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Style Magazine

Fire It Up: 10 Grilling Tips

I often say the heart of grilling lies in grilling techniques. What separates the master grillers from the masses is that the experts understand how to manage their grill. Sure, recipes are important, but techniques matter most. Thus, here are the 10 essentials for better grilling. Follow these tips to become a true BBQ master.

1) Preheat the grill with the lid closed for 10-15 minutes.

With all the coals glowing red, or all the gas burners on high, the temperature under the lid should reach 500°. The heat loosens any bits and pieces of food hanging onto the grate, making it easy to brush them off. Preheating your grill also helps prevent food from sticking to the grate, and gets the grate hot enough to sear properly.

2) Keep it clean

When bits of food have stuck to your cooking grate, and the grate is hot, clean it with a stainless steel brush. This step is not only for cleanliness, but it also prevents your food from sticking.

Note: Replace brush if any loose bristles are found on cooking grates or brush.

3) Oil the food, not the grate

Oil prevents food from sticking and adds flavor and moisture. Lightly brushing or spraying the food with oil works better than brushing the grate.

4) Keep the lid down

It keeps the grates hot enough to sear the food, speeds up the cooking time and prevents the food from drying out, traps the smokiness that develops when fat and juices vaporize in the grill, and prevents flare-ups by limiting oxygen.

5) Monitor the time and temperature to avoid overcooking your food, and use a timer

If you’re grilling in a colder climate or in a higher altitude, the cooking times will be longer. If the wind is blowing hard, it will lower a gas grill's temperature and raise a charcoal grill's temperature.

6) Know when to be direct; know when to be indirect

Direct heat (when the fire is directly below the food) is best for relatively small, tender pieces of food that cook in 20 minutes or less. Indirect heat (when the fire is on either side of the food) is best for larger, tougher cuts of meat that require more than 20 minutes of cooking.

7) Maintaining temperatures

By having a consistent, reliable heat source and proper venting, the grill can maintain low or high temperatures effectively. The dampers on the top and bottom of the grill control the airflow inside. The more air flowing into the grill, the hotter the fire will grow and the more frequently you’ll have to replenish it. To slow the rate of your fires burn, close the top vent as much as halfway and keep the lid on as much as possible. The bottom vent should be left open whenever you’re grilling so you don’t kill your fire. Gas grills have individual control knobs so that you can easily regulate the heat and create different grilling zones easily.

8) Tame the flame

Too many flare-ups can burn your food. Keep the lid on as much as possible to limit the amount of oxygen inside the grill, which will help extinguish any flare-ups. If the flames are getting out of control, move the food over indirect heat temporarily, until they die down then move the food back.

9) Caramelization is key

One of the biggest reasons for the popularity of grilled food is its seared taste. To develop this taste for maximum effect, use the right level of heat and resist the temptation to turn food often. Your patience will allow for caramelization, or browning. As a general rule, turn food only once.

10) Lighter fluid: no way!

It's a liquid product that evaporates. Who wants that, and its foul chemical fumes under their food? Chimney starters and lighter cubes are much cleaner and much more effective.

Compiled by Kevin Kolman; reprinted with permission from Weber Stephen Products LLC


The Hills Bacon Cheeseburger

Submitted by Relish Burger Bar, 1000 White Rock Road, El Dorado Hills, 916-933-3111,


3 slices applewood-smoked bacon

1/2 lb. 80/20 Certified Angus Beef, ground

Salt & pepper, to taste

1 slice pepper-jack cheese

Bun of choice (preferable one-inch thick bottom so it holds up to the toppings)

Cooking oil of choice, for sheen and presentation

Green-leaf lettuce



Special Sauce:

1/2 cup extra strong Dijon mustard with white wine

1/4 cup all-natural wildflower honey

Make special sauce by mixing mustard and honey; set aside.


Cook bacon to desired crispness; set aside.


Form beef into patty and season with salt and pepper. Cook on flattop grill or pan at 400 °. Flip after 4 minutes. Top with cheese and bacon; cook for another 4 minutes to a perfect medium.


Oil top bun and spread sauce on both sides. Add patty with cheese and bacon, followed by lettuce and tomato.



•Don’t smash the patty; doing so will result in a dry product.

•Always buy local—be it produce or meat.

•Use an 80/20 blend of grain-fed, Certified Angus Beef; the higher fat content translates to a juicier burger.