Gas Grill Tips & Tricks – Everything You Need To Know
The Secret of Gas Grilling
I have found the secret of exceptional grilling is knowing the best cooking method for your meat. There are three different cooking methods, indirect, direct and combo. You want to use indirect when you are cooking large cuts of meat on your gas grill such as a whole turkey, roasts, ribs and brisket. These meats need to be grilled for a longer period of time.
When you are grilling with reflected heat, your food will be juicier, cook faster and you will not need to turn your meat. I have found the best way to accomplish this is simply by closing the lid of your grill. You should put your meat between your sources of heat as opposed to right over your lit burners. Pro Tip: Do not open the lid to check on your meat or you will allow the heat to escape. This will add to your cooking time.
I use the direct method when I want to sear the food or when cooking something requiring under 20 minutes of cooking time. This includes grilled steak, most vegetables, hamburgers, shrimp and chops. You should put your meat right above your lit burners. To make certain both sides of your meat are cooked equally, you will need to turn it once.
I recommend turning your meat when you are halfway through your cooking cycle. You can use this method for any gas grill. Pro Tip: Keep the lid of your gas grill closed while you are cooking your meat. This will work best for you while decreasing your cooking time.
The combo is using both of the above methods. I use this method for high heat to sear my food. I then use indirect heat to finish grilling my meat. Start by putting your meat right over the heat. Leave it there for a couple of minutes until it is seared. Then move your meat to the part of your gas grill you have set up for indirect heating. I like using the middle of my cooking grate to finish grilling.
The combo is ideal for grilling steaks, chicken pieces, chops and whole tenderloins. Pro Tip: Use the combo method to achieve a caramelized exterior with a tender interior.
There are a lot of benefits to cooking with your gas grill. This includes:
- A lot of the fat will drip off of your grates. This decreases the amount of fat you are consuming.
- Your meat will not lose any nutrients
- You can have a lot of fun outside with your friends and family while grilling
- Grilling vegetables is much healthier
- Nothing tastes quite as good a nice cut of grilled meat
- You will significantly decrease the amount of butter you use
- You are using gas as opposed to charcoal
The Different Types of Gas Grills
The Open Grill
When you use an open grill, you are placing your meat right about the heat source. Your meat will be seared on the outside with a succulent and juicy center.
I like using a covered grill because I can cook with the lid open or closed. This is what enables you to cook using either indirect or direct heat.
This is a way of cooking your meat with a gentle and slow rotation. The cooking is even due to the rotating turnspit. Your meat is basted, the fat melts away and the exterior is beautifully browned. The interior of your meat is juicy with the outside crisp and appealing.
The Most Common Mistakes When Cooking on a Gas Grill
There are a lot of mistakes commonly made when grilling meat. One of the most common is assuming your meat will have a smoky flavor because it was grilled. I like to use a smoky marinade or rub to get a natural smoky taste. Choose the marinade or rub of your choice. Then simply grill your meat to have the perfect smoky flavor. Pro Tip: When using a marinade, it is best to allow your meat to marinate overnight in your refrigerator. Cover the container you are using for your meat.
When you use a gas grill on a regular basis, you must be careful or eventually you will have a flare-up. You can control the flames by taking your meat off of the hot zone and placing it on an area of your grill using indirect heat. If the flames do not subside, you can remove your meat and close the lid of your gas grill. This will prevent oxygen from feeding the flames and they should go out.
As a last resort, use a spray bottle filled with water to put out the flames. Be careful because I have seen water spread the fire or send loose ashes into the air. When absolutely necessary, I have extinguished the flames by sprinkling either baking soda or salt over the fire. Pro Tip: Flare-ups are often caused by a dirty grill. Keeping your gas grill clean is a good precautionary measure.
The best way to keep your gas grill safe while grilling delicious foods is to ensure your grill is clean and properly maintained. Your grates should be cleaned before you use them. Do not remove the food or grease from your grill grates once you have finished grilling. I have found this important as a protective layer.
Before you start cooking, use medium heat for 15 minutes to heat your gas grill. Keep the lid closed until there is no more smoke. I use a grill brush or a grooved spatula to scrape my grates clean. Pro Tip: You can easily loosen bits of food by dipping your tool into water and letting it steam for a couple of minutes.
Another common mistake is not searing your meat correctly. The sear marks are what provide your meat with a delicious grilled flavor. If your meat is dry, it will burn more easily. To ensure perfect sear marks, use the following tips.
- Do not pack your food tightly. You need to leave room for the heat and steam to rise around your meat. This will make certain your food cooks evenly.
- Turn your meat frequently to prevent any burning. Pro Tip: Hamburgers only need to be turned once.
- If you want to sear your meat, I have found the best choice is thicker meat. Choose meat a minimum of one-inch thick.
- Cook your meat on hot for a few minutes for searing. Reduce your heat to medium. Continue grilling with the lid open. Pro Tip: Thinner cuts of meat will cook better if heat is only received from one side.
- If you are grilling something thin like asparagus or shrimp, do not move it around your gas grill. Your food will have a better flavor with a few sear marks than if you char the entire side.
Unfortunately, the biggest mistake is about safety. Accidents with a gas grill can happen. You want your family and friends to have a good time, not get burned from out of control flames. I recommend always having a fire extinguisher nearby. You should be aware of how to cut off the supply of gas to your grill. This information is in the instruction manual that came with your gas grill.
You should never pour water over any flames because this can cause the flames to become even worse. Keep the fuel lines to your grill clean. This will prevent grease from building up within the lines. Keep your meat in the refrigerator until twenty minutes before you are ready to begin grilling. Covering your meat will prevent bacteria from gaining access to your food.
The Perfectly Grilled Steak
You will need your gas grill, a grill brush, tongs or a fork with a long handle, a cutting board and aluminum foil.
- Four to four and one-half inch New York strip steaks (approximately 12 ounces each)
- Two tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
- Ground black pepper
- Kosher salt
Remove your steaks from the refrigerator twenty minutes before you are ready to start grilling. Uncover them, and let them sit until they reach room temperature. Start by heating your gas grill to high. Brush your steaks with pepper, salt and oil. Make certain you brush both sides of your steaks. Put your steaks on your gas grill and cook for four to five minutes or until charred slightly.
Turn over your steaks and continue grilling according to the following:
- Three to five minutes for medium-rare
- Five to seven minutes for medium
- Eight to ten minutes for medium-well
Remove your steaks from the grill and place them onto your cutting board. Place them on your counter and use aluminum foil to make a loose tent. Allow your steaks five minutes to rest prior to removing the foil. Serve your delicious grilled steaks and enjoy. Pro Tip: Allowing your steaks to rest will enable an even distribution of the juices throughout the meat and prevent dryness.
The Grilling Experience
I hope your grilling experience will be amazing. Following the tips in this article will help you avoid common mistakes. I have found the recipe for grilled steak delicious and hope you will enjoy it as well.