Most men love the idea of cooking on the grill, but why should they have all the fun? If you want to show the world that you too, can barbecue, but are running a bit low on confidence, you’re in luck: we’ve put together an easy-to-use guide to mastering the art of grilling!
A basic “how-to”
No need to worry about leaping flames and explosive charcoal briquettes if you follow these simple steps:
Before starting, make sure you have the utensils you’ll need. A spatula, a fork, and metal tongs with a long handle (to keep your hands away from the fire) are what you should have on hand. Also, make sure that there are enough charcoal briquettes in the barbecue, and that they are evenly spread out; this will help the food cook evenly.
Open the top of the barbecue and the valve of the gas tank (to avoid the accumulation of gas). The proper direction to turn the valve to open and close it should be indicated on the gas tank itself. Simple as that!
Set the temperature to the highest setting, and wait a few seconds for the gas chamber to fill up. Press on the “start” button (the lighter) firmly until you see flames appear. You may have to press twice before it works. If on the third try you’re still unsuccessful, read the following note.
N.B. It’s not uncommon that the “start” button doesn’t work, in which case you’ll need to give it a little help. That’s where things get a bit more complicated, but don’t panic! Use a barbecue lighter and bring the flame near the charcoal while pressing the “start” button. Don’t use a regular cigarette lighter, otherwise you risk burning yourself.
Close the top and wait for the grill to heat up to about 500°F. All the burners must be on “high” for the barbecue to reach the desired temperature quickly. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes, don’t go too fast and place food on the grill before it’s ready. When the charcoal turns greyish, that’s a good way to know that the barbecue is at an optimal temperature.
When it’s time to start cooking, you can reduce the intensity of the fire to “medium” or “low”, according to the type of food you’re grilling.
Once you’re done grilling, don’t forget to close the gas valve.
Clean the grill with a special barbecue steel brush when you’re done.
Cooking on the barbecue is open to almost endless possibilities, and whipping up something delicious is easy as pie (which you could probably barbecue, too). Here’s how:
Choose a favourite cut of meat; it could be chicken, beef, pork, or even game. Let it marinate for a few hours before cooking, or simply prepare it using some spices. A very important rule is to never flip the same piece of meat over more than once when cooking—it could make it less tender.
Choose your favourite veggies. Chop them up and put them on a piece of aluminium foil lined with a bit of olive oil to keep them from sticking. You can prepare a baked potato on the grill the same way you would in the oven. Corn on the cob is also great when grilled on the barbecue; cover it with butter, a bit of salt, and even onions, then wrap it in three layers of aluminium foil and place it on the grill.
Cooking on the grill generally takes less time than it would in the oven. Here are the recommended cooking times for a few types of meat:
*Hamburger (3/4” thick): 4 to 5 minutes per side (medium) or 5 to 8 minutes per side (well-done) on medium heat.
*Steak (1” thick): 3 to 5 minutes per side (medium) or 4 to 6 minutes per side (well-done) on medium heat.
*Chicken breast (6 oz): 4 to 6 minutes per side on medium heat.
*Turkey (2-5 lbs): 30 minutes per pound on low heat.
*Chops (1 ½” thick): 7-8 minutes per side on medium heat.
*Chops (1/2”):4 to 5 minutes per side (medium) or 8 to 10 minutes per side (well-done) on medium heat.
So, what are you waiting for to light up that grill?!