Grilling season is upon us. We love standing around a barbecue with an icy cold beverage in hand, enjoying the delicious smell of smoky food and chit-chatting with pals. It's our favorite time of the year!
So we're constantly on the hunt for tricks that enhance our favorite warm-weather activity, and we've rounded up 8 of the most interesting BBQ hacks we found so far that will take your grilling to the next level.
The mild flavor of roasted peppers intensifies when they are brushed with olive oil and thrown on the barbecue. To get that smoky character, you'll want to place them on the hottest part of your grill and flip them frequently until the skin is blackened.
When they're finished, simply place them in a sealed plastic bag for 15 minutes. Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, their skins will peel right off. So long, painstaking piece-by-piece pepper (skin) picking!
Throwing herbs straight on the grill with whatever you're barbecuing will quickly infuse your food with a deep, earthy flavor and scent similar to when herbs from dry rub just fall into the coals. Herbs burn quickly and produce a lot of smoke, so close the lid to trap the smoke inside. You can also soak the herbs in water beforehand or place them in a foil packet to help them last longer before they burn up.
And the next time you're thinking of just throwing out those wilting herbs at the back of your veggie drawer, throw them on the grill instead. It will up your BBQ game for sure and use up something you might have just tossed out otherwise. Waste reduction FTW!
The first time we read about lemongrass being used as a kebab skewer, we were blown away by the ingenuity. The lemongrass skewer directly infuses flavor into your meat or vegetables, aided by the heat of the grill.
To make lemongrass skewers, first cube whatever foods you're grilling. Next, pierce every piece of kebab using a regular skewer, and then thread them onto the lemongrass stalks. For a less intense lemongrass flavor that is also a time-saver, you can keep the items on the regular skewer and just barbecue them on top of the lemongrass.
If you're not a lemongrass fan, rosemary sprigs can also act as skewers in the same way as lemongrass stalks. Wild, we know.
One of our favorite ways to prepare chicken is to throw it in a plastic bag with a bunch of dry herbs for homemade "Shake 'n Bake." We'll add paprika, sea salt, black pepper, or just our favorite poultry rub, and then throw our chicken drumsticks in and give it all a good shake. Once removed, the chicken is coated with the perfect amount of seasonings.
To turn this into a marinade, you can add liquids like olive oil or white wine. (Kick it up another notch by adding booze, if you like.) Cleanup is easy, and there's something fun about the shaking—especially if your guests get in on the act. Try giving your friends their own plastic baggies, place all the seasonings on the table, and let folks make their own personalized marinades.
Food Hacks veteran Brady Klopfer takes lemonade (and lemonade cocktails) to an entirely new level by grilling his lemons first. Grilled lemonade has a smoky, tangy, refreshing flavor that makes it the perfect beverage to imbibe while having a barbecue.
Brady shares one final trick for elevating your lemonade game: add the good stuff. And by good stuff, he means bourbon.
Don't have a ready-made BBQ chimney to aid in the creation of those grilled lemons? No need to fear: Brady has you covered yet again.
He strips a tin can of its label, pokes holes in it for ventilation, and adds newspaper and charcoal for a DIY BBQ chimney that is as cheap as it is easy.
Everyone's heard of grilled cheese, but who ever thinks about actually grilling cheese? Alton Brown does—of course. In fact, the Food Network guru goes so far as to state that "grilled cheese" is a misnomer, since the bread itself is grilled but the gooey cheese inside isn't.
Alton cleverly forms makeshift baking pans out of spatulas and aluminum foil, then uses them to literally grill his cheese. Give his ingenious hack a gander below.
Keep a spray bottle of apple juice on hand at your next BBQ: spraying the meat with the sweet liquid will keep it tender and moist while also giving it an extra kick. The sugar from the juice will also caramelize the surface of your meat and give it a tangy flavor boost.
And for an additional fruity flavor shot, try grilling over fruitwood.
With this eclectic collection of barbecue tricks up your grilling sleeve, you'll be an absolute BBQ pro this summer.
Have any favorites that didn't make this list? We'd love to hear them in the comments below!