Recently updated on October 25th, 2022 at 11:00 am
For many people, barbecuing is more than a simple hobby. They get some of the best grills and tools available in order to create some of the most delicious and aesthetically pleasing dishes. They often put a lot of time and effort into getting all the right ingredients and tools to stand out and impress others, so the little errors that can decrease a meal’s quality are often fixed and perfected.
It isn’t only the people who prioritize aesthetically pleasing barbecued meals that get the most out of grilling tips and tricks. Even something as simple as using a different oil with a much higher smoking point can change how the final grilled meal tastes. Many of the tips and tricks that chefs and pitmasters use not only make the food taste and look better but also become just a bit healthier than you expect.
When it comes to all things BBQ Canada, the tools and accessories play a big role in how well your food is grilled, but so do the little tricks. So, to help you boost your barbecuing game and create some of the best meals, we’ve collected some of the top grilling tips that many chefs and pitmasters use to create their own works of food art!
1. Brine your meats
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One of these tips that you can try the next time you barbecue is to brine the meat before grilling it. Brining itself involves adding salt to the meat, either together in a mixture of salt and water or just using salt. While the process adds flavor to the meat from the inside out, the salt also breaks down some of the meat’s proteins, allowing it to become much moister. When you brine pork chops, chicken, and any other leaner cuts of meat, it lets the meat withstand a much higher temperature than it could before.
2. Use mayo for your seafood
When it comes to grilling fish, a lot of things can spontaneously go wrong. Since the fish’s meat is much more delicate than pork or beef, any time it sticks to the grate is a high-risk chance of the meat falling apart and creating a big mess. One tip many chefs have in order to help prevent the fish’s presentation from getting ruined and a mess from happening is to use a thin layer of mayo.
This may act as a barrier between the fish and the grate, making it much easier to get your spatula or tongs underneath it when you go to flip it over. Since one of the ingredients in mayo is oil, the mayo has a lower chance of burning and charring – though oil itself is always the best choice. And, to make the deal sweeter, the mayo will also add some flavor to the fish, much like adding tartar sauce!
3. Soak any starch-heavy veggies in water
As one of the many veggies that people toss onto their grill, potatoes are often quite dry or crumbly when they’re finally served. Dry, barbecued potatoes served as a side dish for a – relatively – dry steak can make a meal less appetizing and may need more drinks served, too.
While dry potatoes aren’t a very big deal, fewer people are aware that there is a type of carcinogen that forms when starchy foods are cooked at the high temperatures grills use. By soaking the potatoes – or even broccoli – in a water and vinegar mix, you can reduce how much acrylamide is created.
4. Don’t press your burgers down
When you’re grilling burgers, you might find that the center frequently puffs or balloons up. Whenever that happens, many people press down on it to even the entire burger out. In some cases, even if the center of the burger doesn’t rise up, people press down on them anyway to really get the underside cooking or charred. Unfortunately, that isn’t what you should be doing. By pressing down on the burgers, you end up losing the juices that make them moist and delicious.
5. Try not to cook from frozen
If you grill burgers or other cuts of meat straight out of the freezer, there’s a high chance that it’ll take far too long to cook fully. While it can be far easier to just toss them onto a hot grill, the time it takes for all the ice and frozen water to properly melt away can have you waiting half an hour or even longer before you finally see the meat cooking. In many cases, the water dripping off the meat can end up doing much more harm than good and can lead to massive flare-ups.
6. Simmer your sausages and hotdogs in water first
Hotdogs and sausages are one of the many well-loved food options at barbecues. They’re incredibly customizable like burgers and are just as easy to cook and make look appealing. However, all that can go to waste if the hotdog or sausage casing pops open on the grill. Not only does it ruin the grill marks some people strive to get, but it also can create a big charred mess.
In order to prevent that, many chefs and pitmasters recommend first soaking them in cold water for a few minutes before bringing them to a simmer. You can then grill the hotdogs and sausages after they cool. The entire process brings the sausages to medium doneness and makes sure that the casings are properly set first. The barbecuing process naturally adds some char, crispiness, and flavor when you decide to cook it the rest of the way.
These are just some of the many different grilling tips and tricks that chefs and pitmasters have to share. While many of these are simple hacks to make grilling easier, there are also a few more commonly known tips that are highly important to beginner pitmasters.
Always keep a meat thermometer on hand to check your meat’s internal temperature, since the best way to make sure it’s safe is to judge by internal temps first. Also, always clean the grates after every use, since this can get you perfect grill lines and also prevent your grates from rusting.
Many of these tips also are ways to ensure that your food is delicious but also safe to eat, so don’t skimp out on them!