Planning on throwing a couple of barbecue parties this summer? I know I am! Summer is made for cookouts with friends and family- hanging out in the yard, playing those classic outdoor games, and of course, the food.
Grilling doesn't have to be overwhelming or feel like a chore, especially if you have some helpful bbq hacks to keep in the back of your mind. Fire up the grill, grab a cold drink, and check out our list of grill hacks to help you out this summer!
1. Use rosemary as skewers.
Tired of meat or vegetables falling through the grill grates? Try using fresh rosemary as skewers. They're sturdy enough to hold meat and the rosemary will give off extra flavor.
If you don't have rosemary, instead of using just one skewer, use two. You'll have an easier time flipping your kebabs on the grill. And if you're using wooden skewers, don't forget to soak them in water for a few minutes to prevent them from burning.
2. Use a muffin tin for condiments.
This is one of my favorite grill hacks! Serve condiments like ketchup, mustard, and pickles in muffin tin. It keeps them organized and all of the bottles and jars out of the way.
3. Get rid of your grill brush.
Have you read up on grill brushes lately? It might just be the perfect time to toss it! There are other great alternatives to a grill brush- aluminum foil or an onion.
If you go with the aluminum foil method, scrunch it up into a ball and hold on to it with a pair of tongs. Before the grill cools down, run the aluminum foil over the grill grates to remove all the gunk.
You can also go with the onion method, just slice one in half and rub it on the grill grates. If you clean off the grates before you start your bbq, the acidity from the onion will also help creat a nonstick surface for your meat.
4. Use an egg carton as an easy fire starter.
This grilling trick will help get the fire started on the grill and you can even use it when you go camping or sitting by the fire pit. Simply take an empty cardboard egg carton and fill it with charcoal bricks. Light the egg carton and by the time it burns down, the charcoal bricks start.
5. Spiral cut hot dogs.
If you want something impressive sitting on the grill, try to spiral cut your hot dogs. Yes, they look super cool, but they will also cook more evenly and the crevices perfectly hold condiments.
6. Label hamburger rolls with ketchup.
Have a ton of burgers to grill? It's summer, of course you do! Well, to help you keep track of how many burgers to cook medium-rare, medium, well-done, etc, use a squeeze bottle filled with ketchup to label the hamburger rolls so you know exactly what to cook.
This simple trick makes grilling so easy!
7. Check the propane level in the tank with hot water.
Not sure if you have enough fuel to last the entire bbq? No need to fear because this grill hack will easily help you check the propane level in the tank. All you do is tilt the propane tanks and pour a bucket of very hot water over one side.
It will feel cold to the touch where there is propane and warm where there's just air.
8. Grill fish on a bed of lemons.
Fish straight from the grill is so tasty, but can easily turn into a disaster if it sticks! To prevent fish from sticking on the grill, try grilling it on top of a bed of sliced lemons. So easy and the lemons will also give some extra flavor to the fish.
If you don't have any lemons, try using your cast iron skillet right on top of the grill. You'll still get that smoky flavor and the skillet will help prevent delicate fish from sticking.
9. Smoke your lemons.
While we're talking about lemons, a great way to add some smoky flavor to meat and drinks is to grill your lemons. Just halve some lemons (or any other citrus) and place them on the bbq for a few minutes. This simple step will add some nice flavors to any dish.
10. Turn your grill into a smoker.
Meat and veggies with that extra hint of smoky flavor are absolutely amazing! You can easily achieve that flavor by wrapping some wood chips in an aluminum foil pouch. Don't forget to poke some holes in the pouch and simply place it underneath the grate.
11. Make a warming rack.
Most gas grills already have a warming rack, but if you own a charcoal grill, chances are you don't have one. Keep food warm with this simple trick. Take two tin cans and place a small wire rack right on top.
How easy is that?
12. Use ice cubes or butter for juicy burgers.
There's nothing worse than a dried-out, hard-to-swallow hamburger. This simple grilling hack will keep them from drying out. While you're forming the patties, add in an ice cube or a little butter to the center of the ground meat. Cover it up with some more meat and as the ice or butter melts, it'll keep the interior moist.
13. Keep a spray bottle of apple juice nearby.
For meat like ribs, chicken, or pork a great way to add in some sweet flavor is to spray it with some apple juice. You can add in some apple cider vinegar to the spray bottle as well.
While this trick adds some sweet flavor, it also helps with keeping the meat moist.
This article was originally published on July 30, 2018.