Every year, millions of people literally millions of people spend many a summer night enjoying the benefits of grilling their food outdoors. Grilling has been turned into an art, and this is part of what makes it so enjoyable. It does not matter what kind of food you enjoy, whether it is beef, chicken, fish, pork, corn on the cob, potatoes, or whatever, the taste that you get is truly something that is beyond words and home BBQ smokers can easily add to that taste.
The barbeque or home BBQ smoker is one of the most enjoyable events of summer because it becomes more than just about making an amazing meal. This is the chance to spend time with friends, family, and neighbors enjoying a wonderful evening or afternoon in the sun, gathered on the patio or near the pool or lake while you chat and await the succulent morsels that will soon be served. Besides, some handy tips on barbecuing can help you add real taste to your BBQ and delight your family and friends.
Truly the home BBQ smoker or grill is something special, but it can easily be ruined by not doing the kinds of things that are necessary to maintain the grill or not properly cooking the food. This can turn your amazing event into a mundane, even tragic event where the fun you were seeking to have is quickly ruined. If you are wanting to avoid these kinds of mishaps, here are three important blunders you want to avoid no matter which type of grill with your BBQ or home smoker you are using.
For Gas Grills or home BBQ smokers
This has become one the most popular grills and home BBQ smokers it seems because you can control the flame much more readily. If you want to slow cook your meat or vegetables, you simply turn down the flame, and you don’t have to battle with trying to get the coals lit or keeping them so. You can simply enjoy grilling at its best. However, there are mistakes that people make here as well. Here are the blunders that people most commonly make with their home BBQ.
1. Not Disconnecting the Gas Supply
Most people leave the gas directly connected to the grill all the time, believing that the valve will automatically close the gas from being released when it is turned off on the grill. This is usually true when you first buy a grill, but the longer you have it the more likely it is that the gas will begin to seep from the grill. This is not only means that you waste gas on the grill but the gas can settle in the grill area and can cause serious injury when you light the grill the next time.
If you do leave the tank connected all the time, make sure that before actually lighting the tank that you fan the grill area. This will make it so that it is much safer to use. However, if you want to really avoid the blunder then you will disconnect the tank after each use.
2. Not Closing the Valve
There are those who keep their tank connected all the time, and that is perfectly acceptable as a choice. You understand the risks, so if you are taking the proper precautions then there are no worries. However, a huge mistake that many people make is forgetting to shut off the valve when they are done using the grill. The result is that all the gas continually flows to the grill and is lost to the air. This can be an expensive mistake after some time, and is why it is important that you make sure that the valve is shut off before putting your grill away for the night.
3. Not Cleaning Clean the Louvers
On gas grills or home BBQ smokers, there are little slats along the lower part of the grill that allow air to flow freely from the grill and into the air. When these areas are not cleaned well, the air flow will be reduced which poses several problems for you. First of all, it can be quite dangerous, because the gas can build up inside the grill area which can be quite dangerous when you are cooking.
This can also have a direct impact on taste. The air flow ensures that the taste of the gas does not become overwhelming with the food. When these louvers are not cleaned then you can get a much stronger gas taste, taking away from the great flavor of the food. Moreover, adding smoke to a gas grill has much to do with the taste too.
For Charcoal Grill
The charcoal grill has been used by people for hundreds of years, and it is still the most widely used grill. This includes the standard grill that most of us are familiar with as well as camping grills and hibachis. It is a great choice for anyone who likes the taste of the charcoal flavor, especially when using a homemade smoker. However, there are blunders that can be made here as well. Here are three you want to keep away from.
1. Not Checking the Coal Grate
The coal grate is the area on a grills and home BBQ smokers where the charcoal is placed during the grilling. To be honest, this is one of the most commonly neglected areas in terms of cleaning, even for those who use a home smoker, but it should be one of the most important areas that you clean. The reason is simple. This is the place where air comes underneath the grill to help feed the flames of the charcoal so that they will burn better. When this is not properly cleaned, then air cannot reach the charcoal and you will have a much harder time getting the charcoal to light and to stay lit. This can make for an aggravating time to say the least especially when using something like a homemade smoker.
2. Not Cleaning out the Ash
This is a very similar problem to the previous one. Many people let the ash fall below the coal grate which can eventually block the airflow as well. In fact, most just assume that this is no big deal to do at all. The truth is that this can have a direct impact on the quality of your cooking and is why it is so important that you empty the ash after each grilling. This will make sure that the airflow will be free and you will have a much easier time lighting the grill and keeping the charcoal lit.
