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How To Become A Boss On The Grill, Part II - Great Backyard Place

How To Become A Boss On The Grill, Part II

We all know a grillmaster. Their table is always full of perfectly grilled food. Their steaks are juicy and their fish always flakes to perfection.

How can you reach that level on the grill? Experience trumps everything else. But there are plenty of things you can do to get better at grilling. Here are 2 more easy ways to...


(Use either gas or charcoal – these tips can make you a better grill cook on both.)


Remember Dad's grilling? If yours was anything like mine, he just set the coals on fire, waited until most of the lighter fluid burned off, then tossed meat on the hot part of the grill and burned it to a crisp.

Consider that the wrong way to create a heat zone. Here's the right way.

No matter what kind of grill you're using, you need two heat zones on your grill. A hot side for direct heat and a "cooler" side for convection cooking. Many times, the convection side has the heat turned off (or no coals).

With steaks, you'll begin on the direct heat side to sear the meat quickly. Then you'll send it on over to the indirect side to finish cooking.

With most other meats, you'll begin on indirect heat and end up over direct heat. In particular, you'll cook chicken and ribs this way.

Here's a good rule of thumb: things that cook quickly without burning start over direct heat. Foods that burn and need more cooking time start over indirect heat.

Set up heat zones on a gas grill by cranking all the burners on high heat. That way, you make the whole grill and chamber hot. Then, completely turn off the burners on one side.

You can make heat zones on a charcoal grill by piling all the coals on one side. The other side won't have any. If you have a large enough grill, you might even create three zones. Hot, medium, and low heat will allow you to really finesse the heat.


Think about what you're cooking – and what flavors you want to add. It's always best to plan ahead to avoid a last-minute scramble.

  • Take your meats out of the fridge 15-25 minutes before you put them on the grill. Grilling works better when food begins at room temperature.
  • If you soak your meats in brine, rinse it off before you start grilling.
  • Marinade your tougher meats – the kind you'll grill over indirect heat. You're best off marinating the meat overnight in the fridge.
  • If you use a rub, you can add it anytime between the night before and 30 minutes before grilling. You want the meat to become infused with the spices. Delicious!


Now you know how to start grilling for success. Use grill zones, and prep your ingredients so they're ready when you need them.

In the [third installment of our series], we'll look at how to handle your grill surface for best results. You'll be a boss on the grill in no time flat: How to Become a Boss on the Grill, Part 3

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