Whether you just got a new grill or your just looking for some tips and tricks, here is a complete guide on how to use a grill. Learn everything from starting the grill to cooking meat and veggies and everything in between!
With Memorial Day around the corner, people all over the country will be firing up their grills! Which is great, unless you don’t know how to use a grill. It can be intimidating if you’ve never grilled before, or if you’ve really only stumbled your way through a couple of times.
This beginner’s guide to grilling gives you some of our favorite grilling tips. Enjoy a nice steak or some grilled veggies alongside the rest of the nation this summer in confidence by reading these tips!
Clean the Grill
Starting off with a clean grill is super important when it comes to grilling your food. You wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) cook in a dirty pan, so don’t cook on a dirty grill. Not only can it cause your freshly grilled food to have old food remnants on it, but it could also result in flare-ups that can end up burning your food.
Cleaning your grill is simple and should only take a couple of minutes if you stay up on it.
- Get a grill brush to get all the stuck-on food off the grill rack. I really like this grill brush as it doesn’t use bristles so you don’t have to worry about broken pieces of the brill brush getting into your food.
- Before starting the grill, put some high-heat cooking oil on a folded paper towel and rub it on the grilling grate. You can also purchase grill wipes to clean and oil your grill.
- Preheat your grill on high for 10-15 minutes. This will give it a darker appearance and help “season” the grate. This will create a nice non-stick surface and will make sure any and all bits of food are removed before you fire up the grill.
- After grilling, use the grill brush to remove any stuck-on food debris and apply another thin coat of high-heat cooking oil to the grill grate.
- Your grill might also be equipped with a grill drip pan / cup. Make sure to empty this after it has cooled each time you grill to make sure it doesn’t overflow.
As long as you’re making sure to clean and oil your grill after each use, you shouldn’t have to worry about your food sticking to the grate or your grill flaring up from old food debris and oils.
Lighting the Grill
This seems silly, but it is a beginner’s guide on how to use a grill, after all. Here are complete instructions on how to start both a propane and charcoal grill.
How To Start A Gas Grill
- For a gas grill, you will need to turn the propane tank on first. Simply turn the valve counter-clockwise until it is turned all the way on.
- On the grill heat control knob (like what you find on the front of your oven), press it inward and turn it to the left. The ignition switch is sometimes built into the knob itself and will light the grill as soon as you turn it. Otherwise, your grill might also be equipped with a dedicated ignition button. Refer to your grill’s manual to find out what type of ignition switch it has.
- Once it’s lit, turn on the other burners until the whole grill is lit. You can then use can use the knobs to adjust the level of heat you will be cooking with. Sometimes the grill won’t start with the first click, so you may need to move the knob back and forth a few times get it to light.
- When you are done grilling, turn each burn knob to the off position and then turn off the propane tank.
How To Start A Charcoal Grill
- Start by removing the grill grate and piling fresh charcoal in the grill in a pyramid-like mound. You can simplify this process by using a charcoal chimney starter.
- Add lighter fluid to the pile of coals and light them immediately with a grill lighter. Do not add more lighter fluid once the coals have been lit! The flame can follow the stream of lighter fluid to the came, causing it to explode. If you’d like to avoid using lighter fluid entirely, you can purchase match light charcoal.
- Allow the coals to burn for about 10-15 minutes. Once they are mostly covered in ash, use a long grill brush or tongs to spread the coals out in an even layer.
- Using either grilling gloves or long grilling tongs, place the grilling grate back on the grill.
Prepare Your Meat or Vegetables
After the grill is lit, you need to allow it to warm up like you would a pan on the stove. While it’s warming, you can prepare your meat and vegetables.
- Pat your meat dry with a paper towel, and then season both sides liberally using salt and pepper or your favorite grill seasoning.
- Use a tray or large plate to take your meat out to the grill.
- Use tongs to place the meat on the grill, allowing plenty of space between each piece. This not only makes the meat cook more evenly, but it makes it much easier to flip the meat.
- Flip the meat halfway through the cooking time.
- If you’re cooking vegetables, unless they’re large, you will most likely need to use a grill basket or tin foil.
- Don’t be afraid to use tin foil! Tinfoil will cook vegetables that are already cut up. Add some butter and some seasonings to the foil packets and let them cook, your vegetables will be moist and delicious!
Set a Timer
The best way to cook your meats evenly is to set a timer so you know when to flip them. Weber has a great guide on how long meats should be cooked by weight, to give you an idea of time. Set a timer, and stay near the grill. When the timer goes off, flip the meats or vegetables using the tongs, and then set the timer again.
How Long Does It Take To Cook On The Grill?
Grill time all depends on what it is that you’re grilling. Here is a general breakdown of grill times:
- Ribeye Steak – 7 to 9 minutes
- New York Strip Steak – 10 to 12 minutes
- Burgers (beef, 3/4 inch thick) – 8 to 10 minutes
- Pork Chops – 10 to 12 minutes
- Ribs – 35 to 40 minutes
- Boneless Chicken Breasts – 10 to 12 minutes
- Fish Fillets – 6 to 8 minutes
- Vegetables – 4 to 10 minutes (depending on the vegetable)
To ensure food doneness and safeness, us a grill thermometer to ensure it has reached the appropriate internal temperature. Your thermometer should come with a list of the appropriate internal temperatures for your preferred doneness.
Don’t Be Afraid of Fire
When you’re cooking meat on the grill, there’s gonna be a little fire licking at the edges of your meat. This is one of the most important tips in the Beginner’s Guide on how to use a grill. As long as its not a raging inferno, you should be fine. A little char on the meat gives it that smoky grill flavor and is desirable. Don’t be afraid to let it sit in the heat for a bit. Keep an eye on it, and let it cook.
Remove Food From the Grill
The last tip in our Beginner’s Guide to Grilling is about removing food from the grill.
- Once the timers go off, immediately remove the food from the grill. If you allow items to stay resting on the grill, even if you turn the heat off, you will dry your meat out, and it will be tough.
- Place all your food back on a large tray like before, and bring it inside.
- If you’re waiting on other dishes to finish before eating, cover your grilled foods and place them somewhere warm (like in an oven set to 200 °F) so their temperature stays optimal.
So whether you’re brand new to grilling or just looking to brush up on your grilling etiquette for the summer, this guide on how to use a grill is sure to have you grilling like a pro! Make sure to share this guide with your friends on Facebook and Pinterest so they can be ready as well!