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Heartland America Blog

Elevate Your Grilling Game: 10 Hacks You Need to Try!

Discover the ultimate grilling guide with 10 expert hacks that will transform your BBQ skills and take your grilling game to new heights.

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by Jessie Breheim • June 16, 2023

Grilling season is in full swing, and it's time to take your outdoor cooking skills to the next level. Whether you're a seasoned grill master or just starting out, these ten grilling hacks will help you achieve mouthwatering results and impress your guests. From adding unique flavors to searing your meat, these tricks are sure to make your grilling experience even better! 

man grilling outside

1. Grill Fruits for a Sweet and Smoky Dessert:

Don't limit your grilling prowess to savory dishes; explore the realm of grilled fruits for a mouthwatering dessert. Grilling fruits like peaches, pineapples, or watermelon caramelizes their natural sugars, intensifying their sweetness and adding a delightful smoky twist. Simply slice your chosen fruit, brush it lightly with oil, and grill for a few minutes on each side until grill marks appear. Serve them as they are or pair them with a scoop of ice cream for a simple yet impressive dessert that will leave your guests wanting more.

2. Rubbing an Onion on the Grill for Flavor:

Who knew an onion could enhance the taste of your grilled food? This hack might sound surprising, but it's a game-changer. Before firing up the grill, cut a large onion in half and rub the cut side vigorously on the grates. The onion juices release a subtle flavor that adds depth and complexity to your meats and vegetables. The natural sugars in the onion caramelize as they cook, imparting a delicious sweet and smoky taste. Give it a try, and you'll be amazed by the extra layer of flavor it brings to your dishes.

3. Rubbing a Potato on the Grill to Make it Nonstick:

Tired of battling sticky grates and losing precious bits of your perfectly grilled food? Say goodbye to those frustrations with this simple hack. Take a raw potato and slice it in half. Holding the cut side, firmly rub the potato over the hot grill grates before cooking. The natural starches in the potato create a thin, protective layer that prevents sticking. This trick not only makes flipping burgers and delicate fish fillets easier but also makes cleanup a breeze. Your food will effortlessly glide off the grill, leaving you with beautifully grilled meals and less time spent scrubbing.

4. Cooking Sides with Aluminum Foil:

You can easily cook sides on the grill with some heavy-duty aluminum foil. A DIY Dad favorite is adding a single serving of sliced potatoes, butter, and Lipton onion soup mix to a sheet of tin foil and sealing it for grilling. Create separate tinfoil packs for each serving. Grill for 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

5. Marinating with Citrus for Tenderizing and Brightness:

Citrus fruits are not just refreshing beverages; they can also work wonders as a marinade. Harness the power of lemons, limes, or oranges to tenderize your meats and add a vibrant brightness to your grilled creations. Create a marinade by combining citrus juice, zest, olive oil, herbs, and spices. Let your meats soak in this tangy concoction for a few hours or overnight. The citrus marinade will not only infuse your meat with incredible flavor but also help break down the proteins, resulting in a tender and juicy outcome.

6. Creating Flavorful Smoke with Herbs:

Smoking food imparts an irresistible aroma and complexity to your grilled dishes. While traditional wood chips work wonders, you can experiment with adding fresh herbs to elevate the flavors even further. Soak a handful of aromatic herbs like rosemary, thyme, or sage in water for about 30 minutes. Once soaked, place them directly on the coals or in a smoker box if using a gas grill. The herbs will release fragrant smoke as they heat up, infusing your food with a subtle, herbaceous essence. This hack is perfect for imparting a unique flavor twist to your grilled meats, vegetables, or even pizza.

7. Utilizing a Meat Thermometer for Precise Cooking:

Achieving the ideal level of doneness is crucial for a juicy and perfectly cooked meal. Enter the meat thermometer, your secret weapon for precision cooking. Invest in a reliable instant-read meat thermometer and make it your grilling companion. When grilling meats like steaks, chicken, or pork, insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat to get an accurate reading. Say goodbye to guesswork and ensure your food is cooked to perfection, tender and succulent every time.

8. Resting Meat for Juicy Results:

One often overlooked yet crucial step in grilling is allowing the cooked meat to rest before serving. After removing your meats from the grill, resist the temptation to cut into them right away. Resting allows the meat's juices to redistribute, ensuring maximum tenderness and juiciness. Cover the cooked meat loosely with foil and let it rest for a few minutes. This simple step will make a world of difference in the final texture and flavor of your grilled meats.

9. Reverse Sear Method for Perfectly Cooked Steaks:

Achieving the ideal level of doneness while ensuring a juicy and tender steak can be challenging. The reverse sear method is a foolproof technique that guarantees consistent results. Begin by cooking your steak indirectly on a cooler part of the grill, away from direct heat, until it reaches an internal temperature slightly below your desired level of doneness. Then, move the steak over to the direct heat side of the grill to sear both sides for a minute or two. This method allows for even cooking, a beautiful crust, and a perfectly pink and juicy center. Your steaks will be the talk of the town!

10. Preheating the Grill for Perfect Sear Marks:

Searing your steaks or burgers with those coveted grill marks not only looks impressive but also adds a delectable crust. To achieve those picture-perfect sear marks, proper preheating is essential. Heat your grill on high for at least 10-15 minutes before cooking. This allows the grates to reach the ideal temperature and ensures the Maillard reaction—the process responsible for browning and enhancing flavor—takes place quickly, giving you those mouthwatering grill marks. Remember, a hot grill is key to achieving restaurant-quality sear marks.

grilling meat

Time to Get Out & Grill Like a Pro!

These ten grilling hacks are sure to take your outdoor cooking to new heights. From adding unique flavors with onion rubs to achieving nonstick grates with a simple potato trick, each hack brings something special to the table. So, fire up the grill, put these tips into action, and get ready to impress your family and friends with your newfound grilling expertise. Happy grilling!

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