Jun 8

How to: Grill Like a Girl…My Best Tips


How to: Grill Like a Girl...My Best Tips

Yeah, yeah…the title may be a little tongue in cheek. Of course, I’m not suggesting that girls are the only ones who can grill. In fact, I know there are a ton of women out there who deem the grill as the “man’s territory”. Heck, no! I want to inspire you to don your most stylish checked apron, grab a pair of tongs and settle on the back patio for a long summer of burgers, steaks, kebabs and corn on the cob. These are some of my best tips for honing yourself into the meanest, leanest grilling machine. By the end of the summer, your husband will be begging for a turn to wield the tongs. I don’t want to start any marital spats, but I have a feeling you won’t be willing to relinquish control.

For those of you who live in Utah, I’ll also be talking about some of these tips and making my Grilled Mushroom Sliders with Cilantro Almond Pesto on Studio 5 (NBC) this Monday, in the 11am hour.

Now let’s move on to those tips.

How to: Grill Like a Girl…My Best Tips

1) Learn how to turn the darn thing on Last summer, I wrote about the fear I used to harbor of blowing up the neighborhood by lighting the grill. Fear of propane can be a powerful thing. Ultimately, I got over myself and asked my husband to teach my the tricks of the trade. I wrote a detailed step-by-step on How to: Turn on a Gas Grill.

How to Grill Collage 2

The response to this post was fantastic! I received comments and emails from grilling virgins who bit the bullet and turned on their grills by themselves for the first time.

Tayelor said:
Thank you so much! It is September now that I finally have found this article, but I just got the grill turned on for the first time myself!!! Yeay! Now the ribs are cooking away and I can’t wait for next year!

Jhonna said:
I did it! Thank you…had no clue.

Now get out there and turn that darn thing on!

2) Preheat the grill If you are a baker, you know the importance of preheating the oven to the desired temperature before popping in that batch of cookies. It insures even cooking, and adherence to the recommended baking time. Grilling is no different. Turn on your grill, close the lid and preheat to the desired temperature. This typically takes 10 to 15 minutes.

Greek Grilled Lamb Chops Recipe with Tomato, Cucumber & Kalamata Olive Salad
Greek Grilled Lamb Chops with Tomato, Cucumber & Kalamata Olive Salad

The ideal temperature depends on what you are grilling. Usually, however, you want to achieve a sear on your steak, chicken or ribs. Not only will searing over high heat produce those picture-perfect grill marks, but it also helps to insure that much of the meat’s moisture is sealed in.

So, how do you do this? I preheat my grill to 500 to 550 degrees F. Screeching hot! Then I turn off the middle burner to produce an effect called indirect heat. Place your meat on the hot part of the grill, cooking it for about 2 to 3 minutes per side to achieve a good sear. Then move the meat to the cooler part of the grill until it is cooked to the desired temperature.

3) Clean and oil There is more than one reason to clean your grill. The first is obvious – no one likes to find chunks of leftover charred meat sticking to their perfectly grilled steak. The second reason is just as important. Cleaning the grill will help to avoid the meat from sticking to the grill. Once the grill is preheated to the desired temperature, give it a good scrub with your grill brush to remove any unsavory bits.

Before placing the meat on the grill, give it a brush with some oil. It’s best to choose oil that has a high smoke-point, such as canola or grapeseed oil.

4) Forks out, tongs in You know those enormous American Gothic-sized fork that comes in every grilling set? Toss it! As tempting as it may be to turn your flank steak with that fork, there is one very important reason you want to avoid that at all costs. When you pierce the meat, you release the juices. If the juices are now dripping into your barbecue, they are no longer inside of the meat, which means you will end up with dry, chewy meat. Butch, your bulldog, may approve but your guests probably won’t. Use your tongs to do any necessary turning.

Grilled Tri-Tip Steak with Molasses Chili Marinade Recipe
Grilled Tri-Tip Steak with Molasses Chili Marinade

5) Step away from the grill! Okay, I’m not saying that it’s just men that do this, but…well, you guys may be guiltier of this one than most women grillers. You know who you are. You know that tendency to continuously open the grill to take a peek at the steak or those sizzling burgers? The peeking then turns into flipping. I promise, it’s not necessary to flip the steak five times (once is enough, my grilling friends) or to randomly move it around on the grill. Peeking also leads to the ol’ spatula press on the burgers. *Gasp* (Spatula press = leaking juices)

Smoky Burger Sliders with Grilled Pineapple & Chipotle Mayonnaise Recipe
Smoky Sliders with Grilled Pineapple & Chipotle Mayonnaise

The more you lift the lid and peek at the grill, the further the temperature drops. Not only will this add to the total cooking time, but it also stops the meat from cooking evenly.

