I’ll preface this by saying that in no way am I an expert, but I do produce better meat on the grill now than I did ten years ago. Here are some of the things I’ve learned along the way. All of these pertain to gas grilling because that’s all I do.
- Be a nerd. It’s ok to use a timer and a thermometer. I set the timer to count up and it’s an easy reminder of how long things have been on the grill as I wander around with Elijah or get distracted with something else. And the thermometer is handy because I’ve never developed a good eye* for telling when something is done just right. The thermometer is a handy way to know that we aren’t eating something too raw or that I haven’t left it on too long.
- Get a grill basket. It’s such an easy way to make a delicious side item for your meal. You can learn more in a previous post.
- Splurge on a good grill. I suffered with cheap gas grills for years because that’s all I knew existed. I thought all gas grills flared up all the time and needed tons of replacement parts every couple years. Then I finally bit the bullet and paid for a Weber Genesis. That was over 3 years ago, and even with year round grilling, it’s still in incredible shape. If you can’t afford one right now, at least stop spending money on cheap grills and save your pennies until can buy one. Grilling is so much more fun when you’re not hating your grill.
- Keep it clean. The joke is that all the leftover crusties “add flavor” but that’s just the lazy talking. I go over the grates before and after grilling just to keep things pretty clean. A couple times a year, I’ll take the grates out and give them a good cleaning along with the drip pan underneath.
- Don’t burn it off. I used to think that you should clean your grill by cranking up the heat and letting it burn off. I actually chatted about this with a representative from Weber after I got my new grill and was strongly advised against it. Those crazy high temperatures for long periods of time put a lot of stress on the various components of your grill and will lead to an early demise.
- Practice! Practice helps you get more consistent with your successes and besides, it’s delicious!
- Buy good meat. There’s only so much you can do with that 1/4″ thick slab of random animal in the discount bin. Visit your local butcher and experience the difference. Yes, you can spend lots of money, but there are plenty of good deals to be found too. For example, at Golden Steer in Bellevue, head to the left side of the display case and look at the various marinated options. They are some of our favorites and they’re also a really good deal for what you get.
* The exception to this was my time at Dairy Queen. After grilling thousands of the exact same meat patties, you figure it out.