Blackberry glazed chicken, maple drenched ribs, and honey-ginger shrimp kebobs with grilled asparagus, peppers, and portabella mushrooms. If you’re drooling, then it’s time to get your grill on!
Nothing says summer like the sweet smoky sizzle of a backyard barbecue. Whether hosting hotdogs and hamburgers with all the fixings or a gourmet surf and turf feast, get your grill and skills in order for a summer of fabulous food and fun.
Get the grill fired up!
#1. Grill Inspection 101
After being stored away all winter check your BBQ for:
- Unwanted pests that may have made home during the winter.
- Rust, corrosion and lose parts that may need replacing.
- Gas leaks. A great way to detect leaks is to brush your gas line with soapy water, looking for bubbles which indicate a crack.
- Determine the fuel level in the tank by pouring a glass of warm water down the side of the tank. Wherever the water starts to feel cool on the tank is your fuel level.
#2. A clean start
Wash and scrub down the outside of your grill with warm, soapy water. To tackle the inside, use a homemade solution mixing: one part water with one part distilled white vinegar. Let the solution soak in, then crank to high for 15 minutes and debris should be easy to wipe off.
#3. Clear burner tubes
Check the gas ports for cooked on food that is preventing the flow of gas to the grill. Turn the propane off then use a toothpick, pipe-cleaner, or paper clip to de-clog and open the hole.
#4. Shiny grill
Start by heating on high for 15 minutes to burn-off the build-up. Once cooled, soapy water is the safest cleaning solution for most grills. You can also rub the grates with sliced onion, cut-side down to loosen up grit. Stainless steel brushes work great, but may leave behind tiny metal bristles that get in your food. Instead, consider a heavy-duty safe nylon brush or hardwood scraper.
#5. Season the grill
Prevent food from sticking and create a layer of seared barbecued fats that will infuse your food with that smoky flavour you love. Simply brush or rub the grates with high heat resistant oil such as canola, vegetable, or avocado oil.
#6. Coal goals
Lava rocks or briquettes? The main difference is lava rocks are a natural product and tend to be fragile so they will need to be replaced every season or two. Ceramic Briquettes, while more expensive, are a manufactured product that have a longer lifespan and can be turned over and reused.
#5. Season the grill
Master your BBQ skills with the right tools. Be sure to have the basics including tongs, a long-handled spatula, metal skewers, wood grill scraper, and a meat thermometer. If you love grilling corn, tofu or fruit, a grilling basket keeps the food from falling through the rack. For those taking it to the next level, consider a smoker box, cedar planks, and your very own monogrammed forged steak brand.
#5. Tips of the trade
Impress your family and friends with a few simple tips that will have them calling you’re the Grill Queen or King!
Cooked to perfection! You can use a meat thermometer for gauging doneness but to cook a steak the way pro chefs do, give this touch test a try.
Rare: The outside consistency of beef with a red centre should feel that of the spot between the thumb and forefinger of a relaxed hand.
Medium: To get your steak perfectly pink inside, compare how it feels with the density of the centre of your palm when you hold your hand flat.
Well: Meat that’s cooked all the way through should be firm with a slight give, similar to the texture of the tip of your nose.
Flavoured to perfection! Here are a few ways to add extra flavour to your food.
Glazes: Syrupy coatings often made with honey, maple syrup, or molasses that are brushed on during the last few minutes of grilling.
Wet and dry rubs: Fragrant blends of herbs and spices (wet rubs incorporate moist ingredients, such as oil, mustard, and yogurt) rubbed on a few hours before cooking to create a savoury crust.
Marinades: Deeply infuse foods with more flavour and tenderize them, by letting them soak in an acidic liquid, such as lemon juice, vinegar, or wine seasoned with herbs, fruits, chilies or whatever tickles your fancy.