The Guide to Grills and Barbecues: Preparing to cook outdoors

barbecue bbq beef charcoal

With the warm weather finally upon us, it’s time for the long-awaited grill to come out and start cooking our favorite meals. Of course, if you’re a die-hard griller, you never put it away. The aroma of burgers, chicken, chops, and kabobs is in the air, having our taste buds salivate with anticipation. To prepare for the grilling season, here’s a quick and easy guide on the types of grills, their purposes, and how you can get them ready for cookouts.

Types of equipment

There are a few main types of grills, most of which differ by what kind of flavor you want to create. Another key difference is how to heat them up, for instance, with charcoal or propane. Below I’ve outlined some key ways to identify which grill might be best for you this season.

Open Grill

This is a basic grill that consists of a heat-resistant box that can use a variety of materials to create a fire. A grill grate is not always used. This can include table grills or international grills, like the Australian flattop grill. It’s perfect for direct grilling.

Covered Grill

This is probably the most popular grill in the United States. It has a lid that can be lifted as the meat cooks. It allows you to both grill and smoke.

Smoker

This method of cooking meat includes a large barrel that heats the product for a longer period. It adds a smokey, hickory, or other flavors of choice to the meat. It’s perfect for things like ribs or briskets. There are several types of smokers available, so you should consider how much you plan to use it before making a decision on which one to buy.

Flat Top Grill

This does not have grates but is like a covered grill, typically fueled by propane. It is often used to create juicier dishes since the fluids will not drip down through grates.

Prepping Your Grill

Before you start making any burgers, chicken, steaks, or other yummy summer foods, you’ll want to thoroughly clean your grill. It can have some build-up or debris from the last season or from being stored. Some tools that are helpful for cleaning grills are stainless scrubbers, degreasers, or a putty knife. Use warm soapy water to get rid of residue before scrubbing. Pay special attention to grates, heat plates, and drip trays. When finished, make sure that everything is entirely dry to prevent rusting. Some folks never clean the inside of their smoker with soap because they don’t want to lose the patina that’s been developed over the years.

Notable Maintenance

Ensure that everything needed on your grill is still in good working order. Occasionally you may find parts that need to be replaced or have come unattached, especially if it’s been left in a shed and moved around. You can usually find replacement parts online versus purchasing an entirely new grill. Don’t let grease or ashes build up on your grill to prevent damage and keep it flavorful.

Grill season is often one of the most looked-forward-to part of the year, with family and friends joining over burgers, smokey yards, and backyard games. Looking for a flavorful dry aged cut of meat to grill? Check out Farmer Matt’s online store or stop by for farm-fresh, non-GMO meat with no added hormones or antibiotics.

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