3. Not Maintaining Consistency
Not much has been explained about the actual cooking of the meat, but there are many blunders that are made here as well. One of the most common is that people start to cook their food when the grill is way too hot, so that it cooks too quickly at first, almost burning. You want to make sure that the charcoals have settled into the right temperature before beginning your cooking.
Maintaining consistency does not just relate to this however. Another issue is that you may find that you are not rotating your food on a regular basis so that the entire meat or vegetable cooks evenly. Get into a rhythm so that you don’t have one side that is much more thoroughly cooked than the other.
Also, you may find that some coals are burning much hotter than others. This is usually true in the center of the grill. You want to make sure that you rotate the food so that the food that is in the center is frequently rotated to the outside and vice versa so that all of it cooks evenly. This will really ensure that all food finishes as you desire.
For Pellet Grill and Smoker
Pellet grills or a home BBQ smokers use wood chips to provide the source of heat to cook the food. This gives a very natural flavor to the food that many love because wood has been used to cook food for thousands of years and it is one of the most commonly enjoyed kinds of cooking because of how good it can make your food taste. People make blunders here as well, and here are three of the biggest with the home BBQ.
1. Cleaning with Water
Many of us think of water as the perfect product to use to clean just about anything. That is true in the vast majority of cases, but you must understand that the soot that builds up from this grill is not easily cleaned by water. You need to get a product that does the job more thoroughly. Failure to do so will eventually clog the grill and make it so that heat will not evenly distribute.
Using water only can also dampen the area where the wood is held and cause moisture buildup throughout the grill. This can mean that when you cook the wood will not light properly and you will not get a good grill experience at all.
2. Not Scrubbing the Deflector Plate
As was discussed with using water, soot will really wreak havoc with your grill, especially if not cleaned properly. You must take the time to clean this well after a few uses so that the heat will distribute properly. When the deflector plate is not cleaned, you can be sure that you will have issues with the way that heat is distributed. This is a key piece in terms of the operation of the grill, and you must make sure that you use the proper products to clean the plate.
3. Not Cleaning Thermostat Probe
If you are a person who just wants the meat cooked and it does not matter how quickly it cooks, then this may not matter, but when you want food cooked at a certain temperature, this is essential. You can actually regulate the amount of heat that distributes throughout the grill, but when you do not clean the thermostat you will not get an accurate reading and may over or undercook your food as a result.
For Electric Grill
Electric grills are becoming very popular for the same reason that gas grills are; you can be sure you are getting a more consistent cooking experience. However, the electric grill gives you that experience at a greatly reduced cost because you do not need to pay for a propane or other gas tank. It is a great choice as well, but there are mistakes that people make when using them.
1. Not Enough Cleaning
To work properly, the rods are provided with an electric current so that the metal rod is heated. This heats the food you are cooking. However, when this is not cleaned properly, not only can it reduce the amount of heat that is generated, but it can also cause the rod to short out. You must clean this after each use so that you ensure that it will work properly. Honestly, it is not much work to do so.
2. Not Maintaining Consistency
Just as this was an issue for the charcoal grill, it is a common mistake with those using an electric grill. Often the food will cook more quickly directly over the rod, and less so to the edges. You must rotate your food so that it cooks thoroughly; otherwise, you risk getting raw food to the outside or overcooked food in the middle.
You also want to make sure that you are flipping the food on a regular and consistent basis. This will make sure that the food cooks evenly and you get the right taste. Failure to do so can leave a rather awkward taste to the meat or vegetables.
3. Avoiding or Not Rotating the Meat Enough
This was discussed a little in Maintaining Consistency, but it needs to be mentioned again because this is really the most commonly made mistake when it comes to cooking in this manner. You often see it when people are cooking in the oven. They don’t flip or rotate the food enough and so it overcooks or does not evenly cook.
The same principle applies when using an electric grill. If you think about it, this is very much like an oven. That means you need to cook in the same way, rotating the food on a regular basis, usually about five minutes or less to get the best taste.
Grilling can be a great experience that we here at Grills Forever can attest to, but if you want the absolute best taste, you want to avoid these blunders. The best care for your grills or home BBQ smokers can give you the taste you want and make your next barbecue an event you will not forget.