We all have our favorite tricks and go-to recipes when it's time to grill. Here's a few BBQ hacks that will help you further level up your Grill Game.
Temper Your Meat
Tempering meat refers to letting the internal temperature rise before cooking. You may have heard the benefit of letting a steak get up to room temperature, but you would be surprised just how long that takes. You can let steak sit on the counter until the internal temp reads roughly 75 degrees, or you can speed up that process by submerging a steak in a ziplock bag in lukewarm water, or even put it in the oven at the lowest setting.
While this is an extra step that takes additional time, the result is meat that's cooked more evenly throughout. Rather than a steak that goes from medium well - to medium - to medium rare as you get closer to the center of the cut, you'll have a steak that's cooked medium rare (or to your liking) throughout the entire piece.
Caveats here are that there's little benefit to tempering thin cuts. Additionally bacteria can grow while steak sits out unrefrigerated and uncooked. Be sure not to let steaks sit too long. Experiment to see what time and method works best for you.
Cook Fish Over Citrus Slices
Cooking your fish on a bed of citrus has two great benefits. First, it eliminates the fish from sticking to the grill grate. Second, it imparts some of that flavor to your food. Orange, lemon, and lime are all great options depending on what best compliments your meal.
Using Butter Slices (or Ice) to Keep Burgers Juicy
Don't risk your burgers drying out while you get them up to temp. Make a small indentation and add a slice of cold butter directly on top of each patty (an ice cube works as a healthier option). The butter or water will melt into the patty to keep things moist. Simple and effective!
Clean with Foil, Onion, Potato, or Citrus
Forgot your scrubber or brush? No worries, here are things you'll likely have around that can effectively clean your grate.
- Foil can be crumpled up and used with tongs, effective, but it can sometimes feel like nails on a chalkboard.
- Cut an onion, potato, or lemon or orange; poke with a fork and rub your grates clean.
Don't be that guy that always has dirty grill grates.
Use Two Skewers
It's always frustrating when the food on your skewers just spins around and stays on the same side when you try to flip them.
Easy answer? Use two skewers and you food will always be easy to flip. No more half undone, half overdone pieces.
Pull Meat Early & Let it Rest
This tip is less a BBQ Hack, and more a skill that comes from experience of trial and error. Letting meat rest after removing it from the grill definitely results in juicier, more flavorful meat. But you may have experienced meat that was cooked to the perfect temp only to be overcooked after it rests and you cut into it.
Pull you meat before it reaches your desired final temperature, wrap it in foil and watch as the internal temperature continues to rise as it rests. How much it rises will depend on a number of factors, such as:
- how thick the cut is
- how high the cooking temperature was
- how long it was allowed to rest
Getting this all just right comes with practice, but ideally you'll be able to pull your meat about 10 degrees before it's done, let it rest for 10 minutes, and then cut into a perfectly cooked and rested cut that makes all your hard work worth it.
The Finger Trick to Test Done-ness
Forgot your meat thermometer? An instant read or leave in probe is key to make sure you nail your cook, but there's an age old hack in case you don't have one. As your meat cooks, give it a poke with your finger. Compare how that feels to touching the meaty part of your palm underneath your thumb.
- Open hand: Raw
- Index to thumb: Rare
- Middle to thumb: Medium Rare
- Ring to thumb: Medium to Medium-Well
- Pinky to thumb: Medium-Well to Well Done
This isn't a perfect system and takes some practice to get down, but it's worthwhile to learn if you don't like using a meat thermometer, or often forget one when you camp.
Check Your Propane Level with Hot Water
Running out of gas will surely ruin your BBQ. If you have a Grill Game G1 you may be able to quickly pivot to a different fuel source, otherwise, you're heading to refill propane or going hungry.
Before you start grilling you can get an idea of how much fuel you have left by dumping hot water on the side of your tank. Feel the side of the tank, the top should feel hot or warm to the touch indicating there's no gas in that part of the tank. As you work your hand down the side of the tank it will feel cool to the touch. The spot where it becomes cool indicates how much fuel you have left.
Using an Egg Carton to Start Charcoal
Using a quality fire starter and a charcoal chimney is the best way to get charcoal started. Forgot those at home? Grab a cardboard egg carton and place a piece of charcoal in each spot. Light the egg carton and it will start your coals. Use those pieces to get the rest of your charcoal going. When all your charcoal is covered in ash that's an indication that you're ready to grill. This can take roughly 20-30 minutes with a fire starter and chimney, and slightly more with this method.
Stack Your Coals to Create Heat Zones
Cooking a full meal with sides all at once but they cook at different temperatures? Or do you like to finish those back straps with a ripping hot sear? Either way you'd benefit from creating heat zones by specifically arranging your coals to meet your needs.
You can get creative, but start by having a mountain of coals off to one side of your grill. A few will naturally fall to the middle, while the other side should have none. You now have three zones, one for indirect/low heat, one medium, and one high heat zone.
What's a BBQ hack that looks fancy but is actually effective? Rosemary skewers.
You'll guests will be impressed by how cultured you are when they see what you pull off the grill. And once they try a piece they'll know it wasn't all for show; rosemary compliments most meats and veggies very well. Kudos if you can find wild rosemary or sage to use when you're out on the trail.
So there you have it...
11 of some of our favorite grill hacks. Give them a go and let us know what you think. Don't forgot to leave your own tips and tricks in the comments!