8 Pro Tips for the Ultimate BBQ on a Gas Grill

Pro Tip 1: Plan Ahead

  • Outset Marinade Meat Injector with removable stainless steel needle
  • When you’ve got food over the flames, it needs your attention. Unless you want to literally play with fire and risk your food coming out burnt, the last thing you should be doing is scrambling to figure out what sides to cook or how to season your meat. Prepping food the night or even week before it touches your grill will help streamline your cookout when the big day finally arrives. You may even want to create a schedule or assign certain tasks and side dishes to your guests.

    However, if you’re the kind of griller who likes to control every part of the process, thinking ahead is key to ensuring your BBQ will be a success. Remember that the only time you should be winging it around the grill is if chicken is on the menu.

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Pro Tip 2: Preheat Your Grill

  • Maverick Laser Infrared Surface Thermometer checking BBQ grill surface temperature
  • This may seem simple, but it’s arguably the most important step of the grilling process. If you put food on before the grill is hot enough, it won’t get those gorgeous sear marks and will probably stick to the grates. Even worse, food that’s on while the heat is climbing to the desired temperature will almost certainly end up overcooked. A good rule of thumb is to preheat your grill on high with the lid down for about 10-15 minutes. If you’re aiming for a specific temperature, use a grill thermometer to gauge if your pit is ready to start cooking.

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Pro Tip 3: Create Heat Zones

  • Gas grill with seperate heat zones for steak and vegetables
  • Getting your grill to the appropriate temperature is important, but you’re not done finessing the flames just yet. Establishing at least two heat zones will allow you to take advantage of direct heat (where the fire is below the food) and indirect heat (where the fire is on the opposite side of the food). To accomplish this, light just half the burners on your gas grill. With this setup, you can strategically cook different types of food using various techniques and quickly extinguish flare-ups. Speaking of…

Pro Tip 4: Fight the Flare-Ups

  • Flame broiling the perfect steak
  • Flare-ups, which occur when excess fat or grease drips onto the heat source and suddenly ignites, are usually an unavoidable part of grilling. Most gas grills include metal or ceramic flame tamers that help lessen flare-ups, but sometimes those unwanted flames will pop up anyway. Fortunately, there are several ways to decrease the severity of this problem.

    Heat zones are one solution, but you can also shut the lid or douse the fire with salt or baking soda to deprive it of oxygen. If a flare-up is threatening to become a full grease fire, you should remove your food from the grill and turn off the burners. Just remember to never use water on a gas grill flare-up. A good way to reduce the likelihood of this issue as much as possible is making sure your grill is properly cleaned after each use (more on this in a bit). Be sure to read your manual for specific instructions for dealing with flare-ups.

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Pro Tip 5: Shoot for Perfect Sear Marks

  • Flame broiling the perfect steak
  • Picture the ideal steak. It’s probably got diamond-shaped sear marks, right? Achieving these beautiful, flavorful lines isn’t as hard as it looks, and it all starts with a properly preheated grill. You want your grill to be roaring hot, which may require up to 15-20 minutes of preheating on high depending on the size and thickness of your grill grates.

    When the grill is ready and your food is on, you should hear a sizzle to let you know the food and seasoning are beginning to caramelize, which causes those sear lines to develop. Once your food stops sticking to the grates, simply rotate it 45 degrees and let your grill do the rest. Adding oil or butter will help the caramelization process, and you’ll have the desired diamond marks that add flavor and are sure to impress your guests.

Pro Tip 6: Let Your Food Rest

  • Slicing a juicy brisket after letting it rest
  • Don’t dig in just yet! No matter how good the food looks, you should wait a little while before tasting the fruits (or meats) of your labor. Not only will this allow your food to cool to an edible temperature, but the juices will also have time to redistribute evenly and provide amazing flavor in every bite. Immediately slicing something like a steak will cause it to lose those precious juices, and no one wants to go through the trouble of cooking a beautiful cut of meat only to have it end up dry and bland simply because they got too eager at the finish line.

    Some people recommend letting food cooked on high heat rest for five minutes per pound, so that’s a good place to start. You can experiment from there, but remember that the larger the piece of meat, the longer it typically needs to rest.

Pro Tip 7: Clean Your Grill

  • Slicing a juicy brisket after letting it rest
  • Assuming your BBQ went off without a hitch, you’re probably itching to have everyone over for another cookout soon. But you need a healthy pit if you want to become the go-to grill master, and that means a proper cleaning after each use. Though you should perform a deep cleaning only periodically, there are a few things you should do following every cook to prevent leftover grease and mold from eating away at the metal parts of your grill.

    It’s a good idea to leave your grill on high heat for about 15 minutes to burn off the debris your food leaves behind. Once you see white or gray streaks on your grates, you’ll know you’ve successfully burned off any organic material and that it’s time to brush the ashes off. Don’t forget to check your drip pan before you call it a day.

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Pro Tip 8: Enjoy Yourself!

  • Family enjoying a blaze outdoor kitchen
  • We hope you’ve learned a thing or two about using your gas grill like a pro, but the most important lesson to remember is that you should always have a good time when you’re behind the grill! Grilling is all about cooking great food while spending time with the people you love, and you should never forget that even if those sear lines don’t come out just right or you have to deal with a flare-up or two. Now get grilling!

Still have questions? Our BBQ experts are always standing by at 1-877-743-2269 to answer all of your grilling questions. You can check out our How-To Videos Page to pick up even more tips and tricks from the professional grill masters and celebrity chefs at BBQGuys, or head to our Recipes Page for some great videos and step-by-step guides to creating amazing BBQ!

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