If baseball is America’s favorite pastime, then grilling up good food outdoors must come in at a close second. It’s a hobby that everyone can enjoy, even vegans and vegetarians. It can also be argued that it’s a competitive sport, as every grill master believes their skills to be superior to the average hot dog and burger burner. Secret techniques and recipes abound. But there are three things that every would-be master grill chef needs to be successful. 1.) a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of grilling. 2.) Lots of practice. And 3.) A high-quality outdoor grill and accessories. Without number three, the first two requirements are much harder to achieve. But let’s get a good start on the first one with a quick basic primer on good grilling practices and the equipment you’ll need.
Setting Up Your Grill
Where you decide to place your grill is very important for maximum enjoyment and efficient grilling. If you’re using a portable propane grill then you have a lot more leeway on where you can use it. You can simply roll it over to a new location or pack it up in your truck and take it wherever you want. Serious grill masters also choose natural gas grills, preferably a built-in outdoor grill. Natural gas has a few advantages over propane. When you’re hooked up to a natural gas line you never have to worry about running out of fuel or swapping out your fuel tank. Serious backyard grill aficionados prefer to take their time and concentrate on the cooking.
Unless you install multiple gas line hookups, natural gas grills are permanent grills and you’ll need to choose the optimum placement. You’ll want them to be close to where your outdoor activities are happening, near to seating and tables and the pool, and have some cover from the sun and the rain. It's an especially important consideration for a built-in outdoor grill because it’s not portable.
Helpful Grill Accessories And Equipment
Grilling enthusiasts are natural gear heads. Adding accessories and equipment to your grill is at least half the fun. Kinda like a fisherman that puts more time and effort into the tackle than the fish. There are some accessories that, although not necessarily essential, you’ll find to be very helpful on your grilling adventures. Our PGS series of gas and propane grills offer all of these options and many other OEM grill parts are available.
- Automatic fuel shut-off timer - If you or someone else turns on the gas and forgets to turn it off it can cost a lot before you finally notice it. Buying a grill with an automatic 60-minute fuel shut-off timer will prevent this from happening.
- Stainless steel side shelves - You’ll inevitably find yourself needing more space to hold your plates and tools, and stainless steel side shelves are the solution. Most of our PGS grill products are equipped with at least one shelf with the capability of adding another.
- Stainless steel grill storage drawers - Did we mention you’ll certainly be needing more space to hold all your grilling stuff? Think of those huge fishing tackle boxes anglers tote around. Stainless steel bbq grill storage drawers and cupboards are essential for the serious grill chef. Make sure you choose a grill base that has plenty of room to stash your equipment. Another accessory you should consider is an outdoor grill island. You can never have too much room.
- Rotisserie burner and spit - A must-have accessory. Expand your cooking potential exponentially with an infrared rotisserie burner. You can cook whole chickens, large cuts of meat, shish kabobs, and more to juicy perfection on a grill with rotisserie.
- Side burners - Instead of running back and forth to the kitchen to check your side dishes, add a handy side burner to your grill. Use it for everything you can’t cook easily on a grill. You can even get the wok going.
- Ceramic “Moon Rok” grill briquettes - The latest in modern grilling, ceramic “Moon Rok” grill briquettes ensure even and constant heat distribution and superior smoke control. Because they absorb and retain heat, you can use a lower flame and save on gas. They’re easy to clean and pretty much last forever.
- High-quality grill tools - Resist the urge to skimp when it comes to the quality of your wire brushes, tongs, and grill spatulas. Especially the brush. Cheap or old wire brushes can have bristles break off and possibly end up in your food, which is not good. Buy nice tools and they’ll last you a lifetime.
- Piezo match-free ignition - Avoid finding and fiddling with matches to light your grill. All our PGS grill products feature piezo match-free starters as standard equipment.
- Use a proper grill cover - Make sure you protect your investment from the elements with a quality grill cover made to fit your model grill.
Tips For Cooking On Your Grill
Now that you’ve got your equipment squared away, it’s time to get cooking. Here are some helpful hints to get you started.
- Preheat your grill. Turn the burners on high for 10-15 minutes or until the temperature reaches 500 degrees. This makes it easier to clean off old food bits and helps to sear your meat and keep it from sticking to the grill.
- Season and marinate gently. Gently rubbing in seasoning will help to avoid damaging the texture and fibers of the meat as well as overseasoning. Marinating food for more than about two hours can result in a soft and mushy texture. Many people make the mistake of marinating the meat overnight.
- Hold off on the sauce. No, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a drink while you're cooking. It means you should avoid the temptation of slathering on the BBQ sauce at the start, which can cause it to burn. Wait until the last 30 minutes of grilling to add it.
- Use a meat thermometer. Undercooked meat is not only unpalatable, it can also be dangerous. Use a meat thermometer to make sure your meat is at the recommended safe interior temperature. If you don’t have one, make a cut and check the meat near the bone. If it’s still pink, it’s not done.
- Keep the grill hood down. This keeps the meat from drying out and speeds up cooking time and prevents flare-ups by keeping oxygen to a minimum. It also keeps smoke and flavorful vapors close to the meat.
- Keep your grill clean. Professionals always take pains to keep their tools clean and in good condition. A backyard grill master should do no less. It’ll be easier if you clean it with your brush while the grill is still warm.
Buy the best equipment you can afford and practice your skills regularly and you too will soon be a backyard grilling pro.