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GRILLING tIPS CHARCOAL OR GAS? HOW TO SET UP YOUR GRILL

Grilling Tips

GRILLS
56% of those surveyed own a gas grill because they light up with the touch of a button and are ready in about 20 minutes.

Experts recommend buying a gas grill with at least 2 burners so you can grill using the indirect method, which is necessary for preparing long cooking foods such as whole chicken or spare ribs. (Direct heat would char these foods on the outside and leave them raw on the inside).

Charcoal grills take longer to heat up (about 35-45 minutes) but 44% prefer the taste it gives meat. The briquettes should be glowing orange in the center and have a coating of ash. The thinner the ash coating, the hotter the fire. When they’re hot enough, spread the coals in an even layer- but not over the whole grate. Leave one quarter to one third of the grate ember free so that you can move the food if it starts to burn. (For indirect heat, rake the coal into two mounds at opposite sides of the grill and cook the food in the center).

SET UP YOUR GRILL: THE 3 METHODS

DIRECT GRILLING: on Charcoal
Ignite 75-85 briquettes in a chimney starter (or on the fuel grate); open grill vents. When coals are coated with ash spread into an even layer. (if you like, leave a small area empty to create a cooler zone). Check heat: If you can hold your hand 1 or 2 in. above cooking grate level only 1-2 seconds , that’s high heat. For medium – high heat, wait until you can hold your hand there only 2 -3 seconds.

DIRECT GRILLING: on Gas
Turn all burners to high, close lid, and heat for 15 minutes. Then adjust to desired heat.

TWO LEVEL GRILLING : on Charcoal
Following instructions for direct grilling (above), light briquettes. When they’re coated with ash, mound against one side of the grate into a slope. Allow coals to burn downuntil they reach the desired heat level.

TWO LEVEL GRILLING : on Gas
Following instructions for direct grilling (above), preheat burners. If you have three or more burners, leave two adjacent burners on high and turn the remaining burners anywhere from medium to low, depending on the recipe. If you have two burners, leave one on high and turn the other on medium to low.

BARBECUING : on Charcoal
Ignite 75-85 briquettes in a chimney starter. Fill a drip pan (roughly 8 by 6 in.) to the brim with water and set in the center of fuel grate. When the coals are coated with ash, use tongs to arrange in a ring around drip pan. Set cooking grate in place. Cover grill and use heatproof long stemmed thermometer to take interior temperature thru the lid vent. Close grill vents as needed to bring temperature down to 300 degrees F. (do not close the vents all the way; the fire will go out) Scatter 2/3 cup drained soaked wood chips over the coals just before adding the meat.

BARBECUING : on Gas
If you have three or more burners, put drip pan in center under cooking grate, set grate over it, and turn outer burners to high. If you have two burners, put drip pan to one side and turn opposite burner to medium high. Put 2 cups drained soaked wood chips in grills smoker box or wrap chips loosely in foil, pierce in a dozen spots, and put directly on one of the hot burners. After about 20 minutes of preheating, reduce heat as needed to bring grill temperature to 300 degrees F.

HOW TO CONTROL YOUR HEAT On Gas:
The beauty of a gas grill is ease of use: You can operate it more like a cooktop, turning it down to reduce heat as needed.

On Charcoal:
Once the briquettes are burning, you can open the grills vents to raise the heat, or close them to lower it. (air feeds the fire). If you’re grilling over a two level fire, you can move the food around from hotter areas to the cooler areas as needed. Its often a good idea to keep a small corner of your fuel grate free of coals, even when direct grilling. Invariably one steak or burger or sausage will cook faster than the others, and you’ll want a small warming zone to stash it in while you finish the rest of the batch.


TIPS FOR THE PERFECT BBQ

To pull off a grilled meal, map out your menu. Think of foods like grilled vegetables, that can be served at room temperature. Keep in mind how much grill space you have and budget an extra hour when barbecuing. Sometimes it just takes longer than planned. 

Keep your cooking grate clean and oiled- A lot of people forget this step. To help prevent sticking, scrub your preheated grate with a grill brush (we recommend the Grill Wizard BBQ Brush, as does Cooks Illustrated magazine) then quickly wipe the grate with an oiled paper towel just before adding the food.  You can also spray your grill grate with Pam prior to lighting to prevent sticking.

Don’t walk away when grilling- People sometimes forget that they’re cooking. They will throw food on the grill and then come back after a while. That’s like putting a pie in the oven, spinning the dial to any temperature, and coming back when you are in the mood for dessert. You don’t need to hover over the grill, but do monitor the heat and check your food periodically.

STEAK:
When choosing meat, the flesh should be bright red, and there should also be a fair amount of fat, or marbling, in it- 20% would be great. For many the perfect steak is a rib-eye or filet with two inches of thickness. Prior to cooking apply a dry rub of your choice which adds awesome flavor and helps create a crust. You really want to get a really nice crust on the outside of the steak and a juicy inside. That creates a contrast of textures and the perfect steak. The meat benefits from direct heat from the grates and the flame, so leave it alone. Don’t touch it. Let the grill do its job: don’t flip things over and over!

CHICKEN:
Choose some thicker boneless skinless chicken breasts or regular chicken breasts on the bone. Marinate with your favorite marinade (we prefer a soy based marinade like Basque Norte) for at least one hour. Place the chicken on the cool side of the grill, with the thicker side facing the coals. Cover the chicken with a disposable aluminum roasting pan: cook 6-9 minutes. Flip the chicken so thinner sides face the coals and continue grilling, covered, 6 to 9 minutes. Finish cooking the chicken over higher heat coals until dark grill marks appear, 1-2 minutes on each side. If you did not marinate prior to grilling then this when you can add some bbq sauce (we recommend Head Country’s original BBQ Sauce) to each side and still cook 1-2 minutes on each side.

PORK:
Our favorite is the pork tenderloin. (preferably the smaller ones up to 2 inches diameter) Prior to cooking apply a dry rub of your choice which adds awesome flavor and helps create a crust. Allow to cook for approximately 20 minutes on each side and then check the internal temperature to ensure that it has been cooked thoroughly. (Pork internal temperature should be 160 degrees F) Moist and tender pork tenderloins every time!

BURGERS:
The most flavorful burgers are made predominately from ground chuck roast. Leaner meats are healthier but some flavor is lost. Start off with a 8 ounce sized meatballs, then flatten them. (They will shrink.) We don’t recommend adding anything to your hamburger meat. If you put onion or garlic in your meat there is a good chance that it will burn. Just dust with coarse kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, literally the second before you put it on the grill. Leave for four minutes on each side for a nice even char. For toppings we like to use Head Country’s original BBQ Sauce, arugula, fresh tomato and gruyere cheese.  
Try our Burger Mate - for the Perfect Burger !

RIBS:
First marinate the ribs overnight in a picante sauce or beer. When ready to grill, season liberally with a dry rub of your choice. The best flavored ribs are cooked over mesquite wood or soaked wood chips. Place the ribs over a medium heat grill, maybe 275 degrees F. (It will take about 3 hours, so start early!) After 2 hours, slather the ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce (we recommend Head Country’s original BBQ Sauce), wrap the ribs in foil (or place them in a disposable aluminum roasting pan and cover) then add some water. This will help cook the ribs faster and keep them very moist. Wrapping meat or ribs holds in the natural juices and steams the meat. The ribs are guaranteed to be moist and tender.  

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