4 Tips for Perfect Barbecue

4 Tips for Perfect Barbecue

We have all been to a summer barbecue where the ribs were dry, or the burgers were burnt.  You just had pool service, the lawn mowed and the trees trimmed, and you are ready to host the family for a barbecue this summer and want everything to be absolutely perfect, showing up your brother in law isn’t a bad thing!  Here are four tips for the ideal barbecue to get it right every time.

  1. Get a Smoker

If you want that genuine smoky flavor, then you’re going to need a smoker.  You can probably grab one from Home Depot or another big box home improvement store.  You have plenty of models to choose from along with different options as far as wood chips and flavor.  Smokers can run the gamut from relatively cheap up to thousands of dollars.

  1. Take Your Time

Whether you use the smoker or the regular grill for cooking your meat, you are going to want to take your time.  Delicious barbecue takes hours.  Realistically it can take anywhere from 4 hours for ribs to the entire day for a good brisket.

  1. Develop a Good Rub

Your meat needs seasoning; this is done beforehand by mixing together spices and rubbing them into the meat.  You can let it sit with the rub on in your fridge overnight before you cook.  A good rub is a closely guarded secret, and every barbecue master has their own.  Scour the internet looking for one that looks good and don’t be afraid to experiment.

  1. Only Add Sauce at the End

If you want those juicy ribs that are dripping with sauce, then you need to apply it liberally at the end.  Most barbecue aficionados will make their own, and like the recipe for the rub, they may not want to share their secrets.  Find a good cookbook with barbecue recipes and try out a couple of different sauces.  You also need to be careful with the sugar.  Barbecue sauce usually has a ton of sugar even the spicy sauces; sugar will burn reasonably quickly so you want to put it on at the very end or you will end up with meat that looks and tastes like charcoal.

Barbecuing isn’t tricky, but you’re going to need some patience, and these grilling tips will help.  So the next family gathering where you’re in charge of the grill you can wow your friends and family with your new grilling skills.


Basic Grilling Tools

Basic Grilling Tools

Unless you have spent your life living under a rock, you have no doubt had to barbecue at some point in time.  Everybody has tried both delicious and lousy barbecue.  However, knowing what good barbecue tastes like and doing it yourself are two completely different things.  If you want to have a good barbecue, then it starts with having the right tools.  You are also going to need to know how to use them.

Where to Buy Them

You can probably get most of your barbecue tools from the same place you bought your barbecue or gas grill.  Home Improvement stores will have all kinds of barbecue equipment on the shelves when spring rolls around.  If you live in the south where barbecue is a cultural phenomenon, there are stores dedicated to grill and barbecue accessories.  Not only will they have the basics, but they will also have some pretty neat things for your barbecue like different rubs for your meat.

What You Need

Barbecuing doesn’t require you to have a cupboard or even a drawer full of tools, but here are a couple of basics that you will need to make the perfect dinner.

  • Basting Brushes: If you cook on the grill regularly then at some point you’re going to want to get yourself a good set of basting brushes. Basting is a crucial part of making barbecue taste delicious. Get a set of brushes in different sizes so you can use them for different cuts of meat.
  • Grilling Tongs: You may think you don’t need them because you can get by with using a fork or a spatula.  But tongs will keep you from burning your hands when trying to flip meat while using a fork and since most are made from stainless steel you can use them to move coals around to keep the heat even.
  • Barbecue Fork: Like the tongs, a fork is an essential piece of equipment for turning and lifting the meat off the grill.
  • Grill Brush: Cleaning your grill is part and parcel of grill maintenance, you will need a good steel brush to clean off burnt on and leftover food after cooking.
  • Wide Spatula: Not everything you cook will be able to be flipped with tongs or a fork, and for that, you’re going to need a spatula. Get a wider one; they can flip smaller foods like burgers or more prominent, more delicate food like fish.

There are plenty of different tools you can get for the barbecue, but these are the basics you will need to make great food and to do it safely.

Cleaning Your Grill

Taking Care of Your Grill

Barbecue and summer go hand in hand, but if you want to keep grilling throughout the summer months then taking care of your grill needs to be a priority.  The grill really isn’t a complicated piece of equipment but if you look after it, it will last for years.  Gas grills are fairly easy to clean but the charcoal grills are going to be a bit more work.  Let’s look at what you need to do to take care of your grill.

Tools You Will Need

Maintaining your grill really boils down to keeping it clean and protected so here are the tools you will need to keep it clean all season long.

  • Wire Brush
  • Steel Wool
  • Dish Soap
  • Baking Soda
  • Cooking Oil
  • Sponge

Cleaning Your Grill

After you have used your grill and you have shut the gas off and the grill is cooling down then you will use the wire brush to clean off any food debris.  Doing this on a regular basis keeps food residue from building up and making it impossible to clean later.  Get all of the food debris off of the rack, keeping these clean is important this is the part of the grill your food touches.  Once you have brushed off all of the burnt food then you want to wash them in hot soapy water and use the steel wool to remove any remaining food.  Rinse your grills well and make sure there is no soap left behind.  Here is a look at cleaning your grill.

The more that you put off cleaning your barbecue grill the harder it will be to get clean.  To keep your grill working properly you will want to take a couple of minutes and clean after every time you cook on it.  Failing to clean it regularly is the most common reasons that people have problems with their grills.  If you find that your grill isn’t working the way it should, give it a good clean before calling in a repair person.

Lastly, you will need to protect your grill from the weather.  There are tons of different grill covers that you can get at your local hardware store.  Once you have finished cleaning your grill then you can put the cover over it to protect it from the rain.  If you only use the grill seasonally and it is too cold in the winter to grill then you may want to move it to the garage, if not then make sure it is tightly covered for the winter season.

Which is Better, Gas or Charcoal?

Which is Better, Gas or Charcoal?

Summer is all about getting together with friends and family and enjoying a good barbecue.  Classic barbecue recipes, the smell of the grill and enjoying some great food with people you love make some of the best memories.  But, the endless debate comes up at every family barbecue no matter which part of the country you live in, which is better, gas or charcoal?  Let’s look at both and see which one will better suit your tastes.

Gas Grills

Gas grills are nothing if not convenient.  The grill is often made from stainless steel with a propane tank underneath.  It is extremely easy to use and clean up after you are done cooking is a breeze.  There is no ashes left behind to clean up and all you will need is some dish soap and a good barbecue scrub brush to clean up.  They heat up in just a couple of minutes and when you have a big, starving family to feed you’ll appreciate that.  You can also control the temperature by adjusting the amount of gas.  The downside, they are pricier to buy and you won’t want to lug them back and forth between home and the cottage.

Charcoal Grills

If you are over 30 or you have ever been camping then you have probably used a charcoal barbecue at some point in time.  You can buy the disposable ones at hardware for weekend camping trips.  Those kinds make cleanup easy as you just throw them out when you’re done.  However they are not the easiest to use and it can take ages before they are hot enough to cook on.   If you have the more durable permanent charcoal grill you will still have wait for it to heat up, you will spend a fair bit of time cleaning it and you can’t control the flame or the cooking temperature.  They are inexpensive and you can take them with you to the cottage easily.

At this point you’re probably wondering why anyone would ever bother to use a charcoal grill since it seems like far more trouble than they are worth.  The answer is simple…food just tastes better.  There is also a certain sentimentality attached to using an old fashioned barbecue reminding us of cookouts where the smell used to make your mouth water.

Now which one you choose is up to you, will you trade off the smell and taste for convenience?  The truth is, there is nothing stopping you from having both!