6) Let it rest The smell of that grilled meat is wafting to your nose and it’s all you can do to resist ripping into it with your teeth. Believe me, I get it. However, if you can just curb those carnivorous tendencies for a mere 10 minutes before cutting that meat, you will be rewarded with a much juicier product. That short resting period allows the juices of the meat to redistribute throughout the entire cut of meat. If you cut into it too soon, you’ll find that all the juices will run higgledy-piggledy onto the cutting board, rather than staying in the meat.

If you have any tried and true grilling tips, I’d love to hear them. Feel free to share your ideas in the comment section.

Now, get out there, take control of those tongs and get grillin’ like a girl!

I’m sharing this in Tidy Mom‘s I’m Lovin’ It round-up this week.

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Julia {The Roasted Root} June 8, 2012 at 5:18 pm

LOL, you’re too funny…you have some GREAT tips here….I need to work on the step-away-from-the-grill tip. I’m such a peaker! Your slider with the pineapple chipotle mayo sounds (and looks) fabulous! Have a great weekend!


2 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Thanks, Julia! I used to be a peeker too, but found that grilling became a much more relaxing activity when I learned to walk away.


3 Laura (Tutti Dolci) June 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Great tips, Dara! I want to get into grilling this summer so I know I’ll refer to this guide again :).


4 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Thanks, Laura! I warn you – as soon as you start grilling, you’ll be hooked.


5 Rachel @ Baked by Rachel June 8, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Thanks for the great tips! :)


6 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm

You’re welcome, Rachel. I hope you get a chance to do plenty of grilling this summer.


7 Jen @ Savory SImple June 8, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Thanks for this! We just moved and I finally have a back deck. I don’t think I’ve ever actually grilled outdoors before. Any brand recommendations?


8 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Hi Jen, I’m a Weber gal myself (okay, I’ve only ever used a Weber), but I know there are plenty of good brands out there. You might want to look at Consumer Reports ratings.


9 Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef June 8, 2012 at 10:33 pm

I do the grilling ’round these parts except when we have guests. Then John “helps” so it looks like he knows what he’s doing. He’s so funny.

Perfect tips!


10 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 9, 2012 at 4:38 pm

I love it, Maureen!


11 Denise @ Creative Kitchen June 9, 2012 at 9:51 am

Great tips!! Hubby just bought ME a new grill. The first grill we had….he was in charge. You know because he is the guy and that’s what guys do. πŸ˜‰ Well he can grill and I’m certainly not complaining about the food produced…..BUT he wasn’t into it like most guys. Which means food was done haphazardly at best, grill was never cleaned and he just wasn’t motivated to learn more or improve. I never did much because like most ladies shared on your other post…I was also nervous about the propane.

The grill eventually ended up in bad shape, but by then we had gotten an old boat. So we bought a small inexpensive portable gas grill for $30. It did the job and was great. It’s how hubby and I cook all the kabobs for date night. Problem was that I could never get it going. It took the small canisters and if hubby didn’t unscrew them and take them off, all the propane leaked out. Well even if he could show me I wasn’t interested in hooking up propane every time I wanted to use the grill….too nervewracking.

And now this year…..I was bound and determined that I was going to get a new grill. The big kind again so the tank was already hooked up and ready to go. I’m SO excited to have started my grilling adventures. :) Hubby didn’t really want another big grill but I talked him into it. Now he keeps talking about what a nice grill it is and what a great deal I found. LOL! Bet my enthusiasm will spill over to him, and I’ll have to fight him for grill use.


12 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm

That’s so great to hear that you’ve stuck it out and come out on the other side as a grilling enthusiast. Enjoy that new grill!


13 TidyMom June 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm

GREAT tips Dara! I’m the grill master at our house, I’m always telling my hubby what to do when he tries to grill! lol

Thanks so much for linking up to my party! I featured your post in my wrap up http://tidymom.net/2012/great-ideas-that-caught-my-eye/
Have a fabulous weekend!


14 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Thanks for featuring my post, Cheryl! I love hearing how many women are the official grill masters at their homes.


