Barbecuing is a beloved American pastime. But are your BBQ feasts as amazing as they could be? Choosing the country’s best burgers, steaks, ribs, brisket, sausage and other grilling greats courtesy of FoodyDirect is just the start. Read on for nine tasty and lesser-known tips aimed at helping you take your next barbecue to the next level.
1. Use the Right Heat Source
Many home cooks struggle with choosing between direct and indirect heating methods. Experts offer up this simple rule of thumb: If the cooking time is less than 20 minutes, direct heat is the way to go. If it’s more than 20 minutes, go with indirect heat instead.
2. Prep, Prep, Prep
Grilling is one of summer’s most relaxing pursuits…unless you don’t have all of your ingredients prepped, that is. Spare yourself unnecessary stress and running back and forth to the kitchen by having everything you need at the ready.
3. Have Toppings-Ready Burgers
Are your burgers less than shapely? Burgers can sometimes lose their flatness while cooking on the grille. While the puffed up shape doesn’t affect taste, it can cause toppings to pile off. Using the back of a spoon to press a small indentation into raw patties before they go onto the grill can help them remain a level surface for loading on the toppings.
4. Rock Your Ribs
Think ribs are out of your wheelhouse? Think again. The key to achieving tender and flavorful ribs with the rich, dark, deep, chewy “bark” everyone craves is all about a “low and slow” approach. Succulent ribs take several hours to reach perfection. Just be sure to wait until the last 10 minutes or so to add tomato-based sauces which contain sugar. Otherwise, your ribs may blacken, burn and become bitter.
5. Stick with Stainless
Many barbecue sauces and other go-to grilling marinades are heavy in acidic ingredients. Unfortunately, these can react if not used with non-reactive cookware. Stainless steel is a smart solution — not only is it non-reactive, but it’s dishwasher safe and doesn’t retain odors.
6. Sear Smart
A glorious sear is essential to achieving optimal texture and taste. For starters, make sure your steaks are dry on both side. Otherwise, they’ll steam, not sear — and that sought-after crispiness won’t happen. Also, while it’s hard to resist checking in on the state of your steaks, let them be while they cook. And remember: The bigger the steak, the more seasoning you’ll need. Don’t be afraid of a liberal sprinkling of salt, pepper and other seasonings.
7. Be Patient for Perfection
While you may want to invite your guests to dig in as soon as your culinary creations are done, avoid this temptation and allow cooked meat to rest for at least five minutes to maximize juiciness.
8. Crank it Up
There’s nothing like the satisfyingly smoky taste of an authentic char. The best way to get it? Crank up the temperature on your grill and let it do its thing. Super-thick cuts are an exception to this rule, however, because they will burn before cooking through if grilled at high temperatures. Not sure how to tell whether your grill is hot enough? The Cook’s Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue recommends this tip: Hold your hand five inches above the grate. If you can keep it there for three to four seconds, the fire is “medium-hot.” If you can only tolerate it for two seconds or so, your grill is officially “hot.”
9. Save a Space
Your grill may be loaded up with all sorts of deliciousness, but always leave a small unheated space. This way, when a flare-up occurs or if your burgers, steaks or ribs are cooking too quickly, you have a convenient place to move them.
Anyone can grill, but can anyone grill to professional-quality perfection? You can — with a little help from these nine tips…and FoodyDirect. Shop an extensive selection of barbecue favorites at FoodyDirect today. And while you’re there, don’t forget the gourmet ice cream and gelato to complete the consummate meal.