Summer Grilling Guyd: 10 Hacks for Perfect Barbecue

These 10 simple grilling steps can make the different between effective BBQ and an amateur hour hack fest.

John Scott Lewinskiby John Scott Lewinski

Just because you bought the MeisterGrill 3000 with twin searing stations, gamma ray rotisserie and built-in marinade tub with aqua jets, it does not mean you’re a pit master — or even an accomplished griller.

To get the most out of your grilling this summer, you’re gonna need a few good tips. So we turned to Steakhouse Elite. These guys know a thing or two about premium meat, and how to properly prepare it on the grill. So grab your tongs, pop open a cold one, and pay attention:  

1. You Need Heat.

It’s important to get your grill hot enough. Low and slow works great for tough meats and fall-off-the-bone ribs, but for your typical backyard BBQ, you’ll want to get a nice sear on your steaks and burgers. To tell when you’re there, hold your hand 3 inches from the grill grate (NOT close enough to burn yourself, Johnny Storm), and count “1 Mississippi, 2, Mississippi…”  If you’re pulling your hand away before you get to 3, your grill is properly pre-heated.  

2.  Frozen Water Bottles Do Double Duty.

When grilling out at a tailgate, freeze some water bottles the night before. They’ll keep your food cold on the ride to the game, and keep them cold while you party in the lot. And as it melts, you can use the water for cleaning up, drinking, etc.  

3.  Fancy Up Your Dogs.

Stick a skewer through your hot dog, cut some slits around it, introduce it to the flame, and you’ve just created a spiral dog. It’s easier to cook and is a huge hit with the kids.  

4.  Fire In The Hole.

Like most pit masters say, “If you’re lookin’, you ain't cookin’.” So keep the damn lid down. It keeps the heat in and helps eliminate flare ups.  

5. Use Residual Heat.

When you’re done cooking, the grill just doesn’t turn off, right? So use that remaining heat to keep leftover burgers, dogs, and buns, warm.  

6.  Use a Muffin Tin for Condiments.

Here’s a genius gear and space saving tip: Pour ketchup, mustard, mayo, relish and all your other condiments into the “cups” in a muffin tin. The muffin tin will eliminate the number of dishes you have to haul (and clean), and lets you keep all your condiment options in one place.

7.  Put That Empty Six Pack Carrier to Good Use.

No muffin tin? Use that empty cardboard 6-pack container to hold the essentials like mustard, ketchup, napkins, and plastic wear. Keeps them from blowing away too.  

8. No Propane Gage? No Problem.

If you want to check the propane left in the tank but there’s no gauge, try this: Boil some water, tilt the propane tank, and pour the water down the side of the tank.  Now place your hand on the tank where you think the fuel level might be. It’ll feel cooler where there is propane, warmer where the tank is empty—giving you a pretty good estimation of how much is left.  

9.  The Foil Grill Brush Hack.

Forgot your grill brush at home and need to clean bits of seared animal flesh off your grate? Here’s how: Crumple some of that aluminum foil you used to cover the bean dip, down to the size of a golf ball. Grab it with your tongs and brush away.  

10. The Onion Grill Brush Hack.

No foil? While the grill is still hot take an onion (and if you didn’t bring an onion to the party, you aren’t really grilling), slice it in half and use the cut side to scrub residue off the grate. The onion’s oil will help break down the grime on your grill as well as leave some flavor for the next time you grill out.