7 Tips for Easy Grilling on a Gas Barbecue
As with all cooking, grilling correctly is a culinary art and processes depend on the kind of barbecue being used. Charcoal grills require a different approach compared to gas barbecues. Although you may be an experienced griller, make sure to follow our 7 tips to successfully barbecue with gas and avoid problems.
1. Start with a clean grill
Keeping a grill clean and maintaining it with care will extend the life of your barbecue, and grill results will be better.
Any pieces of food that might have fallen into the grill should be removed. Grates should be scrubbed thoroughly after each barbecue party to avoid food from being burned at the next grill session. This will reduce fire flare-ups and unnecessary smoking as well as unhealthy burned flavours to your new barbecued food. Avoid food sticking with clean grates and produce clear grill marks. Luckily there are lots of bbq tools and accessories to make it an easy job.
2. Check the fuel
Gas barbecues do not require a lot of preparation, simply turn them on and light. Take care though to ensure you have enough fuel to keep the party going as running out of gas in the middle of a grilling session means an inconvenient trip to the shops and hungry guests. For correct instructions regarding fuel check the equipment manual. Most likely propane or natural gas will be required depending on your grill installation. Propane is more powerful for grilling and natural gas is more suitable for gas cookers.
3. Control the temperature
Control the temperature and get your gas grill ready to cook. Not all cuts are cooked at high temperatures, and smaller cuts such as fish, or roasted foods can cook over a medium to low heat. Multiple burners are ideal to create direct and indirect heat zones and can be controlled separately.
- If your barbecue has a lid, open it and then open the valve of the gas cylinder.
- Turn on the gas to get it moving into the ignition chamber before lighting it.
- The burners should start immediately.
- Turn to medium or high and close the lid to pre-heat the barbecue for 10-15 minutes.
- Once the desired temperature is reached, reduce the heat to the required temperature needed for your recipe, and start cooking.
- Use the lid to create an oven for larger pieces or if you want to bake something on the grill.
- Grills often have a top rack inside the lid which is perfect for indirect grilling or to keep cooked food warm.
4. The art of searing
Searing meat, whether grilling or pan-frying, is the only way to lock in flavours. The grill should be turned to high and will turn the meat to a golden-brown colour with obvious grill marks. The searing process is short and will only take one minute on each side to caramelise the outer part of any cut of beef, lamb, or pork. The cooking process can be finished on a lower heat or at an indirect heat zone.
- The meat should be dry for easier browning and to reduce smoke forming.
- Take the meat from the fridge before cooking, 10 to 15 minutes should be sufficient.
- Leave space in between pieces of meat on the grill to allow heat to reach to the edges of the meat.
- Leave the lid open during searing, the same way as when pan-frying.
5. Food safety
Basic food safety rules should also be followed during a barbecue party.
- Start by keeping your cooking area clean.
- Use separate dishes to carry raw meat and cooked meat and avoid cross contamination.
- Use a good meat thermometer to cook food at correct temperatures. An infra-red thermometer will also indicate the exact temperature of your grill.
- Depending on how you like your food cooked, approximate safety food temperatures start from 118°F (48°C) for fish, from 143-158°F (62-70°C) for poultry, 133-158°F (56-70°C) for lamb, 145-162°F (62-72°C) for pork, and between 125 – 145°F (52-62°C) for beef.
6. Maintenance is important
Cleaning a grill after each grill session is important, as is additional maintenance to ensure long lasting performing equipment. It is important to conduct a full inspection of all the internal parts. Burners should be attached to unclogged ports to allow the flames to come out of the holes evenly. A thin wire or pipe cleaner can help to unclog and clear areas. Igniters need to work properly and produce a good spark for easy lighting of the barbecue.
Before storing your grill for the next party, coat the cooking surfaces with a little cooking oil.
Great tips. I’m not a big grill person, so these tips are helpful to me if I ever decide to start grilling