There is so much information available out there when it comes to gas grilling-both fact and fable-that it's tough to know where to start when you're brand new to the scene. If this is your first season with your new stove and BBQ Grill Box, read this guide for all the info you'll need to get started the right way. From terminology to temperatures, this is where you want to begin in your grill mastery.And even if you're not a beginner?you may still learn a thing or two.
Heat ManagementThe key to any type of grilling comes down to effectively using and managing heat. With the 30,000 BTU burners you'll find on our stoves, you have a lot of heat to work with. We recommend only using up to medium heat with your BBQ Grill Box to keep it in good shape. Here are some tips for how to manage all the heat:
- Always preheat your grill on medium heat for 10-15 minutes before cooking.
- Use high heat for searing only for a short time. The rest of the time, use medium for cooking hot and fast, and low heat for cooking more slowly or holding finished foods.
- With a double burner BBQ Grill Box, you can create indirect and direct heat zones with low heat on one burner and higher heat on the other. This will make it easier to manage how your food cooks-if one burger patty is cooking too quickly, you can move it to the cooler, indirect heat zone.
- Close the lid to cook food that is thicker than about ¾ inch.
- Leave the lid open when you're searing or when you're cooking food that is less than ¾-inch thickness.
Browning and SearingThe golden-brown color and dark sear marks you get from the grilling process are what give meat its delicious flavor. To achieve a great shade of brown and a fantastic sear, try these tips:
- The drier the meat, the easier it will be to brown it.
- Flip cuts of meat frequently to avoid burning either side (unless you're cooking burgers-then you only want to flip once or twice).
- Avoid packing food too tightly onto the grill. Leave some space for the steam and heat to rise around the edges for an even cook.
- Cook on medium to high (use high for only a short time) for hot and fast searing.
- Leave the lid open so your food is only getting heat from one side.
- Thicker meats that are at least 1-inch thickness will hold up to searing better than thin cuts.
- Move the cut often (at least once per minute) to brown as much of the meat's surface as possible and to avoid overcooking. The diamond sear marks might look pretty, but they actually leave quite a bit of the meat unseared.
- If you're searing thin foods like shrimp or asparagus, don't move them around the grill. A few sear stripes on these foods taste better than an entire charred side.
Smoking on a GrillDon't even get us started on how much we love our pellet grills. But did you know that you can use hardwood pellets on your gas grill too? If you don't have a trusty pellet grill, try these techniques to infuse your food with smoky goodness:
- Sprinkle Method: Sprinkle a large handful of hardwood pellets directly into your BBQ Grill Box, under the grates, and allow smoking to begin. Keep the lid closed as much as possible to prevent pellets from flaming.
- Tin Foil Method: Fold a large handful of wood pellets into some heavy-duty tin foil, and crimp the edges closed. Poke a few holes into the foil to allow smoke to flow out. Place under the grates and close the lid.
- Mild wood flavors are alder, cherry, and our competition blend.
- Strong wood flavors include apple, hickory, and mesquite.
- You can also infuse your food with herbal flavors by putting bunches of herbs directly on the grill grates and cooking your food on top.
Key TemperaturesCooking foods to the right temperature is the best way to guarantee great flavor and food safety. Before you do anything else, get yourself a reliable thermometer, preferably an instant-read thermometer. This will help you know how your meat is cooking, when food is safe to eat, and what temperature your grill is holding (and no, it will not "let out all the juices" if you probe your meat). Here are some important temperature points you should know:
- Fish should be cooked to 145° F
- Ground meats (including your burgers) should be cooked to 160° F
- Poultry should be cooked to 165° F
- Rare is 120-130° F
- Medium-rare is 130-135° F
- Medium is 135-145° F
- Medium-well 145-155° F
- Well-done is 155° F
Veggies and FruitsGrilling isn't just for meat. In fact, many fruits and vegetables take on a whole new flavor after a few minutes on the grill. Take these tips and tricks for grilling your favorite produce:
- Brush vegetables with oil before throwing on the grill.
- Thin, tender produce (like asparagus, bell pepper, and onion) is best over medium, direct heat and cooks quickly.
- Thicker, tougher produce (like cauliflower, squash, and potato) is best with lower, indirect heat and cooks more slowly.
- Root veggies like potatoes will cook best when they're cut into disks or chunks.
- Cook veggies and fruits until they are tender with just a bit of crunch.
- Fruits from trees are best on the grill. Try apples, peaches, figs, and pears.
CleaningIf you want to be grilling for years to come, it's important to clean and maintain your BBQ Grill Box. Use the info below to properly care for your grill:
- Clean your grill grates before each use. Leave the grease and food on your grill grates after you've finished cooking, as this will provide a protective layer between cooks.
- To clean before you cook, heat the grill for 15 minutes on medium with the lid closed until it stops smoking. Then scrape the grates with a grooved spatula or a grill brush.
- Dip the brush in water for steam to help loosen stubborn food bits.
- For a complete guide to cleaning your BBQ grill box, check here.