It’s the season of charred meat. For too long you’ve been cooped up cooking in a kitchen; it’s time to get out. That means it’s time to dust off the grill. But before you go throw some patties on, consider trying one or more of these grilling hacks. Each will help elevate your BBQ game this summer.
Use Your Thumb to Check How Your Steak’s Cooked
This is an old trick, and for those who aren’t steak savvy, it’s great. If you don’t have a meat thermometer nearby, and can’t tell if a cut is rare, medium, or well-done, just use your hand. If you touch the large base of your thumb while your hand is relaxed, that should feel the same as a raw steak. If you put your thumb and index finger together, it should feel like a rare steak; thumb to middle finger should feel medium rare; thumb to ring finger should be medium; and thumb to pinky should feel well-done. Link
Clean Your Grill with Aluminum Foil
Everyone knows the time to clean the grill is when the grates are still warm. What do you do if you don’t have a grill brush around, however? Try using aluminum foil. Make a ball out of it, grab it with a pair of tongs, and start cleaning.
Turn Your Grill Into a Smoker
No smoker? No problem. Start by soaking your wood chips and placing a pan of water in your grill. For indirect heat, you’ll want your flames going on one side, so move the briskets over if you’re using a charcoal grill, or just light one side on a gas grill. If you’re using charcoal, you can dump the chips right on top; if you’re using gas, either put the chips in a pan or wrap them in foil and poke holes. All of a sudden, you’ve got a smoker.
Check Your Propane Level with Hot Water
Nothing kills a party like running out of gas for the grill. Luckily, even if you don’t have a scale, you can get a good idea of how much propane’s left with this trick. Simply pour some hot water down the side of your tank. Where there’s propane, it will feel cold; where it’s empty, it will feel warm.
Cook Fish on Lemons to Keep It from Sticking to the Grill
Anyone who’s thrown some salmon on the grill knows it can leave half of itself behind when you pull it off. No amount of oil seems to truly help. Instead, make a bed of lemons and toss the fish on top. Not only will it take on some of that bright lemon flavor, but you’ll get to enjoy all the fish you intended to eat.
Cook Juicier Burgers with Ice
You may already put a dimple in your burger to keep it from rising while it cooks. Go one step further by placing some ice chips in that indentation. Better than ice, try pat of butter. The ice or butter will keep your patty from drying out while you cook it.
Brine Fish to Keep It from Falling Apart
Fish is a challenge on the grill. Bryan Voltaggio, of Top Chef fame, can help with a little trick. He does a clever quick brine to keep your meal from falling apart. Just mix 1 tablespoon of salt with 4 cups of water, and let the fish sit in the mixture for 10 minutes. When you’re done, pat it dry, and toss it on the grill.
Grill Food Before Anyone Arrives
At some point in a BBQ, guests begin to hover around the grill, salivating, with beers in hand. This is when the pressure mounts, and you rush to get all the burgers or steaks done. Why not just start earlier? Grill meats up to four hours before you want to serve them to just under where you want them. So if guests all want their burgers medium, take the patties off the grill at medium rare, let them sit at room temperature, and toss them on to finish them off when everyone is ready to eat.