Grilling 101

Nothing says summer days like the smell of your barbecue. Grilling can be a faster way to get dinner on the table if it’s done right. Whether you’re looking to cook kebabs or a juicy steak, you need to know the basics. Here are 10 grilling tips and tricks you can use next time you want to grill.

Basic Grilling Tips

1. Let your grill warm up. All gas grilling gurus agree that a pre-heated grill gives the best results. It sears food on contact and helps prevent sticking. Fire up your grill and let it preheat for about 15 minutes. Aim for 450–550°F for high, 400–450°F for medium-high, 350–400°F for medium, 300–350°F for medium-low, and 250–300°F for low heat.

2. Clean your grill grates. It’s easiest to clean grill grates when the grill is hot. After pre-heating, use a wooden grill scraper to remove any charred bits left over on the grates. Then, do it again as soon as you’re done cooking.

3. Oil your grill. Sometimes lean food sticks even with the cleanest of grills. Help prevent sticking by oiling the grill right before the food goes on with a vegetable oil-soaked paper towel. Hold the towel with grill tongs so you don’t burn your fingers. Don’t spray a hot grill with cooking spray or oil!

4. Keep it sanitary. Move any platter that held raw meat right away and grab a clean one to use when your food comes off the grill.

5. Keep food from falling. A grill mat is great for keeping your food in place while it’s cooking. A mat will keep your grates clean, but still give you rich grill marks. It also allows delicate, small foods to cook without sticking or falling through the grill grates and keeps the flavors of the foods from mixing.

6. Put a lid on it. Keep that lid closed! Peek only when it’s necessary to turn food or check doneness.

7. Check your meat’s temperature. Get a meat thermometer to accurately tell when your food is cooked to the temperature you want. Check the meat with the thermometer in the same spot so less juice runs out. Remember, the temperature will rise a few degrees once it’s off the heat.

8. Watch for flare-ups. Keep an eye on your grill for flare-ups. They occur when fat drips onto the heat and catches fire. You can reduce flare-ups by using a grill mat or cooking with lean meat, trimming off the excess fat, and removing poultry skin.

9. Even out your food. Hot spots are bound to happen with any type of grill so move your food around if you notice things aren’t cooking evenly.

10. Let your meat rest. Allow meat to rest (tented with foil) for about 10 minutes before serving. This lets the juices redistribute evenly for the best and tastiest results.

In the Kitchen With Pampered Chef

Watch Tim from our Test Kitchen demonstrate his grilling technique to gain more grilling insights:

Grilling Recipes

Now that you know the grilling basics, you can try grilling some of our favorite recipes.

Juicy Lucy Grilled Burger
Juicy Lucy Stuffed Burger

Do you have any grilling tips for new grillers? Tell us in the comments below.

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This post has been updated since its original publication in July, 2015.

6 Responses to Grilling 101

  1. Debbie Majewski March 24, 2017 at 12:20 pm #

    I’ve just learned about oiling up the grill.

  2. Anne Leake July 22, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

    Like the temperature.

  3. Kathy Mansco June 11, 2020 at 11:52 am #

    My husband uses half of a raw onion to clean our grill.

    • Kim Thompson June 25, 2020 at 9:56 am #

      I also put my potatoes on my grill, with onions and different spices. I have a charcoal grill too so ya gotta soak the the charcoal, let it for about 5-8 minutes then put on a little bit more on ALL the charcoal and then light it. Let your charcoal get white and the charcoal needs to be kinda flat, then put your meat, pots, and even corn on the cob wrapped with tinfoil and butter(of course). Your whole meal is on the grill 😋!’

  4. Jan Wanderer July 2, 2020 at 9:22 am #

    everything is so delicious!!!

  5. Carol Butler August 19, 2020 at 8:46 pm #

    We just started using our new grill and a tip I have is cutting a small onion in half, sticking it with a long grilling fork and dipping it into a vegetable oil several times as you rub the oiled onion over the grill grated to prevent food from sticking while cooking. Repeat this as needed. It worked great grilling ribs.

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