14 Grill Hacks You Might Not Know

June 24, 2022 12:00 PM CDT
Written by Emily C / April 7, 2022

Are you the master of the grill? Here are some live changing hacks that will make you look like a professional grill master and stop making those same old newbie grilling mishaps. 

1) Serve Condiments in a Muffin Tin

Muffin tins are not just for baking. Use any of your muffin or cupcake tins as an easy and portable way to serve your ketchup, mustard, mayo and relish. This makes it much easier then juggling bottles to get them to your guests and a lot easier to clean up. 

2) Replace Your Grimy Grill Brush With Tin Foil

Instead of always scrubbing your grill, opt for a tin foil ball to quickly rub the grit off of your cooking grates. All you need to do is roll a sheet of tinfoil into a compact ball and use a pair of tongs to secure it while you scrape the dirt off of your cooking surface. If you don’t have any tinfoil - slice an onion in half and use it to wipe down your grill instead.

3) Use Ice Cubes to Keep Your Burgers Moist

Have you ever served a dry burger? Well then this one's for you. Place a couple of small ice cubes or cold butter in the center of your raw burger. While the burger cooks, the ice or butter will melt and help distribute much needed moisture, resulting in a juicy, succulent burger. Also, don’t forget to make a thumbprint indentation at the center of your burger to help the patty maintain its shape as it cooks. 

4) Check Your Propane Level With Hot Water

Pour a glass of hot water over the side of your propane tank. Next, feel the tank and find the point in which it turns from being hot to cold to the touch. The areas that are hot will indicate where the tank is empty and the colder area will show where the propane is filled. As a note, the standard 20lb propane tank will allow for about 18-20 hours grill time. 

5) Turn Your Grill Into a DIY Smoker

If you’re craving the smoky flavor of authentic barbecue, you can turn your grill into a smoker with three easy things: water, a tin pan, and wood chips. 

For a charcoal grill, place your charcoal briquettes with pre-soaked wood chips over half of the grill and lay a disposable tin pan filled halfway up with water or apple juice (for added flavor) on the other. The added liquid will help to regulate the temperature and the moisture of the meats while you cook at a lower temperature for a longer period of time. As the chips smolder, they will give you that smokiness you’ve been craving. 

For a gas grill that does not have a designated wood chip compartment, you will want to place pre-soaked wood chips in a tin pan and cover it with tinfoil. Make sure to poke holes in the foil for ventilation. Light the grill underneath the chips and cook on the opposite side of the grill as the chips. This will circulate the smoke flavor and infuse your meats.

6) Cook Fish Over Citrus

Tired of a fishy smell when you barbecue your fish? Thinly sliced citrus such as lemons or oranges will help do the trick. Make sure that they are a quarter inch thick and layer them onto the grill to create a bed to rest the cuts of fish on. Not only will this infuse the flavor of the fish with a citrus flavor, it will also prevent your fish from sticking to the grill or breaking while flipping. 

7) Figure Out the Hot Spots in Your Grill Using Slice Bread

Toast anyone? Turn your grill on to the medium-high setting and place a single layer of sliced bread across the entire surface. Cook the bread for 90 seconds and then turn the grill off. Make sure to flip them over in the order they were placed and visually inspect the doneness level. This will help you determine where the more delicate cuts of meat and veggies should go the next time you fire up the grill.

8) Use an Empty Egg Carton to Light Your Coals 

Take an empty egg cardboard egg carton and fill it with the coals you use in your grill, then light the entire carton in your grill. This is a foolproof way to get your fire going without the unwanted taste of lighter fluid. 

9) Use Two Skewers Instead of One

Instead of using one skewer on your kebabs, use two. This will help prevent the cuts of meats and your veggies from twirling around as you flip them which makes sure that the food will cook evenly. 

10) Make Restaurant Quality Grill Marks

To create the perfect grill mark, always place your meat on the grill pointing to 10 o’clock and sear the meat until charred lines form. Make sure to resist the urge to lift your meat prematurely, as you don't want to accidentally create additional, unwanted lines before they have formed nor lose moisture. Then, rotate your meat, on the same side, so that it points to 2 o’clock. Once the lines are made, flip your meat over and start again. 

11) Learn How to Correctly Roast a Bell Pepper

Place your peppers directly over the heat and grill them until the sides are completely charred. Once they are completely cooked, transfer them to a bowl while they are still warm and cover the bowl with saran wrap. After they have cooled down, the moisture between the charred skin and pepper will allow you to easily remove the skin with your fingers. 

12) Season Your Meat Ahead of Time

To maximize the amount of flavor in your meats, seasoning them at least an hour before grilling is the way to go. However, if you’re running low on time, season the meat directly before grilling. Anything less than 30 to 40 minutes will only pull moisture from the meat. Make sure to add extra seasoning than you normally would as it will fall off as it cooks. And to have the best grill marks, make sure to pat the meat dry before you place it down on the grate.

13) Cook Meat at the Right Temperature

While cooking thicker cuts, allow the meat to come to room temperature before you grill it to make sure that it cooks evenly. However, for thinner cuts, you might want to cook refrigerated meat to prevent the inside from overcooking too quickly. Make sure to keep a thermometer handy to check the internal temperature while cooking and to let your steak rest once it comes off the grill. Make sure to hold it in a warm spot and allow it to sit for a couple minutes before slicing to prevent any moisture loss.

14) Use a Cast Iron Skillet

Prevent your veggies from slipping into the cracks of your grill grate by using a cast iron skillet to saute the veggies on the grill. You can use this method to cook anything from onions to asparagus to mushrooms without losing any of them in the process.