Gas Grilling: Beginning steps
So, you’ve weighed your options and decided that a gas grill is the perfect idea for your busy life? Fire that gas grill up, because we’re here to help you achieve grilling perfection with these simple tips.
First, you’ll want to make sure that you start with a clean grill and plenty of propane. Cooking on a dirty grill increases your risk for flare-ups and can change the taste of your food.
Plus, clean grills leave those great grill marks we all love to see!
The easiest way to clean your gas grill between uses is to scrub with a wire brush when the grill is hot. You can either do this after each use or before you start cooking. Once or twice a year, you should also take your grill apart to remove all the dirt, grease, and stuck-on food.
Make sure you have plenty of propane before you start cooking, so you don’t run out of fuel halfway through cooking.
Leave a portion of your grill empty, so you can move the food in case of a flare-up. You can simply move the food away from the flames and onto the empty portion of the grill. The flare-up should die down on its own if you leave the lid open and let it burn out.
If the fire spreads, you’ll need to remove the food from the grill, turn off the gas at both the burners and at the tank, and let it die.
It’s important to note that all grilled food will not cook at the same temperature. Your grill knobs all go to high, but all food should not be cooked on high. Here are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind:
- Thin cuts of meat, like burgers, pork, lamb, and beef, should be cooked hot and fast to avoid drying them out.
- Fish, chicken, vegetables, and other delicate items should cook at medium.
- Larger, thicker, denser cuts of meat, such as whole chickens, will cook at lower temperatures.
- If you are grilling with rubs, marinades or sauces, remember that sugar burns at 265 degrees F. Your grill temperature will need to be below 265 when using sauces, marinades, or rubs that contain sugar. If the grill temperature rises above 265 while cooking, the outside of your meat will scorch and blacken.
You should also have a meat thermometer. It’s a bad idea to cut into meat on the grill to determine whether it’s done, since it will dry out the meat. You can find a valuable meat temperature chart here.
Remember that cooking at lower temps will take longer, but the meat will be juicier and more flavorful when cooked at the right temperature.
While you are grilling, make sure you stay at the grill to keep an eye on your food. This is especially important when cooking foods hot and fast, such as burgers, hot dogs, or steaks. Keep everything you will need close to the grill, so you don’t need to step away during cooking.
Practice safe food handling procedures by washing your hands, cooking to safe temperatures (especially ground beef), and keeping your food prep and cooking areas clean and sanitized.
If you are grilling more than one type of meat (beef and poultry, for example) or grilling vegetables along with meat, keep the prep areas for each item separate. This will help you avoid cross-contamination and reduce the risk of food-borne illness.
Remember, successful grilling is more of an art than a science. Have fun, be safe, and don’t forget to leave us your tips, recipes, and pictures in the comments!