How to Cook on a Grill

BBQ 101

How to Cook on a Grill

Beginner's Guide to Cooking on a Grill

This article and video will cover the basics of grilling techniques. Did you know you can grill, bake, smoke, reverse-sear, and so much more on your grill? Grilling is more than just a way to cook - it's an experience that can be enjoyed with family and friends; it's an artform that provides some of the best flavors available; and grilling is a great way to experience the outdoors. This beginner's guide to cooking on a grill will walk you through the basics of cooking on a grill for the first time.

As Susie from Hey Grill Hey always says, "If you can cook it inside, you can cook it outside!"

How to Grill

Before you fire up the grill, ensure you're well-prepared. Start by gathering all your grilling tools and ingredients. You'll need long-handled tongs, a grill brush, a meat thermometer, and any seasonings or marinades you plan to use. Additionally, make sure your grill is clean and properly preheated.

First, let's talk about grilling. Grilling is direct, radiant heat. Think about how you cook hot dogs or hamburgers directly over the heat source. Generally, grilling usually happens between the 350-to-500-degree range. Most grilled recipes require just a few minutes on each side.

The main benefit of grilling is that your food will cook fast because you're cooking at a high heat. Because you're searing the exterior of your food, achieving that caramelization, you're getting ideal flavor and sealing in the juices, giving you a great texture.

Grill Recipe Highlight: Smoked Caramel Apple Crumb Pie on the Grill. This Smoked Caramel Apple Crumb Pie is the perfect ending to any meal. Get Recipe.

Smoking on the Grill

Another technique is smoking. Smoking is a form of indirect cooking and usually takes place between 200-300 degrees over a period of hours. Smoking adds flavor, tenderizes, and it turns some of the worst cuts of meat into a great meal. You can add in wood chips or chunks for added smoke flavor.

The big benefit of smoking for a long period of time is the smoke breaks down collagen, which is a tough muscle tissue protein, making the meat more tender. When smoking with charcoal, you infuse a rich, smoky flavor into dishes.

Offset smoking with charcoal is an excellent method for smoking and slow-cooking as it provides a consistent and indrect heat source. For more on how to offset smoke, be sure to check out our blog post: a comprehensive guide to offset smoking.

Baking on a Grill

Next, let's talk about baking. Baking is done by cooking with indirect heat between 300-400 degrees. The big benefit of baking on your grill is you're able to bake just like you would inside, but you're not heating up your house and you the added delicious, smoky flavor. Some common foods to bake on a grill include pizza, bread, casseroles, desserts and vegetable packets.

Smoked baked spaghetti on the grill - to your grilling to new territories with this unique baked spaghetti recipe

Reverse-Searing on a Grill

Finally, let's talk about reverse-searing. To reverse sear, you're smoking then searing. The main benefit with reverse-searing is that you get the tenderness of smoked food, providing more control over the internal temperature, while still getting a great caramelized crust.

You can do this on the Smokin' Champ by having two different heat zones, direct and indirect. Cook until the internal temperature is 10 degrees below your desired doneness, then crank up the heat. You can smoke your meat in the main chamber of the grill, and then place it on the grates within the Side Fire Box to finish of the reverse-sear.

Reverse-searing really enhances the flavor and texture of your dish. This method works great with meat like steak, ribeye, and pork chops.

Additional Tips for your First Time Grilling

Looking for a few more tips for your first time using your grill? Check out the list below for a few handy tips:

  • Timing is Everything - Understanding grilling times is crucial for achieving the desired level of doneness. Use a meat thermometer to ensure your meat reaches the correct internal temperature. For instance, medium-rare steaks should register around 135°F (57°C), while chicken should reach 165°F (74°C). Learn more about cook times in our blog post on how to control grill heat and temperature as well as our post on how to know when your food is done
  • Avoid Over-flipping - When grilling, resist the urge to constantly flip your food. Instead, flip it once or as needed to create those appealing grill marks
  • Lid Management - The grill lid can be your best friend. Keep it closed to maintain consistent heat and trap smoky flavors when using indirect heat. Only open the lid when necessary to check or flip your food
  • Resting Your Meat - Allow your grilled masterpieces to rest for a few minutes before cutting into them. Resting meat helps redistribute juices, ensuring that your final dish is juicy and flavorful.
  • Clean Up Afterward - Don't forget the post-grilling cleanup. Use your grill brush to clean the grates while they're still warm. Not sure how to clean? check out our blog post for cleaning your grill properly.

So, there you have it—a beginner's guide to grilling techniques that will set you on the path to grilling mastery. These are just a few techniques you can experiement with in your own backyard. Get out there and try it for yourself!

About the BBQ 101 Series

Susie Bulloch founded Hey Grill Hey in 2015 with one desire: to help people make better BBQ. Char-Griller and Kingsford partnered with Susie and Todd to bring you this series of content, BBQ 101, to help you become a better backyard bbq pro.

Offset Smoking Snapshot

Texas-style smoking in your own backyard? It’s possible with Char-Griller’s line of offset smokers. Equipped with Side Fire Boxes for going low n’ slow just like classic pitmasters, Char-Griller’s offset smokers will help you create the best pork butt, the most epic ribs, fall off the bone smoked chicken and so much more.