Wherever you are on your grill journey – beginner or master –it always helps to have a checklist of grill hacks and no-nos to keep you on track.
1. Preparation Is Everything
Visit your local butcher. The supermarket shelf isn’t an expert on best cuts.
Get into the habit of doing your shopping two days before you grill. This leaves you with an extra day if you’ve missed anything and you avoid the last-minute scramble.
2. Start With a Clean Grid
The grill-off method: heat up the grid to loosen food particles then scrub the bars with a steel brush.
If don’t have steel brush, rub the grid with a large onion cut in half and/or newspaper.
3. Pay Attention to Temperature
To get juicier, more evenly cooked meat, take the meat out of the fridge and let it sit for 20-30 minutes so it reaches room temperature before grilling.
Bonus Tip: Grill with fat on the meat. Even if you don’t like eating fat, the dripping fat adds flavor. You can cut the fat off afterward.
We don’t recommend freezing meat. But if you have to, don’t use a microwave or boiling water to defrost it. Grab two metal pots and flip one upside down with the meat (wrapped in plastic) on top. Then fill the other with water and place it on top of the meat.
4. Different Meat, Different Heat
Steaks are best cooked at high temperatures, searing the outer layer to lock in the juices and flavor. Low-temperature cooking is better for chicken and fish, so leave the lid on to snuff out the flames. To make sure you get the cooking just right, we recommend our Meat Thermometers.
Before you add the steaks onto the grill, push all the coals into one spot or turn up the gas on one side to get the perfectly seared steak.
For more tips on grill cooking times, read this.
5. There’s More to Grilling Than the Meat
Like wine pairs with food, the right side dish or salad complements your meat.
Grilled veggies are a great addition to any grill. Wrap your veggies in tinfoil to avoid them falling through the rack. It requires minimal attention, and they will be more tender and flavorful.
6. Give It a Rest
Once your meat is off the grill, wait at least 5-10 minutes before slicing or serving. This gives the juices a chance to settle back into the meat.
During the resting time, cover the meat with a loose foil tent to help keep it warm and soak up its juices evenly.
7. End As You Started – By Cleaning the Grid
While the grill is still hot, use your steel brush to scrub the grit off of your cooking grates. You’ll thank yourself the next time you braai.
If you don’t have a brush handy, you can use the foil that was used to cover the meat to wipe the grid.
8. Abide By These Grill No-Nos
- Never tell the host how to grill.
- Don’t use your hands to handle food. Grill utensils are there for a reason.
- If you’re grilling with wood or charcoal, make sure you have enough. You don’t want to finish the cooking in the kitchen.
- Don’t freeze your meat. Fresh cuts are better.
- Make sure you don’t run out of ice, drinks and food. It’s better to have a left-overs for brunch the next morning than hungry eyes at the table.