Your BBQ works hard for you, but there are simple tricks and extra steps (that aren’t too painful, promise) you can take to earn that grillmaster badge.
The natural acids work to break down some of the tough fibres in cuts of meat like flank steak. While you’re at it, soak corn on the cob in dark beer rather than water before grilling—the malt flavours will complement the sweetness of the corn. If bratwurst is on the menu, throw some beer in a foil pan along with the sausages and simmer for a bolder flavour. And don’t even think about throwing away that simmering liquid. Reduce it to a syrup and drizzle it over the finished product.
Want restaurant-quality grilled meats? Letting them rest before digging in allows the juices to redistribute (and not drip all over your plate when you start cutting). Taking this time means your favourite cuts will be unbelievably delicious come plating time. When it’s done, transfer the meat to a cutting board and tent loosely with foil. A standard steak or pork chop needs about five to 10 minutes to rest; give chicken breasts about five minutes and roasts up to 20 minutes.
Slice, don’t dice! What you’re looking for is soft (but not mushy), perfectly grilled veg. Whatever vegetable you choose, expose as much surface area as you can to the grill. Slice thin strips or rounds for eggplant and zucchini. Some veggies need a bit of extra prep before hitting the grill —for potato and sweet potato, a quick parboil helps them cook up faster. And don’t shy away from a little EVOO (this will prevent sticking). For an extra flavour boost, try brushing your veggies with salad dressing right before taking them off the grill. The warm veggies will suck up all that wonderful flavour.
Spraying grilled meat or fish with beer adds juiciness and mouth-watering hoppy, malty and yeasty aromas. Fill a food-grade spray bottle with beer or hold your finger over the bottle neck and give a little shake. In the last two minutes of grilling, spritz beer over the meat or fish. Don’t spray too early, though—the flavours can cook off quickly. And be careful to stand back in case of any flare-ups.
Grilling lettuce may seem a little weird, but trust us, it’s delicious. Look for something hearty, like romaine, radicchio or cabbage. Drizzle with oil and make sure to quarter or wedge your lettuce with the core intact so the leaves don’t fall apart on the grill. Throw some lightly oiled bread on while you’re at it for barbecued croutons. And because we like beer, try adding a splash to your favourite salad dressing for extra zip.