When the weather gets warm, and the sun comes out, it’s time to have backyard fun. Family and friends unite to socialize with drinks; you can’t have a gathering without a BBQ.

Are you new to cooking outside or just bought a new gas barbecue? Here are some great tips on how to cook on a gas grill like a master.

1. Set up your grill space

To properly grill food, you must have the right setup for prepping, cooking and storing your meat, veg and other food. Some grills include a side table attached, but it is usually too small.

You need a big side table to house your plates of raw food, spices and sauces and grill accessories. Make sure you have the space to get the job done right. Also, ensure an extra propane tank, so you don’t run out.

2. Start with a clean grill

Brand new or well used, your grill needs to be cleaned whenever you want to use it. This means removing any food residue and build-up on the grates. A great, natural method is to heat your grill, cut an onion in half and use it as a scrubber to remove food particles. Use a fork to hold it, so your fingers don’t get burned.

If you have a grill brush, use that first and then follow up with the onion. Spray white vinegar to give extra cleaning power and let any residue burn off. Now your grill is clean and ready for use.

3. Preheat

Pre-heating is setting your grill up to perform at its best. You can’t just throw some steaks on a cold grill and then turn it on because you will have a mess on your hands. Grilling is a high-heat cooking method, so make sure you have your grill on high first, then bring it down to your desired temp.

  • High: Heat is good for steaks, chops, shrimp and kebobs. It will produce a nice sear onto the exterior.
  • Medium: heat is perfect for burgers, chicken and veggies. This will cook the interior of the food without burning the outside.
  • Medium-Low: temperature is for baked potatoes, sausages and other gentle cooked food.
  • Low: Heat works well for tough cuts of meat like pork shoulder, brisket, and ribs.

4. Direct vs Indirect Heat

Depending on what you are grilling, you may be using either or both of these methods.

  • Direct Heat: This is for grilling fast and hot and exposes your food to direct flame. Hot dogs, steaks and veggies work well with this method. You get those perfect grill marks and a golden sear on the outside.
  • Indirect Heat: With this method, you cook your food from the side of the grill, taking in the heat, low and slow. You want your food to cook all the way through without burning the outside. This includes chicken, roast, thicker cuts, and traps heat in the grill with the lid down. It is for food that cooks for 20 minutes or more.

5. Sear and Flip

For searing your food, you want to get that caramelized char going that tastes soo good. Start with a hot grill, cook for one minute, and flip your meat. Reduce the heat once done and move it to the side of your grill to keep warm while you sear more food.

Most seared food only needs to be flipped once. Always use a spatula or tongs to turn the food to keep in all the juices. Stabbing it with a fork lets all that goodness drain out.

6. Basting

Basting is a way to get your favourite seasonings and sauces cooked into your food. For vinegar, oils and marinades, you can baste this through the grilling process.

Any marinade used with raw meat should be applied early to allow for at least three minutes of cooking at the end. Sauces with sugars need to be added at the end because they will burn if left on too long.

7. Don’t Abandon Your Post

Grilling is serious business, and it demands your full attention. Sure, you can visit while cooking but never walk away. We get distracted easily, and it only takes a few minutes for the food to go from grilled perfection to hockey puck.

8. Resting

After you have grilled up those delicious cuts of meat, let them rest on your cutting board before digging in. This helps them retain and distribute their juices inside the cut, so your protein is juicy throughout.

These are the basics of cooking on a gas grill. Experiment with all types of food from meat to veggies to fruit and even dessert. The more you practice, the better you get, and once you learn your grill from back to front, you too will become the grill master.

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