Warm weather and sunshine are fleeting in New York, so get ready to bust out the grill and brush up on your skills early this year. Whether you’re an upcoming grill master or a seasoned pro, check out some of our best tips below for making the most of grilling season this summer. You don’t need to have any fancy equipment to serve up a show-stopping outdoor meal, you just need Zweigle’s!

Getting Started

When it comes to grills, there are two main variations that you’ll likely consider — gas and charcoal. Gas grills are popular, mainly because of their convenience. These grills can either run on bottled propane or natural gas from your utility provider.

Firing up a gas grill is quick, and you won’t have to worry about cleaning up any charcoal. The only catch is, you won’t be able to truly smoke meats in the same way that you would with a charcoal grill or dedicated smoker.

Related: Charcoal Smokers: Everything You Need to Know

In contrast, charcoal grills take a considerably longer time to heat up (45 minutes or longer). That being said, the smoky flavor that so many of us love in grilled food will likely taste much more distinct when using a charcoal grill.

No Peeking

No matter what kind of grill you’re using, the principles are the same. You’ll want to keep the lid closed as much as possible in order to limit the amount of oxygen within the grill. This will help limit flare-ups that can result in burned food, assist in maintaining the temperature, and also avoid drying out the meat.

Contrary to popular belief, you also only want to flip food once in order to allow the process of caramelization to occur. So, there’s really no need to relentlessly check the grill as long as you’re paying close attention the few times that you do take a peek inside.

Direct vs. Indirect Heat

When you’re grilling, you have the option of either cooking the food directly over the flame or using indirect heat by creating a heat zone adjacent to the heat source.

If the food takes less than 20 minutes to cook, go ahead and use direct heat. Foods that take longer than 20 minutes though are better off being cooked using indirect heat. This is part of what makes slow cooked barbecue so delicious!

Track Your Time

Food keeps cooking even after it’s come off the grill, so keep track of your time and consider removing items just before your preferred level of doneness. You can also make sure food has reached its required cooking temperature by investing in a good digital thermometer.

Practice Makes Perfect

Though there are countless grilling tips and techniques to take into consideration, nothing quite measures up to the act of practicing until perfect. Luckily, we’ve got a whole season ahead of us to enjoy the warm weather and mouthwatering food that comes along with it!

What are your favorite grilling techniques?