15 Minnie(@thelady8home) June 9, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Thanks a lot for the tips. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€


16 Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen June 10, 2012 at 6:52 am

I love the pic of you grillin in your cute apron :) Now I just need a grill…what is wrong with us that we don’t own one yet. Sigh…


17 Pam June 10, 2012 at 11:54 am

Great tips! Quick funny story. When my husband and I first started living together, a LONG time ago, I had a smal habatchi on the porch of our apartment. It was the first time we were going to use the habatchi, and I asked him if he wanted BBQ hamburgers. He said yes. So I made up the hamburger patties and said “ok, ready!”
My husband said “ok, go for it”. I said “what do u mean? Aren’t u going to BBQ?”
He said, “no, I don’t know how”. We laughed about it because I just assumed every man was born with the BBQ gene. From that day forward, I have been the BBQ pit master in our house, and to this day, my husband still does not BBQ! πŸ˜‰


18 Roz@weightingfor50 June 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Great tips Dara, thank you. Girl power on the grill!!! :)


19 Kimby June 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Dara, thanks for your grilling tips! We still use an ol’ charcoal grill, but your suggestions about indirect heat no doubt apply… next time I grill, I’m going to try building a “ring” of hot coals around the outside with a “blank middle” for indirect heat. Hadn’t thought of that and it’s a valuable tip!


20 Gerry @ Foodness Gracious June 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Sound advice, nobody wants to see fireballs and flare ups so the indirect part is super important! I’m about to throw some blue cheese burgers on for dinner.
Great post..


21 Sukaina June 10, 2012 at 11:43 pm

STEP AWAY FROM THE GRILL! I need to say that to myself over and over and over. Great advice and very timely piece Dara :) Have fun on TV!


22 Baker Street June 11, 2012 at 4:11 am

Great tips Dara! That’s a super cute picture of you in that apron. I’m totally in charge of grilling at my house!


23 Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables June 11, 2012 at 6:56 am

such a great post Dara! I was just telling my mom yesterday how I don’t really understand grilling because it never seems to work right for me. I can’t wait to try again with these new tips :)


24 Jennifer June 11, 2012 at 7:16 am

Great tips, Dara! Thanks for all the extra help you give us.


25 KalynsKitchen June 11, 2012 at 8:21 am

Great tips! I would love to taste anything you’d grilled.


26 cookingrookie June 11, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Great tips! I only get to use grill on picnics. This post really makes me wish we had one at home…


27 Krista June 11, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I love these tips Dara! I admit, I am one of those who relinquishes control to the grill master aka mr. Time back to take back the tongs. Although, I do love it when a man cooks dinner!


28 Annalise June 12, 2012 at 10:24 pm

I saw you on Studio Five, loved your segment! I definitely agree that grilling is not just for the guys. Loved the mushroom sliders (especially the cilantro pesto), and all your great tips!


29 Marlys Folly June 21, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Great tips…. although I have a charcoal grill so some of these don’t apply… I love the taste of meat barbecued on a charcoal grill over a propane grill… I do all the BBQ in our house. My husband will come out to turn the corn when we BBQ it but that is it.


30 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) June 22, 2012 at 7:36 am

That’s great that you are the grill master in your house. I agree that cooking over charcoal gives a superior taste. I would love to get a charcoal grill at some point and work towards mastering that kind of cooking.


31 Aggie June 23, 2012 at 7:40 pm

I absolutely love to grill and this post is so great Dara. I have plenty of friends who just let their husbands do the grilling, that jus does not work for me! It’s like an outdoor kitchen for me :)


32 Bridget Oland May 8, 2013 at 10:02 am

This is great info…I had no idea about the fork thing. Funny, the only bbq I seem to do well with is cooking butterflied chicken on indirect heat. Gotta figure out this flame thing (before I make your molasses chili marinade). Thanks!


33 Jean February 27, 2015 at 2:10 pm

LOL, I’m happy to say, that I can start my grill, however, I use charcoal in mine. my grill does have a temperature gauge on the hood, and my problem is that I tend to use too much charcoal and my fire gets way too hot or it goes in the other direction, not hot enough LOL.I do like using the hickory nuts/wood that my tree drop as a smoking accessory. Oh, I forgot, I do have attached to the grill a smoker box, it’s great for cooking fish so the I get the heat, but not the flair ups from the dripping stuff. (marinade)….this is such a great idea :)…


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