Preheat the grill each and every time. If the cooking grates aren’t hot enough, food will stick, and you will likely never have a chance of searing properly or developing those handsome grill marks. Even if a recipe calls for medium or low heat, always preheat the grill on highest setting first.
Don’t grill on dirty grates. Tossing food onto the cooking grates before they have been cleaned is never a good idea. Left over “stuff” on the grates acts like glue, binding it to the grates and to your new food. To avoid tasting last night’s dinner on today’s lunch, make sure you are grilling on a clean cooking grate. Once the grates are preheated, use a stainless steel bristle grill brush to make a clean, smooth surface.
Be present in the process. Before starting your grill, make sure that everything you need is within arm’s reach. Don’t forget your essential grilling tools, already oiled and seasoned food, glazes or sauces, and clean cooking platters for cooked food. Having to run back to your kitchen not only means missing out on the fun, but could also result in burning your food. French chefs call this “mise en place” (meaning, “put in place”). We call it “being present”.
Create a little elbow room. Packing too much food onto the cooking grates restricts your flexibility. Leave at least one-quarter of the cooking grates clear, with plenty of space between each food item, in order to get your tongs in there and easily move the food around. Sometimes grilling involves split-second decisions and the ability to jockey food from one area to another. So give yourself enough room to operate.
Try not to peek. The lid on your grill is for more than just keeping the rain out. Most importantly, it’s for preventing too much air from getting in, and too much heat and smoke from getting out. When the lid is closed, the cooking grate are hotter, the grilling times are faster, and the smoky tastes are stronger. Use the iGrill App for quick monitoring of the heat of your grill, and your food core temperatures, so you don’t need to open the grill until it’s time for dinner. So put a lid on it!
Only flip once. What’s better than a juicy steak with a deep sear and plenty of beautifully caramelized bits? The key to accomplishing these results is to keep your food in place. Sometimes we have the tendency to flip our food before it reaches the desirable level of color and flavor. In nearly all cases, you should turn food just once. If fiddling with it more than that, you are probably also opening the lid too much, which causes its own set of problems. So step back and trust the grill.