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Grilling 101: From BBQ Basics to the Latest Techniques

Recipes & Tips for Getting the Best from Your BBQ


After a long cold winter, it’s time to get back out in the fresh air and fire up the grill. We’ve got a zesty BBQ recipe for you, too. Try our Asian Grilled Tuna with Baby Zucchini, Squash & Onions. I’ll bet you can almost smell that smoke right now.

You’re also going to want to try our Simply Superb Burger recipe They’re aren’t too many things better tasting than a thick, juicy grilled hamburger. It’s one of our all-time favorites.

Other great Food Channel grilling recipes include our Grilled Pizza Bella, a meatless dish featuring portobello mushrooms…and our Sea Salt & Lime Fish Tacos recipe is another excellent choice for the grill.

Now, because you may be a little out of practice, we offer a short refresher course designed to make sure your grilling season gets off to a great start. Here are 15 ways to put extra sizzle in your grilled masterpieces.

  • If your grate has burnt-on food from the last go-round, fire up the grill and wait about 20 minutes. Then scrub it off with a stiff wire brush. And, then, after you’ve taken your food off the grill, scrub it again while the grate is still hot.
  • Use two plates when grilling meat. One for the raw meat, and one for the cooked meat.
  • Spray the grate while it’s cold with a vegetable oil spray (such as PAM) to keep foods from sticking. Always spray away from the fire.
  • Use tongs or a spatula to turn meat. A fork will pierce the meat and you’ll lose those tasty juices.

  • Use a good meat thermometer to test doneness. Here are guidelines for beef. For RARE, it should be 140°, for MEDIUM RARE:150°, MEDIUM: 160°, MEDIUM-WELL: 165°. WELL-DONE: 170° (not recommended). The meat will cook another 5 degrees or so after removing from the grill, so try to remember to allow for that.
  • If you’re a charcoal griller, why are you still using starter fluid? Get a chimney style canister. They’re about 10 bucks and will last through 2-3 grilling seasons. Fill the upper section of the canister with briquets, stick a crumpled sheet of newspaper in the bottom section, and light. Your coals will be ready in less than a half hour, and you won’t have any starter fluid flavor to deal with.
  • Trim excess fat from steaks and chops, leaving only about 1/8 to ¼ inch of fat to flavor the meat. Less fat will result in fewer flare-ups.
  • Let your steaks and chops reach room temperature before putting them on the grill.
  • If you have flare-ups on a gas grill, NEVER use water to extinguish the flames. Just turn the burners off, move food to another area of the grate, and re-light the grill.
  • Use a timer to help you remember when it’s time to turn the food.
  • If you’re grilling steaks, set the table with sharp steak knives. Dull knives will cause your guests to think that their steak is tough.
  • Steaks should be at least 1 1/4 -inches thick. Any thinner and your steak will likely be overcooked—unless you like it well done.
  • Try grilling on a wooden plank, available in many grocery stores and gourmet food shops. Planks impart a wonderful, woody/smoky flavor. Just plop the food on the plank and wait till it’s done. No turning necessary! Cedar planks are great for grilling salmon in particular.
  • When roasting or grilling with the lid closed, try placing a can of beer over the hot coals. The beer will boil and saturate the air inside with water vapor and a light beer flavor, and will help keep the meat moist.
  • BBQ sauces should usually be added near the end of the grilling process, especially sugar- or tomato-based sauces. Otherwise these sauces are likely to burn.

Stay tuned for more grilling insights, tips and smokin’ hot recipes all spring and summer long…from The Food Channel!