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Tips For Grilling With A Propane Grill
Whether you grill all year long, or are just dusting off the grill for the summer season, I'm sure you wouldn't mind some tips for grilling with your propane stove. Sure most people already now how to grill fairly well, it isn't exactly rocket science. But I'm sure even you could use some grilling tips that help your food to turn out just the way you want it. Some of these tips for grilling are what I was taught, or what I have learned from trial and error and some are from research I did on my own to be a better cook myself.
Take a look at some of these grilling tips and hopefully your summer will produce some tasty home grilled meals.
Get Your Grill Ready
The first tip for grilling is to make sure that your grill is ready to cook. Make sure that your grill is in a location that is away from flammable objects, such as branches. Check that your propane bottle has enough fuel left for your cooking session, or make sure that you have an extra bottle readily available. There's nothing worse then running out of propane in the middle of a grilling session and having to finish your meat in the microwave.
You'll also want to make sure that your grill surface, or grate, is clean and ready for your meat. Often it is easiest to pre-heat your grill to cooking temperature, then use a wire brush to clean the grate off. You can then use a soft brush with olive or vegetable oil to lightly coat the surface of the grate to reduce the chance of your meat sticking to the metal.
Try to avoid using spray type cooking sprays. Some of them have flammable ingredients that are not a good mix with a propane fire! You can usually use these sprays when the grill is off, so make sure you spray the grill before it is on, or use oil on a brush once the grill is on and heating up.
Prepare Your Food Before You Turn On The Grill
Once you know that your grill has plenty of propane, you will want to check your recipe before you turn the grill on. Sure, you might be able to take hamburgers or a basic steak and throw it on the grill without really thinking about it, but if you are trying a recipe that calls for a marinade or skewers, you might need some prep.
If you are going to marinade your meat, make sure you start that marinade early enough that you will still have time to cook the meat. If you are used to eating around 5:00 p.m., you probably don't want to start a two hour marinade at 4:30 p.m. Different marinades call for different amounts of soaking.
If you're going to use skewers in your meat, you will want to soak the wooden style for at least an hour before they are used, to help reduce the chances that they will burn up while the meat is cooking.
You can also cook corn on the grill with a little preparation. Soak the corn for about an hour before hand. Once you are ready to grill it, wrap the corn in two layers of aluminum foil, then place the foil-wrapped corn on the grill. This method gives a great grilled/steamed flavor to the corn. Once you've tried corn this way, you probably won't want to eat corn that has just been boiled.
Pay Attention To You Grill
When I first started grilling I naively thought that higher temperatures meant faster cooking times. Unfortunately this lead to a lot of steaks that were burnt on the outside, but still very much red on the inside. I learned over time that a lower temperature, while taking longer, allowed for a more even distribution of heat. That meant that I could choose how well done the inside of the steak or burger was, but whether someone wanted it rare or well done, the outside was never burnt. It also makes your steak or meat retain more of the moister than when cooked at a high temperature.
It's also important that you pay attention to your grill while you are cooking. It is tempting to go inside while the meat is cooking, trust me, I've done it many times, but if you want to keep the temperature even, you need to be nearby. While I was smoking salmon I was trying to keep the temperature at 225 degrees. Because of the long time required to smoke the meat, I was going inside for 10-15 minutes at a time. One of the times I came out and noticed that because of a flare up, the temperature had risen to almost 400 degrees. A nearby squirt bottle assisted in getting the flames knocked back and the temperature back where I wanted it.
Now that doesn't mean that you have to constantly move, flip or check the meat, but you should be nearby in case of flare up or for when the meat is ready to be flipped. If you are cooking for a party or gathering, the grill can be a great place to hang out and chat while the meat is cooking.
Get Creative With Your Grill
The nice thing about using a propane grill is that there are options for different methods of cooking. You don't always have to place your food directly on the grate and cook your food the same as you have always done. If you have more than one side to control on your grill, you can cook using indirect heat by putting the food on one side and igniting the other side. As mentioned above, you can also cook vegetables on the grill using tin foil. Soak your vegetables in water or a marinade, then wrap them in tin foil to cook. It is a delicious combination of steaming within the foil and a grilled taste.
You can also use a propane grill as a smoker. In my smoked salmon link above I used a regular propane grill to smoke several salmon. This not only turned out delicious, but was great because I was able to try out a new method of cooking, smoking, without having to buy an actual smoker. You can also check out a similar recipe for smoked trout that I cooked the same way.
Now Get Out And Start Grilling!
Another great reason to cook with a propane grill during the summer is to reduce the heat in your house. If you cook a lot on a stove top or in the oven, each meal will definitely raise the temperature of your kitchen and possibly the rooms near the kitchen. while that might be desirable during the winter, you probably don't want your house getting any warmer in the summer. Cooking outside on your grill keeps that heat outside and out of the house.
If you have your own creative methods for propane cooking make sure you share them below in the comment section.