It's the most wonderful time of the year: grilling season! If you're new to grilling with gas, you might be a little nervous about getting the most out of your grilling recipes. Don't worry, grilling is as fun and easy as it is delicious. To get you started, we went to Patrick Montgomery, founder of Veteran-owned KC Cattle Company in Kansas City to get answers to all of your burning questions about grilling with gas. Plus, a few tips seasoned grillers will be glad to add to their repertoire.
Always start with a clean grill
It may seem obvious, but you're not going to create delicious food on a dirty grill. Although there are many methods to accomplish this, we're a big fan of cleaning your grill with an onion. Here's how:
Heat your grill
Cut the onion in half
Scrub the onion back and forth to remove caked-on food particles and grime (tip: stick the onion with a fork and hold it by the handle to make sure you don't burn yourself).
If you need a little extra cleaning power, spray the grill with a mist of white vinegar.
Your gill is now clean.
Make sure you have plenty of gas
It's no fun if your gas runs out while you're in the middle of grilling your burger so be sure you've got plenty of propane before you get started. If you're using a propane tank, we recommend keeping a full backup tank on hand. This way, if your tank gives out halfway through you can switch it out quickly and refill it down the road when your schedule allows.
Preheat your grill
According to Montgomery, preheating your grill is important and neglecting to do so is a common grilling mistake. He says, "Allowing your grill to preheat allows for the grill grates to heat up and for the grill to provide proper convection heat. This is how you get awesome grill marks and prevent your meat from sticking to the grill grates". When we asked how long you should preheat your grill before you begin cooking and he said, "this depends on the size and type of grill. A good rule of thumb is 30 minutes."
Bring your protein to room temperature
If you're grilling protein, Montgomery says you'll achieve the best results if you bring it to room temperature before you put it on your grill. This will help make sure that your meat is juicy and evenly cooked. He continues on to say, "I like pulling the protein from the fridge when I start my grill. For steak, this is when I do a salt brine (normally the only thing I put on steak)."
Choose between direct heat and indirect heat
The key to mastering the grill is learning when to use direct heat versus indirect heat. According to Montgomery, both have their place. He says, "Direct heat is placing the meat directly on the flame of your grill. Indirect heat is placing the protein items away from direct heat, but still in a place the protein is cooking."
In general, direct heat is great for grilling veggies quickly, searing meat, and grilling shellfish. Since indirect heat means that you're placing your food away from the burner, it's best for foods you want to cook slowly (think Southern barbecue or any foods you want to cook through without burning the exterior).
How to tell if your meat is done grilling
The last step to grilling is taking your food off the grill. If you're cooking meat, Montgomery offered a few tips for cooking your meat to its desired doneness. First, he says to ignore the cooking time suggested in recipes. This is important since each grill cooks differently.
The easiest way to tell if your meat is done is to invest in a good meat thermometer and follow the instructions. If you don't happen to have one on hand, Montgomery suggests using the skin on your face to confirm your meat's doneness. He says, "Essentially, the skin on your cheek will have a similar feel to the meat you are cooking when it is medium rare. The skin on your chin will have a similar feel when it is medium. The skin on your forehead will feel similar when it is medium-well. This is about the best method you can use if you do not have a thermometer."
What tools do you need for grilling?
What should you cook on a gas grill?
There are no limits to what you can make once you've mastered your gas grill. You can cook standards like grilled steak or wow them with creative dishes like grilled watermelon or grilled pizza! Experimenting is half the fun!