ensure your meat is flavored to suit your taste and is cooked to perfection.
You’ll begin by patting your meat dry, and seasoning with salt and pepper, or another seasoning that you enjoy. Next, you’ll want to lightly coat your meat in a small amount of oil. It’s important to note that if you use too much oil, you can cause flare-ups which can burn and carbonize your meat, creating an unpleasant taste and texture.
The last step in cooking your meat is to lay it down on the grill and keep it there until grill lines, or caramelization appears on the surface.
Your meat will need to be flipped over but try using a spatula rather than a fork. Using a fork can puncture your meat and cause the release of important juices.
Moving Food Around to Avoid Burning
Before cooking your food, you’ll want to be prepared by having tongs, a spatula, and enough charcoal or gas for your grill.
To avoid burning, ideally, you’ll want to set up heat zones on your grill. For example, one portion of your grill should have a high amount of heat for searing meats and veggies, while another section should provide low to medium heat for thorough cooking.
Grilling times will vary based on the type and cut of meat so it’s important to read the instruction manual for your specific grill to get it just right.
If your meat is seared on the outside but not yet cooked thoroughly in the middle, try moving it to a different place on your grill with a lower temperature.
Additionally, any excess oil, sauces, or marinades can cause your grill to flare up which can create burning. Therefore, it’s best to minimize the oil and marinades you brush onto your food before grilling it.
Grilling Temperature Guide
It’s wise to invest in a meat thermometer, as this is the only reliable way to measure the internal temperature of your meat.
When using a meat thermometer, you’ll want to insert it into the thickest part of your meat, avoiding any contact with bones.
Thermometer readings should be:
- Rare: 125 °F
- Medium rare: 130 °F to 135 °F
- Medium: 140 °F to 145 °F
- Medium well: 145 °F to 150 °F
- Well done: 155+ °F
Cooking times and temperatures may vary depending on the type of meat you’re grilling, and the type of grill you’re using. It’s best to refer to your grill’s instruction manual for more specific grilling guidelines.
Think you can only grill up hamburgers, hotdogs, and steaks? Think again. Dive into our BBQ Guide for some mouth-watering and surprising recipes that will be perfect for your next cookout.
And don’t forget that Chomps Meat Snacks are the perfect grilling companion. Not only are they grass-fed, but they are gluten-free and ready to eat, making them a simple, easy, and delicious appetizer for your next backyard gathering.