Backyard Grilling Tips

Tips To Make Sure Your Backyard BBQ Is Fun for the Whole Family

Though summer will still be with us for a little while longer, (the first day of Fall is September 22nd) August's arrival seems to mark the beginning of the end. Back-to-school sales and the presence of Halloween decorations have started to eek through our local store shelves and online searches, as if pushing the last summer days across the finish line.

Many people mark the end of summer with one final hurrah that centers around the outdoors, with good friends and good food. A backyard barbeque is the perfect final salute to this year's summer. Many of us declare to know the process of barbequing, but how many of us really TRULY know what it takes to be more than an amateur?

While this blog most likely won't make you the next barbeque pit master, or guarantee your spot on the next Food Network program, perhaps at the very least it will give you some soid, foolproof tips to bring your next backyard soiree to the next level. Now that certainly beats just throwing something on the grill, shutting the lid, and hoping for the best - doesn't it?

There are two ways to cook on the grill: direct and indirect

Direct: (450- 600 degrees) Cooking your food directly over the source of heat. This is used when what you are grilling has a cooking time of 20 minutes or less. Burgers, hot dogs, steaks, etc are the ideal candidates for direct grilling.

Indirect: (275 - 350 degrees) Cooking your food adjacent to the heat source. This method is used when what you are grilling has a cooking time of 20 minutes or more. Larger pieces of meat, tougher cuts of BBQ meat, plank fish, smoked foods, etc are ideal for indirect grilling.

If you are able, invest in a grilling thermometer, which will help you achieve the perfect and safe temperature for the meat you are serving.

Perfect meat temperatures:

  • Rare Beef - 125°F
  • Well Done Beef - 160°F
  • Ground Beef Burgers - 160°F
  • Pork - 145°F
  • Chicken - 165°F

The meat's temperature will raise 5 to 10 degrees after being removed from front of the grill, so be sure to keep that in mind when deciding the cooking time

The best herbs to have on hand for grilling:

  • Sage
  • Dill
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Cilantro

Grill Tips 101

  • Start with a clean grill
  • If marinating the meat, be sure to keep it in the refrigerator during this process. Never re-use or baste with the used marinating liquid.
  • Set the meat you are grilling out to come to room temperature. Room temperature meat grills better.
  • At the same time, preheat the grill for 30 minutes
  • If using wood skewers for kebabs, soak the skewers in water for 30 minutes before adding your food, this way the sticks are less likely to burn during the grilling process.
  • Oil the grill, not the food. Also, if grilling veggies or smaller items in a grilling basket, apply oil to the basket.
  • Use the air vents in your grill to control the flame
  • Opening the lid of your grill will cause heat loss, which will affect how evenly your food is cooked. When grilling, avoid opening the lid
  • Flip the meat you are grilling only once (though there are debating reports!)
  • Do not use a fork to flip. Piercing the meat will release the juices
  • Don't flattent the meat while it is cooking, this also releases the juices!
  • Add sauces last (for meats that total 20 minutes or less of grilling time, add 5 minutes before finishing). For meats that require 20 minutes or more, apply in the last 15 minutes of grilling time.
  • Depending on the type of meat you are grilling, be sure to let it rest for approximately 5 to 15 minutes before slicing into it. The larger the piece of meat, the longer the rest period. Use a tin foil tent to keep it warm. Resting allows the juices to redistribute throughout the cut, and you will have a more tender, juicy piece of meat.

If you find yourself not having enough room in your current backyard to host the "End of Summer BBQ" of your dreams, be sure to reach out to the Ask Cathy team. We will find you the perfect backyard oasis for all of your hosting needs for next summer and beyond. Happy grilling!

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