It seems that as the temperatures begin to rise, our cravings for grilled— everything— are a bit harder to ignore. If you’re new to grilling or looking to incorporate some new “tricks” into your grilling repertoire— we’ve got some quick and easy tips below (and will have a few more coming your way throughout the summer as part of our Summer Grilling blog series!).
For starters: We recommend using a charcoal grill over a gas grill if you’re looking to add some serious flavor to your meats. While a gas grill is, by far, easier to use, mastering the charcoal grill will allow you to truly enjoy the foods you cook— not just for the fact that you mastered the charcoal grill, but also because it just tastes so darn good.
Marinade is your best friend: Marinade is to meat like frosting is to cake— depending on the flavor, you’re going to enjoy a different flavor and texture experience. For tough cuts of meat, soak in the marinade overnight (in the refrigerator); more tender cuts of meat will only need about two hours (but should also be kept in the fridge during this process). If you need a little bit of help creating your own marinade, check out our “Make Your Own Marinade” post here!
Find some good wood chips: Another way to make the flavor of your meat really unique is to smoke it with some wood chips. Find your wood chunks and soak them for about 15 minutes in some water so that they won’t burn when you add them to the coals. Preheat the grill, add the wood on top of the charcoal, and then start cooking your meat. Make sure to keep the grill lid on as much as possible during this process to encapsulate as much of the flavor as possible (if there is too much airflow, the taste will not be as good).
Note: Eventually the wood chips will dry up and burn, so make sure you have enough to last the duration of your grilling session— especially if that session happens to be a long one!
Using wood chips on a gas grill: You’ll need a wood chip smoker box— this will maximize airflow and sit right on top of the grill grate right along with your meat.
Some of our favorite pairings:
- Cedar with fish
- Applewood with pork
- Mesquite with chicken
- Cherry with beef
Send-off: Note that you can use wood chunks in lieu of marinade, OR you can use both. Pairing a delicious wood-smoked flavor with the perfect marinade is just another way to become a master of the grill. We hope your grilling season is off to a great start and that you have many more adventures coming your way this summer— we know your grilled masterpieces will be the stars of the show in the months to come! Enjoy!