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How to Grill for Beginners: Tips and Tricks

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July 08, 2022

People love grilling for a multitude of reasons. It’s a great way to connect with friends and family, prevents having to turn on a hot oven on a warm summer day, and is a remarkable culinary skill for any home chef to have in their toolbelt. If you haven’t yet experienced the joys of cooking a tasty meal on the BBQ, we outline all the essential grilling tips beginners need to know below!

Grilling Basics for Beginners

The first step to becoming a master griller is to confront the age-old question: gas or charcoal? You might hear seasoned grillers debate which heating method reigns supreme. Charcoal can impart a rich, charred, smokey flavor synonymous with a great grill-out. Gas grills give you more control over temperatures ensuring everything is cooked to perfection. So, which one is best for first-timers? To figure out which side of this fiery debate you land on, let’s explore the pros and cons of each.

How to Grill with Charcoal

To grill on a charcoal grill, you will need to start heating your briquets. One technique is to use a charcoal chimney starter, then transfer the hot coals to the drum of your grill. Another method is to build a pyramid of coals directly in the base of your grill, carefully add lighter fluid and light them. You’ll know when the coals are hot enough to cook over when they turn white and have a layer of ash.

Pros and Cons of Charcoal Grills

  • Taste: Charcoal cooking imparts classic BBQ flavor into everything you grill. 
  • Expense: Charcoal grills tend to cost less than gas grills and charcoal is readily available.
  • Temperature Control: Most charcoal grills require indirect and direct heating to achieve preferred doneness.
  • Time: Charcoal takes a considerable amount of time to heat up. Roughly 20-30 minutes depending on the method you choose. 

Cooking with Gas

Getting started on a gas grill is faster than with a charcoal grill. You ignite the burners, then adjust the flame to heat your grill to your desired temperature. Most gas grills come equipped with a temperature gauge, so hitting your target temp is quick and easy. 

Pros and Cons of Gas Grills

  • Taste: Cooking with gas lets the flavor of your ingredients shine through since there is no smoke.
  • Expense: Gas grills can cost more than charcoal grills due to their more complex nature.
  • Temperature Control: Each burner on gas grills typically has its own control knobs, allowing users to accurately adjust heat quickly.
  • Time: These grills light up immediately and take only minutes to reach the proper temperature.

Mastering Two-Zone Cooking

Once you’ve chosen your type of grill, learning two-zone cooking will take your grill game to the next level! Two-zone grilling employs direct and indirect heating techniques. Direct heat corresponds to direct flame. Any ingredients placed over direct heat will sear and cook more rapidly. Indirect heat is the cooler side of the grill face that still provides enough residual heat to cook your food throughout without burning it.

Light half of your burners to create hot and cooler spots on your gas grill; for charcoal, simply push the coals over to one side.

Where’s the Beef?

Now that you have the basics down, it’s time to move on to the fun stuff: grabbing wholesale ingredients and grilling. There are plenty of recipes for a great summer day, from smoked ribs to vibrant vegetable kabobs. However, grilling gorgeous cuts of meat is what many of us crave when thinking of a successful BBQ. 

Become an Expert in Breaking Down Beef

While meat costs can be expensive, buying in bulk can save you money, and you don’t have to skimp on quality to enjoy the perfect grill day. Purchasing larger cuts of meat and breaking them into succulent steaks not only saves money, but will also impress all your friends at your next party. Beef tenderloin can transform into filet mignon, and whole roasts can be turned into delicious ribeyes. Follow these easy steps to butcher a beef strip loin into perfectly grillable steaks:

  1. Purchase prime grade strip loin from your local restaurant supply store. 
  2. Thoroughly dry all sides of the loin, making sure to absorb excess moisture. This will help ensure a great caramelized sear when cooking.
  3. Use a sharp boning or chef’s knife to trim off silver skin, connective tissue, and unnecessary fat from the bottom side.
  4. Trim away the fat cap, which is typically found on the top side and curls around to the bottom. You’ll notice a distinct seam between the meatier side and the fat, so follow along that line to remove the entire fat cap.
  5. Trim off any other fat cap portions on the underside.
  6. Grab a ruler and mark your steak sizes. A standard thickness is roughly one-and-a-half inches. Make a slight cut to delineate each portion.
  7. Using a long carving knife or chef’s knife, cut your steak portions. However, you never want to saw your knife back and forth. Instead, cut straight down and pull the handle back towards you after each cut.
  8. Season with your favorite spice rub, grill, and enjoy!

A 10 to 15 pound loin can produce 10 to 20 individual steaks, which will save on your meat costs.

Score Exceptional Grilling Supplies for Less at US Foods CHEF’STORE

In addition to premium meats, seafood, and produce, CHEF’STORE also stocks all the grilling tools you need to become a master grill chef! We have everything in store, from grill blocks and cleaning supplies, to spices and oils, paper plates, and more. Visit one of our many locations to browse our professional products. You can also get all your items delivered directly to you!

DOWNLOAD OUR CHECKLIST: GRILLING ESSENTIALS SHOPPING LIST

Grilling essentials shopping list.


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