“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”
(Clarence Budington Kelland)
Sunday is Father’s Day — a day for love, celebration, and recognition of the important role a father plays in his family.
Being a dad is one of the great joys of my life. Dads fix things, take out the garbage, lift heavy objects, open jars, and untie knots. Dads hug sadness away, tell embarrassing stories, give advice, and love unconditionally. Dads help take care of and provide for their families. And Dads barbecue!
There are many “Dad Things” I do well, but barbecuing was never one of them. That is until I discovered these ten tips for better grilling more than two years ago. I first published this post for Father’s Day in 2015. I’m still using all ten tips, and they make my grilling better than ever, and my grilling time great fun!
1. Marinate Your Meat
TIME published a list of 23 Surprising Things that May Extend Your Life – and one of their recommendations is to marinate your meat.
The article said that several suspected carcinogens form when meat is grilled or heated at high temperatures. Their solution: a simple marinade! My favorite is a blend of oregano, basil, garlic, onion, jalapeño, parsley, and crushed red pepper.
2. Thumb the Burger
My hamburgers used to always turn out “bloated” in the middle until I learned this secret from Grilling Companion: use your thumb to create an indention in the center of the patty before you put it on the grill.
3. Flip Once
In the Netflix series Chef’s Table, the great chef Francis Mallmann shared the secret to keeping meat from sticking to the grill: take the total cooking time required for whatever you are barbecuing, start by leaving the meat on the grill for about two-thirds of the time, and then only flip once.
4. Temperature Control
I used to struggle with determining when the meat has reached the right temperature. Now I use an instant-read thermometer that’s fast and accurate – and makes it easy to grill to the precise temperature I want.
5. Rest the Meat
6. No Cleaning
I have tried dozens of different techniques for cleaning barbecue grates. Three years ago I adopted a Zen methodology of “less is more.”
Now when I’m finished grilling, I shut down the gas and leave the grates to ‘season’ with the residue. Next time, I heat the grill to 500+ degrees, knock off anything large with my grill brush, and start cooking. Combined with Chef Mallmann’s “flip once” rule, this tip has eliminated the problem of meat sticking to the grill.
7. Back-up Gas
Before I became a more evolved grill master, I would often run out of gas in the middle of cooking and have to rush to the store to replace it. Whenever the store was closed, I would embarrassingly move to the kitchen to finish dinner. Now I keep a spare Blue Rhino tank on hand so I can grill with confidence.
8. Invest in a Great Grill
My family gave me a Weber Genesis S-330 Gas Grill three Father’s Days ago. It is the second Weber Genesis I have owned, and it’s by far my favorite grill. It still looks and cooks great, and is easy to maintain. If you don’t have one, there’s still time for this Father’s Day!
9. Piped-in and Personalized
I love listening to music or a football game when I’m grilling. With our Yamaha AV receiver, I can listen to my favorite music on Pandora while my family is inside watching a show of their choice. During football season, we can have all zones turned on the game, so I can listen inside and out, and even watch the game through our patio doors.
10. Love and Relax
The last and most important tip of all is to have fun and relax when you are grilling for your family and friends. I have learned the more love I pour into cooking, the better the food tastes.
Happy Father’s Day to all loving dads out there… and most especially to my Dad!
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