Know Your Heat
Setting up your grill right means better-tasting food, nothing that sticks to the grates or any uneven cooking. Ever. Whether charcoal, gas, and smoker grills, we’ve go you covered.
1. Create heat zones
On a kettle grill, bank coals in the center. Sear food in the middle, where heat is highest, then move it to the outer edges of the grill to perfectly cook without burning.
Then on a gas grill, leave one burner on high, set the middle burner on medium and the last burner to low. This way, you have a place to sear and grill steaks and other high-heat items, a medium zone in the middle for chicken and fish, and a low-heat area for longer-cooking items like sausages and brats.
2. Avoiding Grill Flair Ups
Flare-ups are an inevitable part of grilling. When they occur:
1. Move the food from the hot zone to the medium zone until the flames subside. You can also try putting down the lid. (If you’re working on a charcoal grill, close the top and bottom vents.) This deprives the fire of oxygen, which eventually extinguishes the flames.
2. A few squirts of water from a spray bottle can also dampen a flame. But use the technique sparingly. The water may stir up loose ashes or even spread the fire.
3. As a last resort, sprinkle salt or baking soda over the fire to extinguish it.
3. No Briquettes/Lighter Fluid
Always avoid lighter fluid if possible, and while convenient, charcoal briquettes can add an unpleasant kerosene flavor to grilled meats and should be avoided. If a wood/natural lump charcoal fire is unavailable or too inconvenient, propane grills will ultimately yield a better steak than charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid.
The best way to go, however, is hardwood or hardwood lump charcoal. Natural solid fuels add the most flavor to steaks, complementing their natural flavors instead of overpowering them.
4. Be Patient & Pre-heat
Be sure to let your charcoal fully catch and heat up before attempting to grill on it, about 20-30 minutes. Your fire should have a bed of red-hot coals, with high, even heat across the grill, and minimal flames and smoke.
A hot cooking surface is extremely important to caramelize the outside of the steak and secure in the flavor. This method will give you a crispy-on-the-outside, yet moist-and-tender-on-the inside steak.