Gas BBQ & Outdoor Cooking Tips
We love to cook outdoors. We get excited just thinking about it. We love the smell of the food when it hits the grill. We really love the first bite of the perfectly grilled steak or smoked pork chop. We really, really love to cook outdoors. At Pick Up Propane, cooking fuels the passion to our business and connects us to our customers. We love everything about cooking outdoors, whether you are firing up the gas BBQ, camp stove, turkey fryer or crawfish boiling pot. We asked our coworkers, friends and the cooks we admire for their outdoor cooking tips to share.
- Periodically clean your gas BBQ – your gas grill is an important part of your cooking tool set and it should be kept clean. Burn off residual fat after you grill. Take the time to periodically remove the cooking surfaces and give them a good scrubbing along with the interior (top and basin) of your grill. The time you invest in the cleaning of your grill will surely extend its life. The quality of the food you prepare will also reflect the effort you put into the maintenance of your gas BBQ, gas smoker or gas camp stove. Clean your grill like a champ at the beginning of every BBQ season and you’ll cook like a champ all year long!
- Know your grill temperature – everything cooks at an ideal temperature. Make certain that your grill is either equipped with a working thermometer (and keep it clean) or ask your Pick Up Propane dealer if they sell grill thermometers. Either way you will want to know when your grill is hot enough to get cooking, too hot or not hot enough. Your grill thermometer will also tell you when your flame has gone out (time to swap our your tank with a full Pick Up Propane tank).
- Know your food temperature – every year, thousands of Californians get sick from eating food that was not properly cooked. An inexpensive digital food thermometer will accurately tell you the internal temperature of the food on your grill. These devices are easy to use and they are the fool proof way know when you food is cooked safely and to the degree you prefer. You can buy one from your Pick Up Propane dealer or in the kitchen tool aisle of your grocery store.
- Match your meal to your fire – as you consider the food you are going to cook on your gas grill, think about the best technique and temperature.
- Direct Cooking – with direct cooking, you are placing your food on top of the flame source, cooking quickly at a higher temperature. Direct heat is typically the proper technique for thinner cuts of meat (most steaks and chops), chicken breasts, fish fillets and vegetables. Direct heat is the proper technique for searing which produces the desired exterior color and flavor for beef, pork and lamb. Grilling is done with direct cooking at higher temperatures (400º+).
- Indirect Cooking – with indirect cooking, the flame source is either shielded from the food or the food is placed to the side of the flame source. Indirect heat allows for food to roast over a longer period of time so it is typically the proper technique for thicker cuts of beef (roasts), ribs, fattier cuts of meat and poultry cooked on the bone. Roasting is done with indirect heat at medium temperatures (300º – 350º).
- Smoking – gas grill smoking is the process that many people associate with traditional American barbecue. Hardwood chips (oak, pecan, hickory, mesquite, apple or cherry) are first soaked in water or beer to slow the rate at which they will burn (creating more smoke). The chips are then placed over the fire in a metal box (or aluminum foil pouch) to burn slowly, adding their distinct flavor to the food as it slowly cooks. Smoking imparts a distinct flavor to food and is a popular technique for poultry, game and fish. Smoking involves cooking over indirect heat at lower temperatures (225º-275º) over longer periods of time.