15 Simple Grilling Tips and BBQ Tricks for the Cooking Mastery

Tsshhhhhhh! BBQ

Can you hear that delicious sound of a steak sizzling on the grill, burgers being cooked, and cold beers being opened?

Yeap, BBQ time is here!!

Sure, you can grill any time of the year, but there is definitely something special in throwing a BBQ party during the summer.

Grilling is one of the most fun ways to cook, but it also can be one of the most difficult. As you don’t grill every day, it seems that those few times that you do face the BBQ all of your usual kitchen skills appear irrelevant.

You can step up your game by adding a smoky flavor to your meat or learning new tricks that will take the pain out of post-cookout cleaning.

Stop being just the guy, or gal, who only knows the very basics; with our 15 grilling tips and BBQ tricks, you can easily achieve cooking mastery.

Preparation

1. Check the propane level in your grill tank

Nothing kills a party like running out of gas for the grill.

It can be tough to gauge the level of gas, especially if you don’t have a scale. Luckily, you can get a good idea of how much propane is left with this trick.

Simply pour some hot water down the side of your tank (NOT on the top!).

Place your hand on the tank: it will be cold to the touch where there is propane and warm where there is nothing but air.

Easy and genius BBQ hack!

2. Easy Fire Starter

Ah, and the brilliance never ends! Here is another easy and crazy-simple idea for the charcoal grill.

To light up the charcoal, grab an empty egg carton and fill it with charcoal bricks. It saves you from creating a mess and it’s really easy to light the carton. Once you do so, the charcoal will be ignited by the burning carton.

BBQ Easy Fire Starter

Image by Sew Many Ways

However, don’t try this with styrofoam containers. It won’t work and the fumes will probably cause you harm.

You can use exactly the same method for campfire sites or to light up fire pits.

3. Light the charcoal in advance

If you are using lighter fluid to light up the charcoal and cannot make use of our super hack above, make sure to start the grill at least 30 minutes before you start to cook.

The fire should be out completely out before placing the meat on the grill, or else you’ll have a nasty fuel taste in your meat.

The proper time to start grilling is when the charcoal is mostly an ash-gray color with a little bit of glowing red underneath.

proper time to start grilling

4. Place herbs, stems and branches on the burning coal

Branches and stems from many common edible plants provide a savory smell to grilled food.

Garden herbs strewn over hot coals can also infuse meat and vegetables with delightful flavors. You can check a list of the best herbs to use in the Oregon Live website.

Boom! BBQ elevated!

5. Turn your grill into a smoker

Smoked food has a delicious flavor.

No smoker? No problem.

Whether you’re working with a charcoal or gas grill, you can easily convert it to a smoker with a few simple steps.

Wrap wood chips into a foil envelope, poke some holes in it and throw it underneath the grate (on top of the burner), and… nope, that’s it!

Cool Material shares the list of materials and the detailed step-by-step.

Cooking

6. Juicy Burgers

If you are looking for a way to maintain the moisture in your burgers as you grill them, you may use dimples in your raw burgers for something else than “just” for even cooking.

Go one step further by placing some ice chips in the indentations. Better than ice, try a pat of butter. The ice or butter will keep your patty from drying out while you cook it.

BBQ Juicy Burgers

You may also use herb butter to even add some extra flavor.

Y-u-m-m-y!

7. Spiral-cut your hot dogs

If you’ve never spiral-cut your hot dogs before, you’re about to discover a whole new level of deliciousness that you didn’t know was possible.

Despite the fact that it looks super cool on the bun, the spiral-cut offers more than what just meets the eye.

This way, the wieners have more surface area to make contact with the sizzling grill, meaning more caramelization, and also more fissures to hold condiments.

Check it out how it’s done:

Now you only have to decide if you want to add ketchup or not! 😉

8. Cook your fish on top of citrus slices

No amount of oil seems to truly help to avoid leaving at least half of you fish stuck to the metal when you pull it off the grill.

If you are tired of this, simply place some citrus slices directly on top of your grill and place the fish on top of the slices.

Not only this will prevent the fish from sticking to the grill, but it will also infuse your fish with extra flavor.

BBQ Cook your fish on top of citrus slices

9. Brine Fish to Keep It from Falling Apart

After you grilled your fish on top of the citrus slices, it’s time to take it off the grill and put it on a plate, but the whole thing starts to fall apart….

An easy fix for this is this very simple trick: brining the fish.

Brining is the technique of soaking meat in a diluted salt solution until the dissolved salt permeates the muscle tissue.

Just mix 1 tablespoon of salt with 4 cups of water, and let the fish sit in the mixture for 10 minutes. When you’re done, pat it dry, and toss it on the grill.

You can also add different seasonings to the brine to add extra flavor.

10. Use your fingers to check how done your meat is

If you can’t tell how done the meat is, the trick is in your hands.

Use your fingers to check how done your meat is

This way is actually better than using a meat thermometer. If you used one before maybe you’ve noticed the problem with it.

If you poke a hole in your meat to check the temperature, you end up letting the juices out, which means you lose flavor and moisture.

So, toss the thermometer out and wash your hands before poking the meat! 😉

11. Use two skewers to keep food from slipping

Kebabs are delicious but can be a little bit stubborn. It is really difficult to cook them right when your food is constantly turning on the skewer.

Here’s the trick: just use two skewers! Your food will no longer be able to rotate, so you can flip it easily and cook it evenly.

Use two skewers to keep food from slipping

 Photo by Jessie Beck on Unsplash

Also, don’t forget to soak the skewers in water for 30 minutes beforehand, to keep them from getting burned.

12. Easy BBQ dessert

You can wrap up the whole BBQ with an easy and delicious recipe: banana s’mores.

banana s'mores

Image by The Typical Mom

The bananas serve as the containers. They’re a breeze to make and they won’t make a mess.

You only need to cut the bananas lengthwise and squeeze the ends so that it opens up a bit. Stuff some chocolates chips and marshmallows inside and grill it!

The Typical Mom explains this recipe on details and brings other suggestions.

Cleaning

13. Clean your grill with aluminum foil

The best moment for you to clean the grill is when the grates are still warm.

Make a ball out of the aluminum foil, grab it with a pair of tongs, and start to scrub the grill rack before it cools down. All the sticky stuff should come off.

14. … Or try using an onion

While the grill’s still hot, take a freshly halved onion, stick it on a fork, and use the cut side to scrub residue off the grate.

The oils in the onion will take care of most, if not all, of the grit without the elbow grease. They’ll also season the grill and add some flavor to your next meal, too.

BBQ safety mode on

15. Be safe

While you are barbecuing you are going to be handling grills, open flames and sharp objects.

Make sure to use proper protective equipment, like aprons, oven mitts, or BBQ gloves, and use specific BBQ tools since they have longer handles and keep your hands and arms away from the heat.

Besides the obvious tips, keep in mind to stay well hydrated (not just with beers) and be careful of potential sunburn. Summertime activities are great, but unfortunately, ERs see an increase in cases during vacation months.

Barbecuing is a beautiful art. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new and different kinds of cuts of meat, flavorings and seasonings, types of grills and smokers, and cooking methods.

You never know when you might stumble upon something you really like.

Did we forget about your favorite grilling tip? Share your number one hack with us in the comments below and blow our minds!