Many people don't realize that grilling is an art form with many nuances, a great way to enjoy al fresco dining and eat healthily. With some tips to get you started grilling, the Grilling 101 series continues with the Basics of Using Your Grill. When you know how to use your grill correctly, grilling offers:

  • Great taste – The grill imparts smoky flavor with juicy tenderness in beautifully perfectly cooked meat.
  • Great texture – The grill can sear over high heat or roast slowly to get the perfect consistency for the type of food.
Grilling 101: The Basics of Using Your Grill
  • Robust flavor – The grill is a lovely way to get the most taste out of seasonal produce, such as tomatoes in summer and apples in fall.
  • Rewarding experiences - Grilled food tastes best when eaten outside on a warm day with friends and family.

This article will share some essential tips and guidelines to get you acquainted with using your grill. With some practice and the Grilling 101 series, you'll be dishing out terrific grilled recipes throughout the year!

The Basics Knowing Your Grill

A grill is a heat source that cooks the food being placed on it. Grilling is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and can be healthier than other cooking methods. The surface of the food will get crispy, adding more flavor to your meal. Grills typically come in two styles: gas or charcoal.

Grilling 101: The Basics of Using Your Grill

Gas grills are stove-like appliances that use natural gas or propane to heat your grill instead of charcoal. These types of grills are usually safer and easier to maintain but cost more in upfront costs. Grills with gas burners also take less time to start heating up so you can get cooking sooner.

Charcoal grills don't require electricity or hook-ups but use charcoal briquettes for fuel. Charcoal grills require more maintenance, are cheaper, and will take longer to get up to temperature. Once you light the coals, you have a limited time to grill before needing to add more briquettes.

The Tools Needed for Grilling

Having the right tools for grilling is a necessity for getting it right and staying safe. Since the grill uses high heat, it is vital to have everything you need ready, so you're not left searching at a critical time.

Grilling 101: The Basics of Using Your Grill

A toolset for grilling typically includes a spatula, tongs, basting brushes, and an oven mitt. Many grills are equipped with a built-in thermometer to help track the cooking temperature under the hood. Keeping an instant-read thermometer is also helpful for inserting into your food and making sure it has reached the minimum safe cooking temperature.

To keep your grill station clean, have some paper towels to wipe your hands or splattering that may happen. A built-in sink in your outdoor island is an indispensable tool for staying sanitary and clean. Additionally, always have a dish or tray ready for your finished food to remove it promptly before overcooking.

Always Grill on Clean Grates

Grilling 101: The Basics of Using Your Grill

The grilling grates take the most abuse because they are always between your food and the heat. It is vital to begin every grill session with clean grates to ensure food is not contaminated by particles, dust, old grease, or debris from the last use. Clean grates will also minimize your food sticking and tearing when moved.

Keeping your grill gates clean is one of the most manageable steps to maximizing the longevity of your grill. For more tips on gas grill maintenance, read our article on “How To Maintain Your Gas Grill – An Easy Care Guide.”

Let the Heat Do the Work

Another important tip is to let the heat do the work for you. Simply put, when you have the right temperature for your food, leave it and don't mess with it. It is tempting to continue to poke and prod the food, particularly with thicker meats, but you may be hindering the cooking process and causing tasty juices to run out of the food. Patience is key to successful grilling, letting the grill sear and roast, keeping the juices and flavor inside.

Grilling 101: The Basics of Using Your Grill

It's also important to know your grill's cooking temperature and keep it steady and appropriate for the type of food you're cooking. Heat escapes whenever you open the hood, slowing down the cooking process, especially when using indirect heat for more oversized items. Check out "Grilling 101- What is Direct and Indirect Heat" for more information about using direct and indirect heat for grilling.

Let Your Food Rest

Grilling is great for the exterior texture and appearance with a moist interior. When we think of fresh, hot barbecue, we want it right from the grill every time. However, it is vital to let that drumstick, pork chop, or steak rest for at least five minutes before partaking or slicing. The resting process allows the juices to distribute back into the meat rather than simply running out on the cutting board or dripping on your deck. Most experts advise letting food rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing it, especially whole birds or roasts. Whatever your preference, you will definitely notice a difference in taste and juiciness.

Grilling 101: The Basics of Using Your Grill

Clean it Again

After every grilling session, while the grill is still warm, wipe the grill grates clean with a wire brush. The quickest and easiest way to clean the grill, the wire brush will eliminate any remaining debris or food pieces stuck to the grill.

It's always important to make sure your grill is clean and ready to use before you start cooking on it so that you don't accidentally transfer burnt foods or flavors from your last session onto the food from now. Grills can become a less effective cooking tool if they're not properly maintained. Cleaning your grill is an easy step, but one that's important nonetheless!

Read "How To Clean Your Stainless Steel Gas Grill" for how to properly care for and protect your investment.

Continue Exploring Grilling Basics with Grilling 101

Grilling can be a fun and delicious way to enjoy al fresco dining. Grills are exciting and thrilling with different sizes, options, fuels, and tools, producing the best-tasting meals right from your backyard. Check out the Grilling 101 series for more tips and techniques to get you started in this vast and beautiful world of flame and meat.

If you're looking for a new grill, American Made Grills provides the definitive grilling experience with luxury performance and hybrid grill technology. Get started by configuring your new grill today!

August 09, 2021 — Jason Klein