17 Great BBQ Cooking & Gas Grilling Tips
1. Food Safety When You BBQ
Keep it clean and keep it cold until you cook it or eat it.
Makes sure you have enough ice.
Have enough dishes so there is no cross contamination between uncooked and cooked meats.
Practice good food safety and preparation.
2. Seasoning the BBQ Grill
Pre-heat the clean grill and coat with cooking oil, using a brush or spray.
Close the grill and allow it to sit for about 20 minutes then wipe the grill clean with a fresh damp cloth.
The concept is the same as the seasoning of a cast iron fry pan.
3. BBQ Lid Position When Cooking
Just as some things are cooked on the kitchen cooktop and some in the oven, the type of food you are cooking will determine if you leave the BBQ lid up or down.
Generally speaking, do what you would do if you were cooking indoors.
4. Over the Burner Cooking
Steaks, burgers, and veggies, that need to be seared or cooked from the outside inward, should be placed directly over the burners.
A little olive oil brushed on the steak will prevent it from sticking.
Do NOT use salt on the meat before cooking, as it draws out the moisture and makes the meat dry.
If you do salt it as you start cooking, use coarse salt to get a nice salty crust.
A bit of coarse black pepper can be nice, too.
5. Searing & Crosshatching Your Meat
Always pre-heat the grill and take the meat out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes before cooking.
Sear the meat for 90 seconds on high heat and then rotate it 1/8 of a turn (45 degrees) and sear again.
This will give it an attractive crosshatch pattern, assuming you are not cooking on a flat plate grill, and help seal in the natural juices.
Remember to reduce heat to normal cooking temperature after searing.
6. Leave Your Meat Alone & Give It Room on the Grill
You should only turn the meat once. Be patient!
The meat needs room, too. Don't overcrowd the grill or it can heat unevenly.
There should be at least 2cm between the pieces of meat.
Also, make sure you have enough gas so that the cooking session is uninterrupted.
7. Avoid Using BBQ Forks When Turning Meat
To retain the natural juices, don’t poke holes in the meat.
This includes piercing the sausage skins.
Use long handled tongs or spatulas instead of forks.
Also, don't mash down on meat and burgers, as it forces out the natural juices and leaves you with dried out meat.
8. Leave Meat Alone Part 2
Let your grilled meat "rest" for five minutes after cooking, covered loosely with foil, to ensure more tender and juicy results.
Letting the meat rest also applies to roasts and other cooked meats, as well.
9. Away From the Burner Cooking
Whole chickens, roasts, and most fish fillets require indirect heat.
Try preheating the grill with all burners then, when the grill is hot, turn off one side of grill, put the slow cooking food over the unlit burners and close the lid.
In effect, it becomes an oven. This will help cook the meat evenly, browning it while keeping it juicy and tender.
Use a meat thermometer, where appropriate, to determine when it is done.
10. Using Aluminium Foil for BBQ
You can use aluminium foil to create little cooking pouches for delicate foods, like fish fillets.
Cook away from the lit burners or place the pouch on the warming rack, if you have one.
Be careful not to puncture the foil when lifting it off the grill.
11. Use Your BBQ Warming Rack
You can toast bread, cook delicate foods or just keep cooked food warm by using your warming rack.
12. Wood Chips Add Flavour
Wood chip smoke can enhance the flavour of your food.
You put the wood chips in a steel smoker box or in a small aluminium foil tray within the BBQ.
Hickory is a good all-round choice, if you are just starting.
Smoker boxes and wood chips can be found at BBQ specialty stores. Follow the wood chip supplier’s instructions.
13. Reheating Pizza
Did you know that a gas grill is the perfect way to reheat pizza?
Just set the BBQ on low, preheat, put the pizza directly on the grill and close the lid.
Heat until cheese starts to melt.
You will get more even heating with the lid down.
14. BBQ Cooking Flare Ups
Use lean cuts of meat and/or trim away the fat to reduce the chance of flare ups.
Make sure the grease tray is empty before you start, too. Very high temperatures should also be avoided.
