Fire up the grill! Learn the secrets of cooking on the grill, plus find recipes for grilled burgers, barbecue ribs, grilled chicken, kabobs, and more!
You know that everything tastes better when grilled over an open flame—if done right. So, before we dive into the recipes, let’s go over some important grilling tips and tricks. Some of these you may know already—others, you may not!
Top 10 Tips for Cooking on the Grill
- Start with a clean grill. (See tip #10.) Before you turn the grill on, lightly baste your grill grates with a cooking oil or spray to keep food from sticking. Be sure to let the grates come to temperature before you begin cooking.
- Don’t put cold meat right on the grill. Bring ingredients to room temperature before you cook; they will then cook more evenly and quickly. If you need to, plan your meals so you leave 30 minutes for meat to sit on the counter.
- Remember the 4-by-4 rule to determine how hot your grill is: If you can keep your palm 4 inches over the coals for 4 seconds, it’s at medium heat.
- For even browning of meat and poultry, pat the surface with a paper towel to remove moisture before grilling.
- To prevent your steaks from curling on the grill, score the outer layer of fat at 1-inch intervals. Do the same to skin-on fish fillets, scoring the skin side.
- Refrain from pressing hamburger patties on the grill with a spatula or piercing meat with a fork; you’ll lose the juices. Use a spatula or tongs. Also, don’t move the food around. Best to flip meat once once. The fewer times you flip food, the better. If the meat is stuck to the grill, let it cook more until it naturally loosens its grip and is ready for flipping.
- If you prefer skinless chicken, be sure to marinate the meat first; then baste frequently with leftover marinade during grilling.
- Use fresh lemon juice in your marinades. It tenderizes meat, blends well with many flavors (from soy sauce and ginger to BBQ sauce), and accents other tastes.
- Let meats rest! Let the meat rest once off the grill for at least 5 (if not 10) minutes before slicing them. The meat will reabsorb the juices it lost from cooking.
- The best time to clean your grill is when the grates are still warm. With the back of a spatula, scrape anything on the grates into the fire, then use a wire brush to scrub the grates clean.
Bonus: Buy a meat thermometer. It’s really worthwhile to spend $10 and buy an instant-read thermometer, which makes grilling easier and safer. You will insert this thermometer into the center of the steak to see if it’s done to your liking. For example, medium is 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Well-done is 160 degrees F. See recommended minimum temperatures for cooking meat.
10 Great Recipes for the Grill
Now that you’re a grilling expert, try these easy and delicious recipes! We’ve rounded up a selection of main dishes, sides, and desserts that all can be cooked on the grill.
Nothing beats an old-fashioned hamburger, and the best burgers are really quite basic.
Not only are these salmon kabobs healthy and easy, but also they are full of flavor from the simple marinade.
Photo credit: Vankad/shutterstock
This is one of our favorite steak recipes! These Beef Kabobs soak in an easy, homemade marinade that adds flavor and zest.
Photo credit: Sam Jones/Quinn Brein
This Baby Back Ribs With Coffee Spice Rub are made with a unique coffee rub mixture that features a hint of cocoa.
While cooking the ribs on the grill, brush the sauce onto the ribs every 30 minutes and right before you take off the grill. Mmmm!
This recipe is adapted from Steven Raichlen’s Barbecue Bible.
When you score the surface in a crisscross pattern, the inside is succulent and soft, but where the scores meet, the eggplant is nice and crisp. Mmmm!
Photo credit: Mironov Vladimir/Shutterstock
Next time you think of grilling salmon, add this maple mustard glaze in minutes! The fragrance of sweet maple, tangy mustard, and lively ginger comes together for a great meal.
Photo credit: Anna Hoychuk/Shutterstock
Fire up the barbecue for Grilled Pork Kabobs—a welcome change from the ubiquitous burgers and hot dogs. Prepare in an herbal marinade in advance for juicy, tender, flavorful skewers.
Skewered chicken flavored with peanuts and spices, this Chicken Satay is exotic enough to thrill the grownups, but mild enough for kids.
Photo credit: Sam Jones/Quinn Brein
Our Chili-Lime Grilled Corn is always a huge success. The creamy chili-lime butter brings out the crunchy, grilled flavor.
This is the perfect summer recipe and a time to use garden herbs for that extra-fresh taste!
More Recipes for the Grill!
Still hungry? Here are some more options to try:
When you grill vegetables, cooking times depend on the shape and size of the vegetable. See our Guide to Grilling Vegetables.