First of all, let me tell you Secret One. Just because you are a guy (don't worry Ladies just keep reading) you are not born with a gene that makes you a great griller. I know that there is this belief by many that men are born with this skill. It simply isn't true. If you buy a gas grill and expect to turn out something great the first time you are being a little naive. Successful grilling takes practice. (Ladies, nearly 40% of all grilling these days is being done by you so don't take a backseat.)
Secret Two: Practice, practice, practice. I know a lot of people who fire up their gas grill a few times a year and then wonder why they have problems. If should seem obvious. Like any skill it takes time and practice so take Tuesday Nights dinner out to the grill and get some practice before you invite all your friends to a cookout.
- Uncover your grill and turn on the gas supply.
- Turn on the control valves to high and light the grill (follow your grills instruction manual).
- Preheat your grill. A good grill should be hot in about 10 minutes.
- Take a grill brush and clean off the cooking surface.
- Place your food on the hot grill and stick around. These foods will cook quickly and if you leave you run the risk of burning what you are grilling.
- Flip when necessary and remove when done.
- Leave the grill running on high for a few minutes.
- Take your grill brush and clean off the cooking surface.
- Turn off the control valves and fuel supply.
- Allow the grill to completely cool and replace the cover.
Open or Closed? Most gas grills work best with the lid closed. Only with the lid down can they generate the kind of intense heat necessary for high temperature grilling. Of course you must have the lid down for lower temperature cooking to get foods cooked through to the middle and for indirect grilling.
Grilling Everything Else: For Fish, chicken, vegetables, and fruit you want to turn down the heat and grill slower (but follow the basic instructions above). Depending on your grill a setting between medium and low on the control valves is probably right, but you are going to have to keep an eye on the food to make sure it is not burning. Practice will let you know how to set your grill for these more delicate foods.
Indirect: Indirect grilling lets you grill all those things that take too long to sit directly over a live fire. Live roasting in your oven, indirect grilling takes time and a controlled temperature. To set up your gas grill for indirect grilling, simply turn on some of the burners while leaving the others off. What you need is enough space to place what you are grilling (like a roast or whole chicken) to sit on the grill without out any of the burners under it on. If you have a large grill with several burners it is best to place this food in the middle and light the burners on either side. If your gas grill is too small for this, place the food on one side and light the burner on the other. You will have to rotate the food to get it to cook evenly. Read Indirect versus Direct Grilling for more information.
Aside from these basics there are a couple of other things you should know to be an expert gas griller:
- Read your Gas Grill's manual. There is a lot of grills out there that function very different so you need to understand how your grill works.
- Keep your grill clean. A clean grill doesn't flare-up as much and cooks better.
- Practice. Did I say this already?
- Experiment. You can grill almost anything so be adventurous.
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