Top BBQ Tips, Barbeque Cookers & Essentials
Everyone wants to be a BBQ pitmaster. So how do you refine your skills so you can be a pro behind the grill? Below are some tips to cooking great BBQ so you can master the grill.
1. A Bit of Preparation
Prep the food you want to grill beforehand and you'll enjoy amazing flavor and tenderness that would otherwise be lacking if you just throw something on the grill. Spice things up with a rub or choose a flavorful marinade. Marinate meat for at least 30 minutes before putting it on the grill.
2. Go Charcoal
Barbeque shouldn't taste like indoor cooking. If you're going to grill and become a pitmaster the best barbeque cookers for the job are the good old-fashioned charcoal kind. With a charcoal grill you get that true smoky BBQ flavor for which outdoor cooking is known.
Use good lump charcoal instead of insta-light briquettes. Be careful about handling the briquettes, but using this kind of charcoal will give you a better sear and more flavor than you get from gas.
Once you've grown to appreciate the smell and taste of smoke, you'll want to invest in a real smoker with an offset firebox. This will move you into varsity level grilling.
3. Never Go from Fire to the Plate
Meat needs to sear and that's why you have that hot-burning lump coal underneath it. That being said, meat also needs to cook slowly and absorb smoke. So create a two-zone grill. This is typically called direct and indirect cooking. Direct cooking (right over the coals) will help you achieve a nice crust and the other side (used for slow cooking) creates a juicy, tender result.
Successful BBQ is done with patience. You don't want to burn the food without savoring flavor. Let your food cook slowly, don't cut into it too fast, before the juices have time to settle back into place and don't overwhelm it with too much sauce; it's already been marinated, that's enough. Draw out the cooking process slowly and you'll enjoy better flavor and tender results.
4. Let it Cook
Beginning grillers check on their food frequently. Don't worry about the grill. Leave your food alone during the cooking process. Check on the coals periodically to make sure they're hot, you also want to be sure to add more as needed. Every time you lift the lid you lose heat. It takes time for heat to build back up, so leave the lid in place and let your food cook.
5. Salt Generously
It's almost impossible to over-salt anything that's cooked on the grill as long as you're using coarse kosher salt. Table salt is what causes that over-salted flavor that's so distasteful. Coarse salt doesn't melt and it becomes a crust in the meat that actually tastes good. It's a flavor enhancer.
Be wary of how much pepper you're adding instead. All other spices and rubs should be used sparingly. You want to enhance the flavor of the grill not overwhelm it.
6. Go Light or Go Sauce-less
Food court BBQ is slathered in BBQ sauce. This type of food is typically poorly prepared and without flavor. Lots of BBQ sauce disguises the true flavor of the meat and fools you into thinking you're eating great BBQ. Patiently slow cooking your ribs will result in better flavor. BBQ sauces are good but should be used sparingly.
BBQ sauce should highlight the meat rather than cover it, and they should be used as part of the cooking process. Also, consider mixing hot juices from the meat into the BBQ sauce before serving it.
Accessories to Consider
A reliable set of tools is essential to creating great BBQ. Below are some of the things you need.
1. 5 Piece Heavy Duty BBQ Tool Set
- Necessities include: tongs, spatula, brush, fork, and knife. Stainless steel is the most durable option, and be sure the handles stay cool when in use.
2. Steve Raichlen Ultimate LumaTong with LED Light
- This award winning grillmaster has made it easy to manage your grill in the evening hours. Sturdy steel arms give a firm grasp, LED lighting illuminates the grill, and insulated Bakelite handles are cool to the touch.
3. Charcoal Companion Instant Read Digital Thermometer
- For complete accurate temperature control, this is the way to go. It monitors temperatures from -60°F to 550°F.
4. Steve Raichlan Stainless Steel Trout Grilling Basket
- Got a fresh catch for the day? Don't go camping or use your backyard grill without this basket. Flip all your fish at once without them falling apart.
5. Stainless Steel Chimney Charcoal Start
- This charcoal starter eliminates the need for lighter fluid. Just fill the bottom with newspaper, the top with charcoal and it lights itself.