Warm weather is around the corner (finally!) and that means that all around the nation, people are firing up their grills. Grilling out is a spring and summertime staple — and yet mastering this outdoor appliance can be intimidating. Ahead, we’re rounding up three helpful tips to consider before you break out your backyard BBQ gear.
(Don’t have a big backyard or a stand-alone grill? You’re not totally out of luck! If you don’t have a grill, you can still apply these same ideas to a griddle pan or cast-iron pan on top of your stove.)
Tip #1: Go for hot, hot heat.
You preheat an oven, so why wouldn’t you preheat your grill? Putting meat on a grill too early can change the flavor — and not in a good way. Make sure that if you’re working with a charcoal grill, look for a thin gray coat of ash on the coals before grilling; if you have a gas grill, preheat on high (which will take about 10-15 minutes).
Tip #2: Make the most of the grill’s versatility.
Not a meat eater? You can still enjoy a great grilling session! The grill is not reserved for meats alone. In fact, grilling vegetables gives them an enhanced flavor that’s totally different than their other preparations.
Best of all, it doesn’t need to be fancy! Create a makeshift lidded pot by folding aluminum foil around carrots, whole onions, or broccoli for a savory steamed effect. Or, go right on the grill with your peppers, zucchini, eggplant, or squash. After they come off the grill, your vegetables don’t need much more than a sprinkle of salt or your favorite seasoning, a drizzle of olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon right — it couldn’t be easier!
Tip #3: Don’t be afraid to grill fish!
It’s easy to feel finicky about preparing seafood over an open flame — but that just means you need to experiment! Firmer fish like salmon work wonderfully on the grill, and can result in a delightfully crispy skin. Pro tip: After you've placed your fish on the grill, avoid moving it around too much, as that can lead to tearing and breaking. And remember that fish will generally cook faster than other heavier meats, like steak or chicken.
Now, go forth and grill!