It’s true, gas barbecues are the quickest and easiest to use. You don’t have to wrestle with coals and lighter fluid or wait an eternity for the grill to heat up. It’s certainly an attractive choice if you value speed and ease, but don’t take that to mean that you can’t get fancy on a gas grill, too!
Here are some tips and techniques to help you get the most out of your gas barbecue, whether you’re flipping burgers or finessing a rack of ribs.
A single propane tank can last for between 10 and 20 hours of cooking, depending on the size of your grill. Before starting, make sure that you have enough! It’s a good habit to always have a full backup tank nearby.
If you barbecue often and your home is connected to a gas line, it may be worth getting your outdoor grill connected as well. This looks cleaner, and you won’t need to worry about running out of propane.
To turn on the grill:
You wouldn’t put a pie or a cake into a cold oven, would you? Likewise, you shouldn’t put food on the barbecue until it is thoroughly heated. Give the grill ten to fifteen minutes to heat up, with the lid closed.
In the meantime, you can prepare your food.
Just as you don’t want to put food on a cold grill, it’s best not to work with very cold food, either. While the grill is heating up, take the meat out of the fridge and let it get closer to room temperature. If you need to season your protein (whether it be a dry rub, a fast-marinade or a salt brine), this is a great time to do it.
Starting with a clean grill goes a long way! Old gunk stuck to the grill from the last time you used it will taint the flavour of today’s meal and cause your food to stick more.
Now that your grill is piping hot, give it a good cleaning.
Use a wire brush or a wooden scraper to get all the charred residue off of the grill grates. In a pinch, you can use an onion instead!
Once the grill is nice and clean, season it with canola or vegetable oil.
Regular oil treatments will reduce sticking and protect the grill grates from rusting.
Now that your grill is hot, clean and seasoned, you’re ready to start cooking!
The ideal cooking temperature will vary depending on what you’re making.
Indirect vs. direct heating on a gas grill
You don’t have to cook with all of the burners at the same temperature. Depending on what you’re making, you might want to create different ‘zones’ on your grill: some for high-heat fare and others for slower, lower-heat items.
As a rule of thumb, anything that takes more than 20 minutes on the grill should be placed beside the heat source rather than directly above it. This will allow the inside to cook without compromising the exterior.
When to use the lid
This question fits hand-in-hand with the last one. When the lid is down, the barbecue acts as an oven, keeping the heat trapped inside. You’ll want to do this whenever you’re opting for indirect cooking. If you’re making fast-cooking things like thin steaks, pork chops, or burgers over a direct flame, you should keep the lid open (so that the meat doesn’t overcook).
When is it ready?
While there are many tricks for gauging whether your meat is done cooking, we still believe that the easiest, safest, more sure-fire way to know is by using a reliable meat thermometer. Stick the probe into the thickest part of the meat, as close to the centre as possible. If you’re not confident in the placement of the probe, take another stab someplace else—the probes are so thin that you won’t ruin the presentation or risk overcooking the centre.
Whatever you do, don’t cut the meat open while it’s still on the grill! Once you’ve sliced into it, it becomes pretty easy to overcook the inside.
Once you’ve finished with the grill, turn off all burners, and turn the knob on the propane tank all the way to the right (clockwise). Give the grill grates a quick brushing, and wait for the whole thing to cool down. Once the barbecue is cooled, put the waterproof cover on.
The Fireplace Center and Patio Shop is your one-stop-shop for all your indoor and outdoor essentials. With one of Canada’s largest showrooms, we have over 200 fireplaces on display. With extensive knowledge in BBQs, heating and cooling, and patio furniture, you can trust our team to provide expert advice, quality assembly and installation. Get in touch with us today.