Grilling 101: Top Questions Answered!
If you’re anything like us, you’re already busting out the charcoal and grilling ALL the things. Whether you are grilling up ribs, veggies or a whole lot of burgers and hot dogs, there’s nothing better than the smell of burning coals and smoke. We get all sorts of grilling questions every year, from gas or charcoal preference to how to clean the grill. So this year we’re going to be covering a ton of grilling recipes, techniques and tips and tricks throughout the summer! To kick things off, we’ve rounded up our most-asked grilling questions. Before you fire up those grills again, get to know your stuff!
What’s better gas or charcoal? This is the ultimate grill question we get! There are a few factors that come into play to help you decide. First, price. Gas is more complicated and will cost more because of all the moving pieces inside the grill. Charcoal is a simpler grill so it will always be substantially cheaper. Second deciding factor? Taste. Gas burns clean so you’ll get the char marks, but you won’t get any special flavor in your food like using charcoal will get ya. Of course, gas grills will get to temperature faster and charcoal grills tend to take a long time to get hot. Gas grills are also a lot easier to clean up since charcoal grill cleaning can send ashes scattering all over the place. That’s a lot of back and forth, you guys. Yea, we know. If you want our honest opinion, charcoal always wins out when it comes down to it. You get better flavor, better heat management and you aren’t forking over as much money. When in doubt, go with the coal. Do I need to preheat my grill? YES. You need to preheat your grill whether you are using a gas or charcoal grill. A good rule of thumb is about 15 minutes for high temperatures (i.e. for searing) or 10 minutes for lower temperatures (i.e. for fish and such). Getting that preheat done before you start grilling the food will also help remove some of the residue left on the grill from past cooking.
How do I season my new grill? Oooohhhh look at you with your new killer grill! You are probably itching to get to grilling, but you have to season that baby first. No one wants the new grill residue on their food, trust us. Start with a cold grill and rub all the cooking surfaces down with canola oil. Wipe off any excess oil with a paper towel and light the grill. Let the grill heat up for about 15 minutes, or until the oil starts burning off and smoking. At this point the shiny finish that came with the grill should be turning dark brown or bronze. Turn off the grill and once coal, add a light coat of oil. To keep your grill in tip top shape, repeat this last light oil application step after each time you grill. Why you should never ever use lighter fluid...ever It’s all about the taste and smell. If you use lighter fluid, you’re going to get all those chemicals on your food. It’s really pointless to use lighter fluid when you can use a chimney starter so easily. Plus no one wants to smell like lighter fluid all day. Yuck.
How do I deal with flare-ups? First, get that food off the grill so it doesn’t get charred to oblivion. Then cover it up and wait it out. Flare ups survive off of the oxygen in the air so if you can smother it with the lid of the grill, do that. No matter what you do, DON’T squirt a water bottle on a flare up. It will get an ashy mess everywhere and it doesn’t actually subdue the flare. Be sure to keep an extinguisher nearby though… Just in case. Keep checking the blog for new Grilling 101 features throughout the summer. Your grill master status depends on it.
Don’t forget to check out our featured grilled recipes!
Recipes & recipes photos by Meghan Bassett