Summer means barbeque and to me nothing is more BBQ than Fourth of July and Labor Day. Here’s 5 tips you can use to not screw up your barbeque feast.
1) Preheat your gas grill. It’s common knowledge that you have to wait for your charcoal to turn from black to white/red before you start grilling. Gas grills need to heat up before you put anything on the grill, and if you don’t take the time to do this you will find that you are not able to cook reliably as the heat from the burners is being dispersed into the mass of the grill rather than into the meat you are cooking. 20 minutes of preheating will save you heartache at grilling time.
2) Don’t over-season the meat. BBQ imparts unique flavors as a result of the cooking method. Don’t overthink this, leave the fancy rubs in the pantry. Chicken and pork can benefit from spices and rubs, but is best with salt and pepper. Beef begs for nothing more than coarse kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Lamb is best with fine salt. Fish depends on the variety, salt and pepper will do the trick here.
3) Heat is your friend, not a weapon. I see barbeque novices make a fundamental mistake when they crank the heat to 11 and slap the meat on. Searing is a method for starting or finishing meat on the grill, not cooking it through. Pre-heat the grill and then lower the heat, and build direct and indirect heat zones by adjusting the burners in a gas grill and massing charcoal in a traditional grill. Seat and cook with indirect heat, or cook and then sear. Either method will work.
4) Use an instant read thermometer. There are many methods for determining if something is done, but even an experienced pitmaster can only guess when a piece of meat is medium rare or medium well. An instant read thermometer is an investment that will find use in the kitchen as well as the BBQ, I like the Thermapen line.
5) Don’t barbeque everything. Yes, you read that correctly. Just because you have a bbq doesn’t mean you have to use it for everything. Some cuts of meat just don’t bbq well, and ribs are in this group. I do ribs on my smoker, not on the grill and if all I had is a grill then I’d wrap the ribs in foil and do everything possible to keep them moist and away from a direct flame.