Grilling 101: Barbecue for Beginners

As befitting the summer, we will delve into grilling and barbecuing outside the house, a practice as old as civilization.

In recent years, television directors and others have encouraged us to try something different. In some cases, they have pushed us to new heights, but most of the time, they spur us into dreaming the unattainable.

There is nothing wrong with culinary ambition, but for my money, there is nothing better than grilled meat to be eating with a simple salad and some good bread.

Having an outdoor (even indoors) barbecue means you can spend time with your friends while getting the right meal with its benefits.

For those of us who are new to grilling but want to improve our barbecuing skills, we will limit this article to just discussing about grills.

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Are You New to Grilling? Or Are You Afraid to Light a Barbecue?

grilling for beginners

Well, do not be afraid. It's not as complicated as it sounds.

If you are thinking of buying a barbecue, we will break the pros and cons of using different methods to grills.

Also, for those looking for a way to barbecue, we will continue with some steps on how to use the barbie.

And for those who are already enthusiastic, we have some ready-to-use tips and tricks for the barbecue.

So let’s get started!

1. Choosing Your Meat

Choosing Your Meat grilling

When selecting your meat for barbeque, avoid extremely thick cuts.

Look for chops and steaks between one and two centimeters.

Choose beautiful pieces and cut off excess fat to prevent epidemics. ​

In addition to these rules, there is virtually no meat that cannot be perfectly fried with smoke: from chicken, to skirt steak, pork chops, rib-eye and fish.

The most important thing to remember is how each type of meat reacts to different levels heat and grilling methods.

2. Decide if to Go With Rubs or Marinades

Decide if to Go With Rubs or Marinades grilling

When you have decided the type of meat to go with, it's time to think about your tastes.

Decide if you want to go with marinades or rubs, or both of them.

Rubs are mixtures of seasonings and spices that you apply on your meat before cooking.

Marinades are spicy liquids that help flavor and soften meat. Rubs and marinas work best if done in advance.

Marinades should always be used in the refrigerator, whereas a rub can be applied earlier before grilling at room temperature.

Start with pure spices, such as vinaigrette, chopped peppers, and spiced vinaigrette, once you have these in place, it is time to start experimenting.

3. Get the Right Temperature

Get the Right Temperature grilling

Continue with this, remember that what you have created is a cellar oven, so you have to control the heat like an oven. 

PRO TIPS

The reliable way to test the heat is manual. 

Hold your hand about 6 centimeters above the rack and note how long you can keep it comfortable (without getting burned or shouting for help).

  • Six seconds = low heat
  • Four seconds = average heat
  • Two seconds = Extremely warm
  • 0 seconds = Please visit the hospital!

It is also necessary to control the temperature through the grill.

The most straightforward technique is half and a half: move all the coals to one side to get a mega-hot side and a side with no heat.

4. Timing

The time required to cook the meat depends significantly on the cutting of the meat, the heat, and the preferences of each one.

Only experience, tests, and mistakes will teach you the perfect moment.

As an estimate, a one-inch steak should be roasted in a grilled bar in eight and a half minutes at about 10 to 12.

Use a meat thermometer to judge the correct cooking of poultry or steaks.

5. Choose a Grill

how to Choose a Grill

The choice of the right grill​​​​ depends on what you cook.

If you only cook burgers and pieces of chicken, you'll be okay with an open barbecue.

If you want to cook whole chicken or pieces of meat, you'll need something with a lid, also called a barbecue boiler, which reflects the heat of a curved lid of food and limits the flow of oxygen through the coal.

Boilers not only tend to be more expensive than open rails, but they also look for a proper fit that is worth spending as much as possible to get something that works and lasts.

Correct steel thickness and good quality are essential: the cover must be durable and heavy.

If you are using a boiler grate, keep the lid as far away as possible and do not overfill. Otherwise, the grill will be scorching.

It may sound simple, but there are two essential things to do with your burner if you want to prepare a great barbecue.

Types of Grills

Coal and propane are the two main types of the grill.

There are some points to keep in mind when selecting one.

a. Coal

The grill that you probably think of when someone talks about a grill, these grids have a very appropriate name because they use charcoal briquettes to heat objects.

