7 Easy BBQ Tips For the Backyard GrillJuly 17, 2017
Become a pro by fine-tuning the art of the hot dog, burger and barbecue
Nothing is more synonymous with summer than backyard barbecue and outdoor grilling. After all, no one wants to be cooped up in a humid kitchen over boiling pots when your entire backyard could become your dream kitchen. Open, natural spaces and an outdoor grill all but require an audience, meaning we spend most of our summer hosting fun-filled dinners with friends and family around the barbecue grill.
But after countless backyards and endless barbecues, your guests can become—dare we say it—burnt out on the same-old, same-old barbeque ribs, burgers and hot dogs. So how can you distinguish yourself among the rest? We have put together a list of backyard barbecue tips and the best grill recipes that are sure to set you apart from all other barbecue grillers on the block.
Preparation is key in backyard grilling. Know what you need and have it at hand before you turn on the grill. This includes everything from fuel for your grill, tools and utensils as well as seasonings like salt and pepper. You can also designate a friend, spouse or older child to be your sous-chef and help you transfer food from the grill to the table as it is ready.
Check your temperature
There are tons of gadgets and tools for outdoor grill masters out there. But the two items no backyard barbecue master can cook without are a grill thermometer to check the temperature of the grill itself and a meat thermometer to determine the temperature of the meat. These days digital, wireless and even bluetooth thermometers are available. Check out this list of some of the best on the market.
Create heat zones
This is easier to accomplish on a gas grill, where you can set burners to different levels or temperatures, but it is also totally doable on a charcoal or kettle grill, too. Bank coals in the center of the grill to create your hottest zone. You will use this area to sear your meat and give it those gorgeous grill marks. Then move meat to the outside of the grill or to the lower burner to cook the inside of the meat to perfection.
Practice makes perfect
Buying a new grill for the season—or getting reaquainted with your old one—is an exciting time. But before you invite all your friends and family over to show off your skills, take a few weeks to get to know your instrument and test out new recipes.
Lean into natural beef flavors
When cooking up burgers on the grill, many are tempted to throw in a bunch of seasoning to create a distinctive flavor. But as long as you have fresh ground beef with a high fat content—at least 15-20 percent—your burger’s flavor will speak for itself. But do not skimp on the salt and pepper! If you want to take your game up a notch, incorporate sautèed onions into your meat.
Create a signature rub
Impress guests by creating your own custom spice rub! Follow these simple steps:
- Determine the salt/sugar ration of your rub. Most meat—all but pork, in fact—work better with a higher portion of salt.
- Add pepper in small increments until the flavor is to your liking. Consider the type of pepper you use with purpose—are you looking for the instant spice of cayenne pepper, the gentle flavor of white pepper, etc.
- Add “transition spices” like chili powder, cumin and paprika to unite the salt, pepper and sugar in your rub. These flavors are not dominant in your rub, so feel free to use more.
- Add a pinch of your own signature flavor. That spice that speaks to you and always finds its way into your cooking. Is it dill? Coriander? Espresso (no, really!)? You decide!
Make your own marinade
Like rubs, marinades are simple to make with a few base ingredients and a whole lot of options. Here is what you need to get started:
- An oil or other fat (about half a cup)
- An acid like vinegar or lemon juice (about 2 tablespoons worth works for vinegar, but you will probably need more for softer flavors like lemon or lime juice)
- A sweet and salty element—but think outside the box on this one! Replace simple salt and sugar with, say, soy or fish sauce, Worcestershire, and fruit juice and honey.
- Herbs, onions, and/or garlic. Most recipes will only improve with 2 to ten cloves of garlic, but also include fresh herbs like basil, thyme, mint and/or onions and scallions.
- Blend your mixture in a blender or smash your garlic and mix it yourself. Cover your meat with your marinade in a bowl or ziplock bag and let it set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to an hour, overnight ideally.
Share this blog if you are not afraid of a little backyard barbecue competition!