Grill Tips for the Gourmet Gal in You

Grill Tips 1

Grill tips that we can all follow

By Gail Kearns

Summer is here. It’s grilling season! Fearless women everywhere are dusting off their barbecues and getting their grill on. We all know that cooking food over an open fire is one of life’s greatest joys. And, yes, another is eating the perfectly grilled steak, a rack of ribs, or a piece salmon once it’s done to perfection.

And grilling isn’t just men’s territory either. More and more women are getting out the charcoal, entering grill contests, chili cook-offs, and judging outdoor cooking competitions. Check out the recently launched bushcooking.com, and you’ll see plenty of mouthwatering recipes.

Indeed, sometimes the simplest pleasures are the greatest enjoyments. So, to get your grill season started right, here are a few tips about the basics and some techniques to master, whether you’re a beginner or a veteran, using either a gas or charcoal grill.

  • Get yourself a chimney starter. Forget the lighter fluid or even the match-light coals. The chimney starter works like a charm. No more gas-flavored hamburgers.

Grill Tips 2

  • Let those coals get gray before putting your food on the grill. It may take some patience if you’ve got a crowd of hungry people to feed, but if you start cooking before your coals are ready you may not get the results you desire. If you’re using a gas grill make sure you preheat the grates sufficiently (10 minutes or so) before cooking, otherwise your food will stick to the metal. Not good!
  • Don’t forget to clean your grill grates. Burnt-on layers of food also contribute to the sticky factor when preparing food on the grill. But don’t bother cleaning it when you’ve got hungry mouths to feed or at the end of the evening when the grill has already cooled down. If you use your grill regularly, clean it up the next time you fire it up!

  • Try cooking with indirect heat. This means setting up the coals on one side of the grill and leaving the other side empty. If using a gas grill, light the burners on one side and leave the other side off or on very low heat. You’ll have much more control over cooking when you can move your food items from one side to the other. Sear meat and veggies on the hot side then move them to other side for gentler cooking. This is especially useful during flare-ups! For easier clean up, you can also place a drip pan in the center of the banked coals.
  • Use a grill basket for fish and small foods that could easily slip through the barbecue grates. For veggies use perforated pans.

Grill Tips 4

  • Don’t keep opening the lid! This again is where patience comes in handy. “Is it done yet!” is not a good mantra. If you’re cooking on a gas grill, opening the lid will make it cooler. If you’re cooking on a charcoal grill, opening the lid will make it hotter. Some outdoor chefs like to flip their burgers and meat several times to get those lovely looking charred grill marks. That’s okay as long as you know that opening and closing the lid is adding inconsistencies to your cooking temp.
  • Use those vents on your grill to control heat. It’s all about adjusting the flow of oxygen, which in turn adjusts the heat inside your grill. The venting system is crucial to how long the coals will last and the amount of heat it provides.
  • Add barbecue sauce toward the end of cooking your chicken or ribs, or any other fare for that matter. You’ll get just as much flavor without the risk of burning your food to a crisp or giving it a bitterness that will turn up the noses of your foodie girlfriends.

  • A good tip for spareribs: Don’t forget to remove the membrane from the bone side of the slab. If left on, it can shrink and cause uneven cooking.
  • When caramelizing onions for your burgers, place a cast iron pan directly on the barbecue grate over considerable heat. Stir onions frequently for 30 to 45 minutes until a deep golden color. You’ll need a lot of onions because they shrink down a lot, but it’s so worth it!

  • Use a thermometer to tell when the meat is done. Sounds simple, but too many people cut open a piece of chicken or meat to see if it’s done or they poke it with their fingers to test it.
  • Let meat rest off the grill for a few minutes before serving. If you want serve it really sizzling, you can put it back on the grill for 30 seconds each side. Ta-da!

Hope you enjoyed these grill tips. Here’s to your success in becoming an authentic grillmeister in the great outdoors!

Guest Author at

Gail Kearns is a Book Sherpa who has helped people through the self-publishing process for nearly twenty years, and she is also the editor-in-chief of The Gourmet Girls Go Camping Cookbook.

35 thoughts on “Grill Tips for the Gourmet Gal in You

  • June 28, 2017 at 11:08 pm
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    I don’t eat meat but I do grill veggies and fish so some of your tips will work well for me. I love caramelized onions even though i rarely make them.

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  • June 22, 2017 at 4:49 am
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    I have to admit – I am not much of a cook but more of a eater. But your article is so simple and easy to follow to become a gourmet girl. This is really inspiring and next time when i go camping I might try few of your suggestions. Thanks.

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  • June 22, 2017 at 3:45 am
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    We had gone to South Africa in the wild and had a great campsite there…had some lovely food…your post reminds me of that lovely experience. I am so impatient and never let the coals grey…thats such a great tip. Also, having a thermometer would be great to ensure that food is perfectly done…will sneak one into my suitcase the next time 🙂

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  • June 21, 2017 at 7:31 pm
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    I’m bad at cooking! Me and cooking – pretty far away!!!
    Spending the most part of life in India, barbeque hasn’t been much in our cuisine!
    We did want to try it out in UK & Europe, somehow it just didn’t happen!

