Having a backyard barbecue with friends and family is one of life’s great pleasures. Whether you own a gas grill or charcoal grill, barbecued foods taste great. To help make your cooking experience even more enjoyable, I’ve listed some tips that all backyard chefs should be aware of.
• Before firing up the grill and cooking on it, be sure to spray the grill with a non-stick spray. The last thing you want to have happen is for your chicken to stick to the grill and tear all apart when attempting to turn it over. Another benefit of using a non-stick spray is that it makes clean up so much easier.
• Before you cook your foods on the grill, make sure the grill is properly heated. You want your food cooked throughout. If you are going to be cooking on a gas grill, let it heat up for at least 5 minutes before putting the food on it. For charcoal grills, wait until all of the coals have turned gray before cooking. This usually takes approximately 20-30 minutes.
• Set out your meats on the kitchen counter for 15-20 minutes prior to putting them on the grill. You want the meat to be at room temperature. This allows the meat to cook evenly throughout. One important note though, never leave the meat sitting out for 45 minutes or longer. It can easily spoil.
• When turning your meats over on the grill, never use a fork. Why? If you stick a fork in the meat you’re barbecuing, you will be letting all the juices run out. Be sure to use a spatula, or a pair of barbecue tongs. You may also want to wear a glove to keep from getting your hand burned.
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• If you are going to be basting your foods with a favorite barbecue sauce, wait until the food is nearly cooked before applying. Never apply a sauce when first cooking your meats on the grill. It can make your food dry out completely. You may want to baste your meats an hour or so before cooking them on the grill. This will help seal in the flavors during grilling.
• Are you cooking kabobs on the grill? Make sure you leave some space between each food item on the kabob. This will help everything cook evenly. Another tip is to evenly space out a piece of meat, then a vegetable, etc. This allows the different flavors to spread throughout the kabob. Before removing your kabob from the grill, cut open a piece of meat to be sure it has cooked completely. You sure don’t want to be eating any uncooked meat.
• After your cooking is complete on the grill, you’re going to want to clean it up. The best way is to use a grill scraper. Clean up the grilling surface and wipe everything down. Be careful that you don’t burn yourself while cleaning up.
Backyard barbecuing is a lot of fun. After using some of these tips and experimenting on your own, you’ll discover how to cook some great tasting foods on your grill. Before you know it you’re going to be a barbecue king!
Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Cooking