Grilling 101: A Guide to the Perfect BBQ

Summer is nearly here, and nothing beckons the hottest 93 days of the year like summer barbecue. Here are some quick basics to help you pick the best grill for your food, as well as some handy tips on making your food perfect for any outdoor gathering.

 

Choosing the Best Grill for BBQ

It's a decision that everyone must face when thinking of grilling their food: which type of grill should I use? There are several options, all of which have their own list of benefits for cooking your favorite summer foods. Let's explore some and figure out which one works best for you!

 

Charcoal Grills

Charcoal grills offer that signature smoky flavor that people across America have come to love. Some say it’s not real barbecue unless it’s cooked on a charcoal grill, though you can get great flavor with any grill. Here are some of the pros and cons of using a charcoal grill.

 

Pros:

Flavor

Charcoal grills offer a through and through smoky flavor. While some inject smoky flavor into their meat, a charcoal grill infuses a rich flavor into anything you place on it.

 

Portability

Barbecuing in the park? On a boat? In the backyard? No problem! Charcoal barbecues do not need to be hooked up to a power source since the charcoal can sustain heat for extended periods of time. Because of this convenience, you can bring a charcoal grill virtually anywhere it’s safe to barbecue.

 

Cons:

Instability

Charcoal grills don't exactly have temperature knobs to control their heat. A charcoal grill’s heat must be controlled with air vents throughout the grill. Though some summer cooks have it down to a science, others don’t, and uncontrolled heat or hot spots on the grill may cause your food to scorch.

 

Clean Up

When charcoal has emitted all of its heat, it leaves behind a pile of ashes that are not always the easiest to clean up, especially on a windy day.

Have you decided that a charcoal grill is your best choice? Check out this easy charcoal grill buying guide!

 

 

Electric Grills

Electric grills make excellent indoor and outdoor grills and offer a convenient option for those who may not want all the prep of a traditional charcoal grill.

 

Pros:

Versatility

Electric grills can be used outdoors for fast and easy grill options, but when those tropical storms hit, forcing you inside, you can still turn on the grill and enjoy some great food.

 

Control

Having a constant electric heat source allows you to cook your food evenly and thoroughly while accurately controlling the temperature. Some grills even have different zones so you can control the temperature among the different sections of the grill. You can cook your ribs on one side on low for tenderness, and your hot links on high for those perfect grill lines.

 

Cons:

Flavor

Since electric grills do not use flames, food cooked on these types of grills tend to lack that smoky barbecue flavor. However, you can always inject your meat with smoke flavoring to substitute for it not being cooked over an open flame.

 

Portability

Gas grills need an electric power source, limiting where they can be used. Though they may be great for indoor grilling, or a fast backyard option, they are not always suitable for parks or campsites where electricity may not be readily available.

 

Here’s a list of everything you need to know before buying an electric grill.

 

Gas Grills

Gas grills sit as a happy medium between charcoal and electric grills. They are both versatile and practical, offering the best of both worlds in terms of flavor and convenience.

 

Pros:

Easy to Use

Gas grills can either be hooked to a fixed gas line from the house or attached to a replaceable propane gas tank. This means you can set up a grill anywhere in the backyard! Furthermore, there’s virtually no prep time involved. Just turn the knobs and press the “ignite” button!

 
Control

Gas grills take only minutes to heat. Once they’re lit, you can easily control the temperature. Many gas grills have multiple burners, which allow you to control the heat in different zones of the grill, allowing further versatility when cooking.

 
Flavor

Cooking over an open flame provides a smoky flavor, and for those who wish to intensify it, wood chip boxes can be added to take the flavor to the next level!

 

Cons:

There are really no cons when it comes to gas and propane grills. They come in all shapes and sizes and are extremely versatile to cook food how you want it. They really are the best of both worlds, adding convenience to any barbecue situation while lessening prep and cleanup time. For those who do not wish to constantly replace or refill propane, a fixed gas line will provide an unlimited gas supply. For those who may want to go to the park and barbecue, portable gas grills are small, cheap and easy to find.

 

Made up your mind on a gas grill? Here's a complete buying guide!

 

Top BBQ Cooking Tips

Once you’ve chosen the best grill option for your needs, follow these simple tips to cook meat to perfection every time! Make sure you have your barbecue checklist before you start!

 

Top BBQ Cooking Tips

  • BBQ Cooking Tip #1: Oil the grill before you put your meat on it. You can apply the oil with a paper towel or brush, using tongs to flip meat to prevent things from sticking.
  • BBQ Cooking Tip #2: Try to flip meat only once and do so halfway through grilling.

  • BBQ Cooking Tip #3: Never grill frozen meat. This can prevent meat from cooking thoroughly and seasonings from penetrating the entirety of the food.
  • BBQ Cooking Tip #4: Do not press down on meat with a spatula while grilling. This only squeezes the essential juices out of the meat, resulting in dry, jerky-like meat, rather than juicy, tender meat.

See our top BBQ Cooking Tip pin for more information on cooking times.

 

Now that you’ve conquered your summer barbecue battles, are you struggling to gather ideas on how to entertain your guests at your next summer gathering? Not a problem! We’ve got you covered for that too – check out our five inspiring ideas for your next gathering outside.

 

Backyard need some help? We have complete guides to repairing your brick and concrete before company comes so your house can be in tip top shape before your next event!

 

 

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Published 6.5.19

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