Perfect Grilling Tips
Be patient! Repeatedly flipping the meat on your grill will prevent flavour and colour from developing. (Photo: Matheus Gomes)

Thursday Food's countdown to Father's Day starts now! So get ready to master the art of grilling ahead of Sunday, June 18 with our comprehensive aproach. First things first, though! Grilling is a science, and while it may not be as exact as, say, baking, there are specific steps that, if not taken, may result in a finished product that's not up to par. Whether grilling is your middle name, or you've just invested in a nifty outdoor barbecue, here are five tips that will help you create delicious and flawless grilled meats, fish, seafood and veggies, every time.

A hallmark of summer grilling is charcoal. However, not understanding how to manipulate the unevenness of its heat source can result in a sub-par dish. (Photo: J Kenji López)

1. Choose the right kind of heat

The most popular heat sources for outdoor grilling are charcoal and gas. Charcoal requires more attention and manipulation as the heat is inconsistent. You have to understand the tenets of charcoal grilling and using direct and indirect heat to get tasty results. Fun fact: Many of us spread the charcoal before it is grey/white-hot. Charcoal is a hallmark of summer grilling as it gives foods that trademark smoky taste and gives a char that is difficult to obtain on a gas grill. However, gas grills are straightforward, rather foolproof and can get a delicious grilled meal on the table in a fraction of the time that it would take a charcoal grill.

Failing to properly clean and oil the grill grates before placing items on them could spell disaster at your next backyard shindig. (Photo: Jack Rico)

2. Clean and grease

Before you place anything on the grill, ensure you clean and oil the grill grates. To effectively clean grill grates, first, get the grill piping-hot, then use a wire brush to scrub and dislodge all the charred food particles from the last meal that was prepared on it. If you don't have a wire brush, don't fear. Cut an onion in half, stick a fork in it and rub the onion along the grill grates. Then use olive oil to rub over the grate — this will prevent foods from sticking and give defined grill marks that we all love to see on a grilled piece of meat or fish.

Repeatedly opening the lid of your grill allows heat to escape and the internal temperature to drop drastically. This repetitive action will result in longer cooking times and an overdone product. (Photo: Charbroil)

3. Stop repeatedly opening the lid

We can't help ourselves. We just have to repeatedly crack the lid of the grill open to check on the meat and get giddy when we hear that sizzle. Stop it! A grill is like an oven; heat escapes every time it is opened and this makes the temperature drop dramatically. A consistent drop in temperature affects both cooking time and quality of the finished product.

If you don't have a stainless steel wire brush with which to clean your grill, half an onion can do the trick. (Photo: H&H Experts)

4. Exercise patience

In the same way that we will no longer repeatedly open the lid of the grill, we will no longer constantly flip that which is on the grill. Once your meat kisses the searing heat of the grill, let it stay there. Meat, fish, seafood and yes, even vegetables, need time to caramelise on the grill to develop flavour and colour. Another thing: Don't use the spatula to squeeze the meat; you're just removing all the juices and will end up with a dry, cardboard-adjacent meal.

Gas grills are foolproof and can prepare meat, fish, seafood and vegetables in a fraction of the time compared to a charcoal grill.

5. Take temperatures

The only way to be certain of doneness is by taking the internal temperature of the grilled protein. To do this, stick a meat thermometer into the centre of the steak, burger, piece of chicken or fish and check for the recommended temperature for specific doneness; for example, the internal temperature of a medium-rare steak should read between 140°F and 145°F. Just telling yourself that the meat looks cooked may result in undercooked product and in the case of chicken and burgers, this can put your family or dinner guests at risk.

For more grilling tips, top-quality meat, fresh seafood, unique spices and rubs, and delicious condiments, visit Master Meat Crafter Gregory Burrowes at Butcher Block Gourmet Store, located at Shop #A7 Upper Manor Park Plaza. For info and orders call 876-668-4481 or email orders

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Which long-term investment option is more attractive to you at the moment?