This traditional grill will make you feel as if you are a maestro in barbecuing in no time.

grilling for beginners charcoal
Pros of Coal Grill
  • Price: Coal grills tend to rely on the cheapest part, with standard units costing around a hundred dollars. High-quality grilles with additional features such as side brackets, temperature readers and automatic fuel outlets may be a more expensive option, but any basic charcoal grill without perfect features will prepare the table at a reasonable cost.
  • Taste: The puricines of charcoal preserve the fumigant aroma of the charcoal, which will create extra work with the plates. The flavor is also produced by dropping the meat that strikes the heat source and is then added to the smoke that gives the flavor to the meat.
  • Portability: These grids tend to be easy to carry because their main components can be as simple as a rack and a container. If you move frequently or want to bring your barbecue and barbecue to the park, you need to consider these points.
  • Temperature: Although the temperature of the gas grill can be monitored, the charcoal grate often provides more heat, so it can easily be used to burn the meat.
Cons of Coal Grill
  • Cleaning: Due to ash and carbon residues, cleaning may be dirty. It is not possible to avoid coal dust, but ash collectors and grill brushes can be used to facilitate the cleaning process.
  • Ease of use: Charcoal needs time to light up and often within fifteen to twenty minutes to warm up. Even the fats caused by the fat can make cooking difficult, in addition to regulating the temperature of the grill.

b. Propane

This type of grill uses propane to do the job.

Recommended as a good barbecue for beginners because they have an easy-to-adjust temperature regulator, the propane grill increases the heat in any grill.

gas grilling for beginners
Pros of Propane Grill
  • Comfort: The start of the grill is simple with propane, where the buttons are used to adjust the temperature. They are also heated in about ten minutes, relatively fast compared to a charcoal grill.
  • Cleaning: After cooking, turn off the fuel selector and propane without turning off the cleaning.
  • Consistency: Propane systems can be used more easily throughout the year than charcoal grills because the propane heat source does not depend on the right time to start. Getting a propane fire is a great benefit if you live in a colder area or if you do not desire to wait until summer.
Cons of Propane Grill
  • Price: Most propane grills have a higher price than their counterparts, though some with extras may cost around thousands of dollars. Accessories such as side burners, spice racks, storage drawers, and chicken accessories can be considered at a price. Even infrared propane grills are a mistake in the expensive part of the grill options. However, the simplest gas grills are sold at several hundred dollars per unit in a standard grill.
  • Maintenance: Sometimes, after a few years, the gas grill requires a small TLC because of many parts, such as burners and venturi tubes. Cleaning all the intricate internal parts increases the length of the barbecue, but it can be a bit expensive in the long run.

c. Gas

The gas rapidly cools the heat and works with natural gas or propane tanks.

The heat is regulated by turning the burner to a lower or higher temperature with the selector.

Before cooking, it is essential to check the fuel level in the containers to make sure there is enough to keep the grill as long as you like.

Multiple burners allow two or more cooking zones in which different grill sections can operate simultaneously at different temperatures.

An infrared grill is a variant of the propane grill for people who want even more heat.

In a gas grill, the flame directly heats the grill, but the infrared technology adds a ceramic component or a metal plate to the standard model.

The gas heats the plate, which emits more heat than other burners and often reaches temperatures up to two times piercing than those of the conventional gas distribution grill.

Gas grill is diverse in type and purpose of use. From the shape, design and material perspective, we have the tailgate grill, tabletop grill, raclette grill, Kamado grill, George Foreman grill... For each purpose, we have the grill for camping, smokeless indoor grill, boat grill, ... Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages that are carefully reviewed in our articles on this topic.

d. Electric Grill

electronic grilling for beginners

Maybe you live in a cold climate, or do you not want to bring food and kitchen utensils into the outside?

In any case, an excellent electric barbecue offers the best of both worlds; beef and tender vegetables, juicy, grilled, without having to leave the kitchen.

When shopping, remember that the best electric grill will have cool handles and lids, relatively compact size for secure storage and will be safe in the dishwasher.

We have included all of these factors even further in our carefully selected list of household care.

Pros of Electric Grill
  • Designed to remove harmful oils and fats from foods 
  • Solid cast iron surface.
  • High heat output compared to other internal electrical networks 
Cons of Electric Grill
  • Some do not have lids which can cause thicker cuts for uneven cooking 
  • It is challenging to clean

How to Use the Grill

How to Use the Grill
  • If using a charcoal barbecue, empty the ashes from the last grill.
  • Both grids must be preheated before cooking. The gas turns on quickly (make sure the lid is open when you turn on the grill!). To light up your charcoal grill, you will need a more comfortable fireplace. Please do not leave the coal with lighter fluid! This sounds like a quick fix, but you can end up making "chemical" foods. Allow the gas grill to warm up for at least 10 minutes and the charcoal grill for at least 20 minutes.
  • After preheating the grill, remove the charcoal and grill with a wire brush. It must be scratched at the beginning of the barbecue season. Therefore, during the roasting season, a brush should be prepared before and after roasting. After cooking the last meal of summer or autumn, leave the fat in the support to avoid rust in winter.
  • When the grill is clean, grease it with a paper towel lubricated with long tongs and rub the bars. You should use a high-temperature oil to smoke like canola oil.
  • Now that the grill is hot and the grill is clean, the food will not be as big, and you'll probably get the classic barbecue lines!