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  • June 21, 2017 at 5:31 pm
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    Funny you should mention cooking steak on a BBQ, my mum is so much better at cooking steak than my dad, but my dad would always cook steak when it came to a BBQ. For this reason, I think more women should take charge of the BBQ, or become gourmet gals! Some useful tips here, like the chimney starter, waiting for the coal to turn grey, cleaning the grill grates. My favourite tip is to add BBQ sauce at the end, I love BBQ sauce, plenty required for me!

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    • June 22, 2017 at 2:04 am
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      Yeah! We’re with you, James. Hope you share our tips with your mum.

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  • June 21, 2017 at 5:15 pm
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    Great tips. I don’t BBQ often but I will try and remember these for when I do. I do love a good BBQ.

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  • June 21, 2017 at 2:58 pm
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    I love camping, and barbecuing while I’m at it. The only grills I’ve ever handled myself,though, are disposable ones. I know how they work and feel comfortable using them. But a big ass Weber, I’ll just leave that to my man. Haha. Thanks for sharing these great grilling tips!

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    • June 22, 2017 at 2:06 am
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      You’re welcome! But what’s a disposable grill? Not sure we’ve ever run across one of those! LOL

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  • June 20, 2017 at 5:16 pm
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    Apart from the food looking delicious and I have water on my mouth right now all your tips make sense and I shall put them to practice!

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  • June 20, 2017 at 4:38 pm
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    I love a good BBQ! I made some vegan burgers last week and they were so nice fresh from the grill – eating outdoors is just a lot more fun!

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  • June 20, 2017 at 4:28 pm
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    My boyfriend usually takes care of all the grill part but now I’ll follow your tips and it will be fun to see who can do it better between us!
    Thanks for sharing all the pieces of advice, they’re really informative.

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    • June 22, 2017 at 2:12 am
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      Ah, Sam, I smell a competition in the works! I hope your boyfriend is a good loser.-:) You can win with our tips, which you will, of course, share with him afterwards, right?

      Reply
  • June 20, 2017 at 3:10 pm
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    I love camping with my family and I love grilling barbecue and sea foods summer is my favorite month

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  • June 20, 2017 at 9:57 am
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    My family would love to eat grilled meat. It’s great to learn from this tips. Go! Go! Go! Hope I can cook a good one.

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  • June 20, 2017 at 9:32 am
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    I’ve not really been able to use a grill before but I have a small one ready to use on my balcony and I can’t wait x

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  • June 20, 2017 at 4:15 am
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    Wow! That’s great.. While I have done a lot of camping by myself, I’m not really the best cook around. The information and photos you have put together now give me something to work with! Thanks.

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    • June 22, 2017 at 1:59 am
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      Sona, practice makes perfect! Start using that grill and see what wonders you will create. BTW, I love camping by myself, too. There’s something special about it that you don’t get when you’re with other people. I get to experiment recipes on myself!

      Reply
  • June 20, 2017 at 4:06 am
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    Funny thing, while most of the world looks for summer to do their grilling and barbecues, we here in India have to wait till winter for the same, since it is really hot in the summer months. I have always enjoying being outside and cooking and there’s something basic about cooking food over fire. Being an amateur in the field, these tips really help, so thank you.

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    • June 22, 2017 at 1:53 am
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      So glad you pointed that out! We’re in California where grilling is pretty much done year round. And we’re really pleased that the tips we shared were of value and interest to someone halfway around the globe!

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  • June 20, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    The perfect summer post…I LOVE grilling and barbecue season! Thanks for sharing these tips!

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  • June 19, 2017 at 10:30 pm
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    Yummy! Summer is one of my favorite seasons simply because it’s Grilling Season! Food always tastes better when it’s prepared outdoors!

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  • June 19, 2017 at 9:31 pm
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    I agree that it is not just men who like to get their BBQ on. My foster mum always held BBQ’s every summer and she loved it. The tip about being patient is key x

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    • June 22, 2017 at 1:46 am
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      Ana, that’s so good to hear! A good validation for women campers everywhere!

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  • June 19, 2017 at 9:13 pm
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    Some good tips here. I particularly like the one about removing the rib membrane–so important when grilling a slab of ribs. I really like your website! I’ll be back regularly.

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  • June 19, 2017 at 8:48 pm
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    Thanks for sharing this! We have a BBQ on our patio, but rarely use it because we don’t really know how to cook effectively with it. I am going to get it clean and try out some of these tips this weekend!

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    • June 22, 2017 at 1:41 am
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      Go Jennifer! Let us know how things turned out. We love feedback.

      Reply
  • June 19, 2017 at 8:29 pm
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    Love this! I’m really into camping but my culinary adventures leave a lot to be desired. This is really inspiring and has some great grilling hacks that I might have to try this weekend if the good weather holds 😉

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    • June 22, 2017 at 1:40 am
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      So glad you liked the article! I hope the weather was good and you were able to try some of our grilling hacks.

      Reply

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