Summer is almost here and we all know what that means – BBQ time. As a man, you’ll want to don the apron and get out amongst the coals to cook some nice big hunks of meat and here are some awesome tips on how to do it.

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Charcoal VS. Gas

This is a debate that has gone on forever and the ideal grilling method depends on a few variables such as convenience, cost and flavor. Although there is not a specific study stating one method is healthier than the other it is a fact that a gas BBQ grill does burn cleaner. Soot, carbon monoxide and particulate matter is emitted more by charcoal grills which contributes to concentrations of ground level ozone which are higher as well as increased pollution. Now based on taste many people do prefer the richer and smokier taste of food which has been cooked on a charcoal grill.

Is It Hot Enough?

In order to ensure that the grill reaches the correct temperature as well as kills any bacteria it is important to preheat the drill fifteen to twenty five minutes prior to grilling. If you want it high the grill temperature should be 400-450°F for medium-high 350-400°F and for medium 300-350°F and for low heat 250-300°F. A grill that has been properly heated will sear the food on contact this prevents sticking and maintains inner moistness. Contrary to popular belief searing does not seal in the juices it does however improve the flavors due to the caramelization.

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Free of Additives

If charcoal grilling is what you prefer we highly recommend you use lump charcoal that is additive-free which is merely charred wood.  Popular briquettes may contain sawdust, wood scraps, borax, sodium nitrate, coal dust and additives such as lighter fluid or paraffin. As far as lighter fluid is concerned we avoid not even using it. Lighter fluid releases VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the air, unpleasant residue is also left on the food and if not used properly it can be seriously dangerous.

Best Time To Brush It Off

The best and easiest way to remove debris is when the grill is hot so once you have preheated it you can use a wire brush with a long handle to thoroughly brush off your grill tack. This will remove all the charred debris left behind from previous grilling. After use immediately scrape off again.

Use Enough Oil

Lean foods tend to stick when directly placed on the grill rack even if the grill rack is clean. By oiling your hot grill rack with a paper towel which has been thoroughly drenched with vegetable oil, use tongs to hold it while rubbing it over the rack, cooking spray should never be used on a heated grill.

Always Marinate The Meat

Not only does marinating infuse your food with flavor but it also prevents the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) which are potentially carcinogenic. These can form when muscle meats such as red meats, poultry and fish are grilled. The AICR (American Institute for Cancer Research) states that HCA formation can be reduced as much as ninety two to ninety nine percent by marinating.

Is It Cooked?

Checking the internal temperature of your protein with the use of an instant read thermometer is the best way to tell if it is fully cooked.

Testing By Hand

If you do not have a thermometer to check the grill temperature then you can use your hands. Simply place your open palm facing down about five inches over your grill rack; if you have to move your hand after two seconds the fire is high, if after five seconds you have to remove your hand the fire is medium and if you can hold your hand over for ten seconds then the fire is low.

Taming The Flame

When a bit of fat drips onto the source of heat and catches on fire that is when a flare-up occurs. This can cause carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to begin to form on your food. Flames may cause the outside of the meat to char before the inside is cooked and it may not taste quite right after it has been licked by flames. If you want to avoid flare-ups choose cuts of meat that are lean and trim off any excess fat or remove the skin off of poultry. You can also have a squirt bottle with water handy so if any unexpected flare-ups were to occur you can easily and quickly douse them.

Set up a Good Outdoor Area

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Getting out amongst it is important for those hoping to enjoy a BBQ and setting up a great outdoor area is wise. Whether you’ve a dedicated piece of furniture for this or just want to pull the table and chairs from the dining room outside – make sure there is plenty of space for everyone to sit around and enjoy the BBQ.

These tips should help ensure a great, tasty BBQ and offer an enjoyable time out and about .