However, if it does happen, flip down the grill lid and turn OFF all burners and the gas bottle, if safe to do so.
When the flare up is over, you can resume cooking.
NEVER spray water on BBQ flare ups or on any grease fire.
15. Marinades for Grilling
For more intense or varied flavours, consider using meat marinades.
You marinate the meat before you BBQ, as instructed by the marinade maker or recipe.
You can use large freezer bags for marinating.
Just put in the meat and marinade, seal and shake. Refrigerate, shaking it occasionally, until you’re ready to BBQ.
Make sure you drain off any excess marinade before cooking and do NOT pour it over the meat while cooking.
16. BBQ Side Burners
If your BBQ is equipped with a side burner, you can use it just like a kitchen cooktop.
This adds to the selection of dishes you can choose to cook outdoors.
17. Clean Your BBQ Grill When Done
Wearing protective gloves, clean the grill while it is still hot. Use a good grill brush to clean cooking plates and racks.
Lightly coat cooking surfaces with cooking oil when clean.
Remember to empty the grease tray, too.
Enjoy a Climate Friendly BBQ
Most people would think that a renewable fuel, like wood, is more eco-friendly than a fossil fuel.
However, when it comes to charcoal versus gas barbecuing, the climate friendly choice is not what you may think.
What is Charcoal?
Charcoal BBQ fuel is made from a renewable resource, wood.
Charcoal briquettes are manufactured by heating the wood in a low oxygen environment to remove all the moisture.
The end result is tightly packed little lumps of carbon.
When burnt, this carbon combines with oxygen to create heat and CO2.
What is BBQ Gas?
BBQ gas is LPG.
Whilst LPG is a fossil fuel, it is also a low carbon energy source.
The chemical formula for propane is C3H8.
Biofuels do not always result in a smaller carbon footprint than the fossil fuel alternatives.
The problem with charcoal is that it emits almost 3X the amount of CO2 that is produced when you use LPG.
This is harmful because CO2 is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
To produce charcoal, you heat wood in a kiln.
However, the usable output of charcoal is only around 20-35% of the original input.
The remainder of the wood turns into gas and is emitted into the atmosphere.
In contrast, LPG energy yields are greater than 90%.
The fact that you cannot simply turn a charcoal grill ON and OFF increases the problem.
Charcoal fires need to be started ahead of time and then take time to burn themselves out.
LPG is just a much more efficient fuel for cooking.
Independent scientific research confirms these facts. Eric Johnson, of Atlantic Consulting, published his study “Charcoal versus LPG grilling: a carbon-footprint comparison” on this very subject.
As the title suggests, it compared the carbon footprint of charcoal versus LPG for grilling.
In addition to looking at the carbon produced during production and burning, the study also considered secondary factors like the use of firelighters, grill construction and the need for cylinders.
In the base case, the charcoal grilling footprint of 998 kg CO2e is almost three times as large as that for LPG grilling, at 349 kg CO2e.
The following chart shows the results:
Source: Eric Johnson, Atlantic Consulting
Tree Planting and Carbon Sequestration
Many would point out that trees can be planted to replace the trees used to produce the charcoal, as this is a renewable resource.
This would result in carbon sequestration or, in this case, biosequestration.
This is absolutely correct.
However, in a renewables problem unique to charcoal production, you have to cut down trees in the first place.
Merely replanting trees in equal quantities just maintains the level of sequestration that already existed.
To offset the carbon released by the charcoal, you would need to plant additional trees, over and above the number planted as replacements.
Of course, all of this assumes that the companies harvesting the trees are following good reforestation practices.
The sad truth is that much of it just results in deforestation, as a lot of charcoal comes from developing countries without good sustainability policies.
The Eco-Friendly Choice
When it comes to grilling, LPG is the climate friendly choice.
Not only does it emit less CO2 than charcoal but it is also easier and more convenient to use.
Comments, questions or feedback?
The information in this article is derived from various sources and is believed to be correct at the time of publication. However, the information may not be error free and may not be applicable in all circumstances.