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Grilling Tips for Great BBQ Grill Cooking

Updated on January 20, 2010

Grilling Tips for Better Backyard Barbeque Cooking.

Grilling Tips for Better Backyard Barbeque Cooking.
Grilling Tips for Better Backyard Barbeque Cooking.

Everybody Loves The BBQ Grill!

Grilling is one of America’s favorite pastimes. Who doesn’t enjoy a grilled burger, veggies, fish, steak, chicken, or ribs? Virtually no one!  Though many of us grill a few times a year or all year long there are still dishes that can be difficult to learn to grill correctly. Sure, you may know how to grill a super burger at rare, medium, or well done; but can you grill an equally good chicken breast, rack of ribs, or salmon? In this article, we give a quick and easy lowdown on just how to optimize grilling temperature, preparation, and technique for the best of all of the most delectable grilled foods.

BBQ Fish on The Grill

Salmon is Great on a Cedar Plank Soaked in Water.
Salmon is Great on a Cedar Plank Soaked in Water.
This DCS (Dynamic Cooking Systems) barbeque grill sears fish fast and hot to lock in moist flavor.
This DCS (Dynamic Cooking Systems) barbeque grill sears fish fast and hot to lock in moist flavor.

Fish, Grilled or Barbecued.

Perhaps, it’s best to start with the one area of the culinary grilling world that intimidates so many: fish. So many people I think avoid grilling fish for the simple fact that they assume they will ruin it by cooking too high or too long thus overcooking it. It is a delicate grilling food comparatively. If one follows the right protocol, grilling fish can be just as easy as grilling a burger. Here’s how:

  1. Start with a low to medium heat because fish cooks faster than other foods. A good heat to use is approximately 155 C (311 F).
  2. Moisten the grilling rack with cooking spray, olive oil, etc to ensure the fish does not stick as it is prone to doing.
  3. You cannot let fish grill like you can with other foods. With fish, for optimum results, you need to turn fish every 60-90 seconds to ensure it doesn’t get overheated and burn.
  4. Most fish will not take longer than 5-10 minutes of grilling-but it is always best to gauge the fish by how it looks-since every grill is different.

ExtraTip: A Great Cooking Tip when grilling fish is wood cooking planks. Soak Cedar planks overnight in water and put the fish on the wood plank and the plank on the cooking surface of your barbeque. Barbecue with the hood closed at the lower heat setting and as the heat surrounds the fish and pulls moisture out, the meat will pull the moisture – and flavor – from the wood plank. This will produce great flavor and almost impossible to mess-up.

Barbecued Chicken.

Whole chicken is great with a beer-can.
Whole chicken is great with a beer-can.
Grilled chicken is easy to over-cook and dry out so try barbecuing at a lower heat.
Grilled chicken is easy to over-cook and dry out so try barbecuing at a lower heat.

Barbeque Chicken.

Another common area where grillers have problems getting it just right is with chicken breast. Most often, the chicken either comes out over dry or still pink in the middle. Though chicken is one of the most common foods out there to grill, so many people get it wrong. Here are the tips on getting it right.

  1. After washing the chicken thoroughly, poke holes in the sides of the breast for maximum juiciness.  
  2. Though it is not required, making sure to marinate the chicken breast in something-even if it is a little honey and olive oil. This can help prepare it for a juicy and well cooked finish.  Marinating for about twenty minutes or longer for bolder flavor in a variety of marinades can make the same old chicken delicious and new.
  3.  Cook the chicken on low-after preheating for about 10-15 minutes-and grill it approximately 7-10 minutes on each side. This applies to a very thick chicken breast, so if you are using something of a thinner density-of course, grill it a lot less.

ExtraTip:  I will do an entire article on this one day but barbecues are perfect for “beer-can” chicken.  To cook a beer can chicken, add spices to you favorite can of beer and stuff it inside the chicken cavity.  Stand the entire chicken so the beer does not spill during cooking.  Use some of the beer in a bowl for basting and cook at a lower temperature.  As convectional heat pulls moisture out of the bird, the beer steams to marinade the chicken from the inside out.  There are a lot of variations of this one to try but they are all awesome!

Grilled Steak and Burgers.

Most BBQ grills need the hood closed to build up enough heat -- conducted in air trapped in the hood -- to barbeque.
Most BBQ grills need the hood closed to build up enough heat -- conducted in air trapped in the hood -- to barbeque.
With a hotter grill, lock the moisture in the food for amazing grilled flavor.
With a hotter grill, lock the moisture in the food for amazing grilled flavor.

BBQ Grilled Steak.

There are few things in life that many of us will enjoy as much as a well cooked steak and this is a well cooked grilled steak. Though we know how to enjoy one, few of us understand how to properly grill one for our at home pleasure. Here are the tips for maximizing your grilled steak experience:

  1. Pick a good cut of steak. Though this should go without saying, a good cut of steak will make all the difference
  2. Let your steak stand at room temperature for approximately one half hour before grilling. This allows the meat to reach room temp and start on an even keel.
  3. Preheat the grill and let it preheat for approximately 15-20 minutes to ensure that it is ready for the steak.  The hotter the grill, the faster the steak will cook and the faster it cooks, the less moisture drips out during the grilling.
  4. Use some regular seasonings-ones that you would normally attribute to your steak, and use on both sides prior to grilling.  Often I will rub the steak several hours prior to grilling.
  5. Use olive oil or cooking spray to prepare the grill for the steak, if you like, but it is not necessary as many people like to have the cooked in flavor from previous grilling infused into their steak.
  6. Cook a regular sized piece of steak for medium rare grilling 5-10 minutes, 10-15 minutes for medium, and 15-25 minutes for well done.

Infrared Seared Steak.

Extra Tip:  Most barbeque grills need the hood closed to build up enough heat to cook.  If you are able to cook on an infrared grill that will cook at 1500 degrees, you have experienced the perfect steak.  However, infrared grills are generally very expensive and the affordable ones do not work well. Use a thick cast iron griddle on one half of your barbeque to conduct enormous temperature.  Leave the cast iron griddle in the BBQ and let it get good and hot.   Properly prepare steak your steak with rubs and get it to room temperature.   Drop it on the cast iron at its hottest and count to ten.  Flip it and count again.  Now drop the heat in the barbeque to medium and move the onto the grilling surface.  Once the outside of the meat is seared, moisture and flavor are locked in.  Leave the meat on the lower-temperature cooking grid just long enough to get the internal temperature where you love it.  Do not use a fork or a knife; puncturing the outer surface defeats the purpose of searing the steak.

Now go grill something!

I love to cook and I especially love to cook outside.  Whatever you cook whether barbeque, grilled or smoked I suggest you don’t take it too seriously and have fun.  I believe I am a good cook but sometimes the most fun I’ve had grilling outside with the family was when we were eating hot dogs and beans.  For me, the goal of the backyard resort is to live life to the fullest every single second.  Of course, that should mean great food and great appetites but not always.

In the comment section below, please tell us some of your favorite things to barbecue, grill, smoke and cook outdoors – or let us know directly at  

Tell Us About It.

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    • Jeanne Crouse profile image

      Jeanne Crouse 

      8 years ago from New England

      Great suggestions for better barbecue cooking. Question on the Beer Can Chicken technique (and I know you mentioned you'll do an entire article on it in the future - I can't wait!) - do you put the spices in the beer or the spices under the skin of the chicken for the best results?

    • profile image

      debbie mcmahon 

      8 years ago

      lots of great information...thanks!


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