As the summer goes on, you likely want to spend your weekends with your family and friends. And barbecues are the perfect way to enjoy quality time with your loved ones and eat delicious food together.
To fully enjoy barbecuing, you may think you need your own grill to cook on. But if you have an outdoor fireplace or fire pit, you can grill dozens of foods in just a few simple steps. If you’re ready to make the most of the warm season and fill your summer with delicious barbecue, use the following tips and tricks.
1. Decide Which Appliance You’ll Use to Grill With
If you have both a fireplace and a fire pit in your backyard, choose which appliance you want to grill with. You can use either unit, depending on your preference.
Plan to use a grilling grate while you cook? Your fire pit will be the best option, then. You just place the grate over the top of the fire pit, so you’ll have an easier time cooking and flipping your foods.
If you use a fireplace for grilling, you can still use a grate, but you may have a harder time reaching and handling foods. You can use your fireplace to cook tin foil meals if you prefer an easier cooking method. You can also use a solid metal grill top if you have one.
2. Pick a Fuel Source
After you’ve chosen your cooking appliance, you’ll need to pick a fuel source for your fire. You can use charcoal or wood logs, again depending on what you prefer to use.
Charcoal can enhance the natural flavors of your meats and vegetables. For the best results, use lumpwood charcoal.
Wood logs or wood chips, on the other hand, add a rich, smoky taste to your foods. If you want your meats to have a sweet flavor, cook with apple or cherry wood. For a smokier, robust essence, cook with hickory or oak.
Regardless of which fuel source you use, set aside plenty of time so you can ignite the charcoal or wood and let the fuel burn down sufficiently for cooking.
3. Choose a Few Foods to Enjoy
The best part of any barbecue is the food. Before you start grilling, though, you should make a menu. Pick from classics like grilled steak with baked potatoes. Or, if you prefer, grill some fish filets with lemon rounds for a more posh meal.
You can cook almost anything in your fire pit or fireplace. For inspiration, read through our blog post, “Best Roasting Recipes for Your Backyard Fire Pit.”
4. Prepare the Grate or Grill Top
Before you place your food over your grate or grill top, make sure it’s clean and seasoned lightly with oil. The oil coats each rung and prevents food from sticking to it. Use a paper towel dipped in oil and run it over the grate or grill top to effectively cover the entire surface.
5. Know When to Start Cooking Your Food
As previously mentioned, you want the flames to die down and the fuel source to turn to embers before you grill any food. Too-high flames can cause your meat and vegetables to burn. The low heat of the embers lets your meats and vegetable cook slowly and fully.
If you plan to put sauces on your foods, apply them in the last 10 minutes of cook time. If you apply the sauce sooner, it could burn and spoil your food-even in the low heat.
6. Have the Right Tools on Hand
Keep all the necessary cooking equipment on hand so you can cook effectively. Place tongs, grilling forks, and plates close enough so you can easily reach them. But don’t put them so close to the grill that you could accidentally knock them over and accidentally get injured.
7. Follow Fire Safety Rules While You Cook
In 2013, the American Burn Association reported that over 450,000 people were treated for burn injuries. To further reduce your risk for burns, you should follow fire safety rules as you grill in your fireplace or over your fire pit.
Keep pets and children away from the fire and sides of the appliance so they don’t get burned. Have a fire extinguisher nearby so you can put out any dangerous fires. Always attend to your fire-never walk away from it even for a second. And, properly put out and dispose of the embers once you’ve finished grilling and your pit or fireplace has cooled down sufficiently.
Are you ready to fill your summer with delectable, grilled food? Use the tips in this blog each time you plan on grilling. You should also keep an eye on your fireplace or fire pit as you cook. Look for any cracks or damage that could compromise the unit’s functionality. If you ever need to replace your current appliance, get in touch with Alpine Gas Fireplaces.