Grilling Basics, Glossary and Grilling FAQs

grills basic guides

When using your gas grill for the first time, observe this simple procedure. Open the grill lid and then the tank valve. Turn the first burner to high, allowing 2 – 3 seconds for the gas chamber to fill then push the igniter button firmly. The burner should light after one to two pushes of the button. Turn the next burner to high once the first is lit and repeat with the other burners until all are lit. Close the lid and allow pre-heating on high temperature. You can now place your food on the grate and adjust to the correct temperature and cooking method as indicated in the recipe.

Remember to keep the bottom tray and grease catch pan clean and free of debris. Should a flare-up occur, turn all burners off and move the food to another area of the cooking grate. Do not attempt to use water to extinguish flames on a gas grill. The flames should quickly subside and you can light the grill again. Avoid lining the bottom tray with foil as grease might be caught in it and start a fire. A new Weber gas grill usually runs hotter than normal but will return to normal after the first few uses as it becomes seasoned.

Use the food thermometer to check the cooking temperature and the doneness of food. Trim excess fat from steaks and chops to guard against flare-ups. Keep the lid on while cooking as an open lid adds to the cooking time, unless of course, the recipe specifically calls for an open lid. Use the right utensils and gear for maximum protection. You should try following the recipes carefully for the first time and consider customizing it according to your own taste later, just to know how standard grilled food should look like or taste. You should allow more cooking time for cold and windy days and at higher altitudes and less for extremely hot weather. Be sure to check out some of the best gas grills under $300 if you are on a budget.

Here is a video guide on some grilling basics;

Grilling Glossary

Ash Catcher – a pan used to catch ashes from grill which may be inside or outside the grill base.

British Thermal Unit (BTU) – indication of the volume of gas a grill can burn.

Charcoal – a black, porous, odorless, carbonaceous substance, burning with little or no flame, often used as fuel source for grilling.

Charcoal Grill – a grill that uses lighted charcoal as its source of heat.

Cooking Wood – wood chunks or chips such as hickory or mesquite that adds smoke flavor to grilled food.

Crossover Ignition System – gas grill feature that allows users to light burners in sequence.

Direct Cooking – method of grilling food directly over the heat source either in high, medium or low setting.

Drip Pan – a pan used to catch juices and prevent flare-ups.

Dual-Purpose Thermometer – a device that observes the temperature inside the grill and the temperature of the food cooking on the grill.

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Electric Grill – a grill that requires electric current for operation.

Ember Cooking – method of cooking vegetables directly over the heat source.

Flavorizer Bars – metal bars that vaporize meat juices and provides a smoky flavor.

Gas Grill – a grill that gets its fuel from propane tanks or through natural gas line hook-up.

Indirect Cooking – method of cooking or grilling food wherein the heat source is not directly below it.

Marinade – a brine pickle sometimes flavored with wine, spices and herbs in which meat or fish are placed before cooking to improve flavor or tenderize the meat.

Open brazier – any uncovered grill.

Poultry – domestic fowls, generally or collectively as hens, ducks etc.

Propane – a gaseous hydrocarbon of the methane series obtained from petroleum.

Push Button Igniter – the button that simplifies the task of lighting up the grill.

Rib Rack – a wire rack made of heavy duty plated steel used to maximize grill space by standing up slabs of ribs and chicken quarters.

Rotisserie – a rotating device for roasting meat and other food.

Sear – to burn the surface of or to scorch.

Spider Stopper Guards – items that protect the cooking surface of the grill from insects and rubbish.

Vents – holes on top of the hood and bottom of the grill with stainless steel or aluminum covers for regulating air flow and temperature.

Grilling FAQs

1. Is there any advantage to cooking on a grill with its lid closed?
Yes, there is. In fact, pioneering cooking systems is the result of dissatisfaction with grilling on open braziers. Besides protecting the food from external factors such as wind and dust, flare-ups are prevented when the lid is in place. It also reduces cooking time while sealing in the natural flavor and juices of grilled foods.

2. What are the indicators of an excellent gas grill?
Do not presume that the most excellent unit is the most expensive one in the line. The high price may be due to the number of additional features attached to the equipment which you may not need in the first place. Basically, an excellent gas grill should have an efficient cooking system, sufficient cooking power, of solid and attractive construction and with a long warranty. After sales customer support is also a very important factor to consider.

3. Which is the best gas grill among those available in the market?
What is best to one person is purely subjective. Each one has his own preference, needs and limitations. The best equipment is that which would meet your personal requirements.

4. What causes uneven heat?
Some gas grills have one or two burners that are shaped like an H or a U or round like a stove top burner. These designs create hot and cold spots across the grilling surface. Choose designs like Weber where burner tubes are uniformly spaced and run the length of the cook box. It provides evenly dispersed heat across the cooking grates. Here is a comparison of two of best Weber grills: Weber spirit vs Genesis.

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5. What is the best way to clean a gas grills cooking grate?
Burn off any residue by simply turning the grill on high until the smoke stops, then brush the cooking grates with a brass wire grill brush.

6. How do I remove smoke stains from the grill lid and side burner?
Use a soapy, fine steel wool pad with a very light touch to carefully remove any smoke stains from the grill lid. However, for the stainless steel side burners cover, use only warm, soapy water with a sponge or dish cloth as even fine steel wool will scratch it.

7. What can I use to touch up the paint on the end caps and cook box?
Use heat resistant Barbecue Black or Fireplace Black Spray Paints for the outside of end caps and cook box. Cover other parts of the grill with paper or cardboard before spraying.

Some Popular Grilling Techniques

The Direct Method is very much similar to broiling where food is cooked directly over the heat source. Even cooking is attained by turning once halfway through the grilling time. This method is recommended for food that takes less than 25 minutes to cook such as steaks, chops, sausages, kabobs and vegetables. It is also used for searing meat to obtain the crisp, caramelized texture when the food hits the grate. It also adds grill marks and flavor to the entire food surface.

The Indirect Method, on the other hand, is similar to roasting but with the extra benefits of grilled texture, flavor and appearance which cannot be obtained from oven use. Food is cooked by heat reflected from the cover and surrounds it with a uniform, controlled heat that substantially cuts cooking time and allows meat to maintain its natural juiciness and flavor. It is best used for foods requiring 25 minutes or more of grilling time such as roasts, ribs, whole chicken, other large cuts of meat and delicate fresh fillets. This method prevents direct exposure to the heat source to prevent drying them out or scorching them.

Rotisserie cooking is the process of rotating food over fire. It needs an additional accessory to be done and is powered by a heavy duty motor. Smoke cooking refers to grilling done in a water smoke-type grill. This is an optional feature for most Weber grills. In this method, a cloud is created around the food which permeates meat and vegetables for added smoky flavor. Ember cooking is cooking vegetables directly over the heat source for a wonderful woodsy flavor. However, an aluminum foil wrap may be needed for thinner skinned varieties. Always oil sheets lightly before cooking.

Here is a bonus video worth checking out by Kingsford;

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