11 Grilling Hacks for a Better BBQ
You consider yourself an above-average griller. You can cook a steak to the perfect medium-rare and have the low-and-slow method for ribs down pat, yet burgers sometimes get dry and fish flakes off on your grates. Luckily, there's a hack for that. We’ve assembled our favorite grilling hacks and tricks to take your BBQ game to the next level.
1. Put ice on your burgers.
Need a quick way to make a juicy burger? Make ice cubes from beef broth and gently press a cube in the center of each burger once they’re on the grill. The ice will melt and seep into and around the meat, adding moisture and preventing your burger from drying out. Also works with regular ice cubes and a pad of frozen butter.
2. Grate frozen butter into your burger for extra moistness.
This trick is especially helpful if you’re using a lean protein like ground chuck, sirloin, venison, chicken or turkey. The frozen butter will add flavor and moisture to your burgers, even if you have to cook them well-done. To ensure your butter pieces are small enough to not leave pockets in your burgers, throw a stick in the freezer until frozen solid, then grate into burger mixture using a cheese grater. For each pound of meat, plan to use about 5 T of butter or just over half a stick.
Bonus: add more delicious butter flavor to your burgers with our Better Burger Seasoning.
3. Add some trimmings to your burgers.
Fat truly does equal juiciness and flavor. If you really want to take your burgers up a few notches, try adding ground brisket trimmings or pork fatback to your ground beef or pork mixture. Shoot for a 70/30 ratio if you’re cooking your burgers medium-rare to medium-well. Rarer cooks require less fat as it won’t have time to render.
4. Use Doritos to light your coals.
Save the calories and burn your Doritos instead of eating them. If you’re in a pinch and out of newspaper, Doritos make a perfect fire starter. They have the perfect combination of chemicals, powdered flavors, and oil for combustion (and snacking) that lasts long enough to light coals. This trick also works well for getting your campfire lit.
5. Cook your fish on a bed of lemons.
It doesn’t matter how well you grease your grates, fish always seems to stick, especially if you’re using any kind of delicate white fish. Try cooking your fish directly on a bed of lemon slices (about ¼” - ½” thick) to prevent sticking and add a delicious citrusy flavor.
6. Create the perfect crust.
A dry surface is the foundation for getting the perfect crust on your steak. Rub your steaks with a mixture of salt and cornstarch, then freeze for 30 minutes before grilling. The salt and cornstarch will draw moisture to the surface of the meat, where it evaporates—resulting in a perfect crust and tender, juicy center.
7. Keep a foil-wrapped brick handy.Cook your chicken quickly and evenly while keeping the inside tender and skin crispy with this easy hack. Spatchcock a whole chicken or assemble pieces on grill skin-side down. Place foil-wrapped brick on top and grill for 40-45 minutes or until internal temp reaches 165. You can also use your brick for making pressed Cubans and other sandwiches on the grill.
8. Make wine can chicken.
You’ve heard of beer can chicken (we’re big fans), but have you heard of wine can chicken? Canned wine is popping up all over the place, making it easy to switch up the flavor profiles on your up-the-butt chicken. Try a rose paired with an herby rub of thyme, tarragon, and rosemary. Or a white or red wine with a peppery rub like our best-selling California Garlic Pepper.
9. Get wood-fired flavor with wood chips.
While you can’t replace the flavor of food smoked in a real smokehouse, you can get notes of delicious wood smoke from this easy hack. Add wood chips to either a foil packet or disposable foil container, cover with additional foil and cut a few slots to allow ventilation. You can also throw your wood chips directly on your coals, but make sure to soak them first as you don’t want the wood to burn, just smolder.
10. Mist your meat.
Any meat that requires a long cook time (ribs, chicken, roasts) runs the risk of turning dry. To combat dryness and add extra caramelization and flavor, keep a mist bottle of apple juice or apple cider vinegar handy and spray on meat during the grilling process. For extra tang, you can also try using orange juice, cranberry juice or soy sauce.
11. Cook kabobs on springform pans.
You’ve spent all that time marinating your kabobs, only to have it char off on your grill grates. Try placing two springform pan rings (without the bottom) on your grates, then lay your kabob skewers across the top and grill until cooked, flipping periodically.
Get Fired Up
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