Barbecues can be very stressful, especially when feeding a crowd. Here are just a few tips asnd tricks that my make or break your barbecue.
- There is no right way to make a perfect burger, but there is a wrong way. Something you might notice if you try to make burgers from scratch is that they can get very thick in the center and not as wide as you would like. To avoid this, pinch the center of the burger with your fingers or use a spoon to create a little indent. When it cooks and squeezes up, it will not be too thick. Also try not to flip the burgers too much.
- Grills do a lot of the legwork when it comes to adding flavor to your meal, but you can do better. You can marinate the food beforehand by soaking it in liquids such as lemon juice, wine, barbecue sauce, etc. for a few hours before cooking. You can also brush on glazes during the last few minutes of the grilling process. These glazes tend to be sweeter like barbecue sauce, and they're easier to use because they do not require preparation beforehand. If you don't like glazes, then dry rubs may be your next move.
- Flare-ups happen when fat drips onto the heat source and catches fire. This causes carcinogenic PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) to form and accumulate on your food. Meat licked by flames tastes “off” and flames may char the outside of food before the inside has thoroughly cooked. To reduce flare-ups, select lean cuts of meat, trim excess fat and remove poultry skin. It may be handy to keep a squirt bottle of water near the grill to quickly douse out any unexpected flare-ups.
- For tender ribs, maintain a low temperature for several hours. Spikes and valleys of heat will tighten and dry out the meat, but consistently low temps will produce soft and succulent meat.
- Be sure to allow your meats to rest for at least five minutes before serving them to let the juices kick into high gear.
- A clean grill is a hotter, healthier grill. Scrub your grill with a sturdy grill brush after each grilling session to keep bugs, insects, rodents and pesky varmints from seeking any tasty leftover bits from your grill. Start with the burners; it's easier to detach the burners and take them out of the grill for a very thorough cleaning. Pass a venturi brush through the burners to snag out any blockages, then brush the tops of the burners using a brass wire brush. Once the burners are clean, check all of the burner ports to ensure that they are opened. If some are closed with food particles, use a 1/16-inch drill bit to open them. Sear plates and cooking grills should be washed with hot soapy water. Hot soapy water also works wonders on the cast base and sides of the grill, and it removes grease splatters on the outside of the grill. For porcelain lids, a thorough washing should do the trick, and for stainless steel lids, a stainless steel cleaner will remove any discoloring. Once the cleaner is dry, brush the cast aluminum with a little olive oil to restore luster and prevent oxidation. Use a spatula to scrape grease from the inside of the base and all the way down towards the drip pan. Remove the drip pan and give it a good washing. Be sure to replace the tin foil grease catcher. Finally, brush the top side of your cooking grills with a bit of oil to re-season them.