What Can I Grill?

Of course, everyone knows how important grilling is and that steak and hamburgers can be grilled, but did you know that it's also great for sandwiches and pizzas?

Here is a listing of recipe ideas to get started.

What Can I Grill?
  • Barbecue
  • Vegetables are easy to grill, choose your favorite vegetables, and try them!
  • Corn on the cob has its own "package"!
  • A sweet onion cooked with bacon would be an excellent appetizer or a festive meal.
  • Grilled pizzas should not be complicated!
  • Boiled cute sandwiches and garlic mayonnaise sound like an excellent lunch for a lazy summer day.
  • Pork chops and caramelized onions are easy to grill!
  • Teriyaki beef steaks are delicious, especially if you make teriyaki sauce! Yum!
  • Salmon is a robust fish, rich in natural fats, perfect for roasting. Leaving the skin during frying protects the meat from overload and falls.
  • Who can resist the classic bibs of childhood?

Keeping the Grill Clean

You might decide to call it a grill or a barbecue, but whichever one you choose to call it, keep in mind that a brush or grid, paper towels, cooking oil and cleaning products are all that you need to make sure the grill is clean.

So, how can we keep the grill in the best conditions? Here are some solutions

Step 1

Check the flame tamers.

They directly cover the burners and are also called thermal jealousies and smoking pipes. 

Brush the residue with a wire brush. Do not insert oil into the cap after cleaning.

Step 2

Tubular burners, flat burners, and U-shaped burners should be checked when removing the flame regulators.

Clogged burners can cause irregular operation and premature combustion of the heater.

Place the burners with a dry steel brush, paying attention to the area of the burner hole (jets through which the gas comes out) to remove food or grease residues.

The infrared burners and the grill are slightly different.

Ceramic burners are susceptible to damage and need to be cleaned carefully.

Light the ceramic burners for 10 minutes to burn excess fat and the rest of the food.

With the burner off, use the pliers to remove the rest of the food.

Step 3

Regular shelving of grills with a wire brush or barbecue barrier prevents the accumulation of food and bacteria. 

Make sure the brush or stone is suitable for the grill.

Coal Grill

Clean the surface when the grill is still hot.

Use a grill brush that releases water to clean the grill.

If your brush does not have this feature, a small stream of water produces the same effect.

Gas Grill

The burners MUST be switched off before cleaning! 

If this grill is used, no water is required; the stone will remove the litters.

After cleaning the cooking grids, sprinkle with cooking oil.

Step 4

Before starting the gas grill, take the time to inspect the fuel line for cracks.

Perform a more detailed inspection each month. Brush with soapy water along the connections.

If droplets form when the gas is running, adjust the connections, or replace the line.

Step 5

Clean the Venturi tubes.

Fans are tubes that mix air and gas and feed the burners. It must be clear to work properly.

Pipes are good homes for spiders and insects during the low season. 

Even a small block can become a fire hazard.

Remove burner/hose assembly and clean with soap and water.

Clean the holes with a wire brush, pliers or a small piece of wire.

Replace when dry and make sure the venturi tube is properly aligned with the gas valve.

PRO TIPS

Use grill cover in case you won't use the grill for a long time, from weeks to months, even years.

Tips and Tricks for Barbecue

Tips and Tricks for Barbecue grilling
  • To prevent loss of juice during rotation, always turn the meat or vegetables with a tweezer or spatula instead of a fork.
  • Try to limit your flips. Ideally, you should lower each item once during the roasting process.
  • Whatever you do, do not squeeze meat or chicken (or anything else) with a spatula while cooking! This compresses the juice, and once they are gone, they are gone! If you are bored and need to do something with your hands, learn to juggle (but not too close to the grill, please!).
  • For an excellent smoked taste, soften some leftover wood (walnut, oak or other wood, but do not use treated wood!). For the moment, throw them in charcoal and cover the grill, or if you use gas in the smoke box manufacturer's instructions.
  • To infuse grilled herbs in grilled foods, mix herbs directly with charcoal while cooking. Or, if you use a gas grill, soak the herbs in the water and put them on the grill before placing the food on it.
  • If you want to beat the meat or vegetables, keep this level to the end. In this way, sugars, pickles, or parsley will not have time to caramelize or burn.
  • If all of this appears too complicated or rainy or cold outside, you can cook at home with a touch or use a pan.

Final Words

You can do almost anything on the barbecue. 

A barbecue is like an outdoor oven and is a great way to add a sweet flavor to sauces and side dishes, dessert fruit, and even brunch such as French toast. 

Have fun and be creative!

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