Advertising
Advertising

The Idiot’s Guide To The Perfectly Easy BBQ

The Idiot’s Guide To The Perfectly Easy BBQ

You’ve got the paper plates, cups, just the right amount of snacks to go around and the beer is ice cold — you’re good to go for your BBQ, right? Wrong. While putting together a cook out might seem like the world’s easiest party, chances are you’re getting a few elements dreadfully wrong. From sending your guests home with a lovely parting gift of food poisoning to nasty flare-ups, cook outs are riddled with pitfalls. However, don’t haul off and cancel that party yet. Lifehack is here to guide you through the most common mistakes so you come out more “Kiss The Cook” than “Diss The Cook.”

The Preparation

dirty old grill

    The first thing you’re going to need to do is to clean that grill. After all, nobody wants to eat your charred chicken remnants from last year’s wing disaster. Also, a clean grill means that your food is less likely to stick, thus rocketing you from amateur status in the eyes of your guests. Take off the grill and scrub with warm, soapy water, preferably using either a wire brush or a heavy-duty scouring pad. This will take some elbow grease, and you will once again vow that next year you’ll clean this thing before sticking it in the garage. Scrape out any old charcoal and give the whole thing a good, soapy wipe-down, followed by a good rinse. You’re preparing food on this thing, after all, so cleanliness really is next to godliness. Gas grills need less of the treatment, but ensure everything is cleaned and wiped down, particularly the grill portion. Portable grills? Well, you’re already home free from this portion of the exercise.

    Advertising

    When it comes to lighting that sucker up, there are a bunch of different methods you can try, from your basic charcoal lighting, to using a charcoal chimney, all the way to your high-end gas grill methods. In this, YouTube is your friend. Be sure you get your grill going at least 30–60 minutes before you want to start cooking so you’re able to get a nice even temperature, and also create a “cooler” and “hotter” side, depending on what you want to grill.

    Some Important Gear

    BBQ tools

      Get yourself ready for the big day with some basic utensils:

      Advertising

      • A pair of tongs
      • A spatula
      • Oven and/or BBQ gloves (that thing is hot)
      • A water mister (for flare ups)
      • A meat thermometer (plus wipes to clean it off between readings)
      • A fire extinguisher (it never hurts to be prepared)
      • A clean plate for cooked food

      You may also want to have a handy copy of this meat temperatures chart around, just as a cheat sheet.

      Meat-temperature-chart-copy

        The Burgers

        While there are all sorts of things you can throw on a grill, in order to keep your party easy, select just a few items to serve. A cook out, at its most basic, can have chicken, something for the veggies and a bunch of salads, but it’s just not the same without a tasty burger. Nearly everybody has that perfect blend of seasonings and spices for their burgers, but it’s not so much the seasonings as the formation that can ruin a perfectly good hunk of beef. In fact, by digging through that meat and rubbing in those seasonings, you can actually be over-mixing your meat, causing “hockey-puck syndrome.” Be gentle with it, and add salt and pepper to the outside of your burger, and don’t forget that all-important thumb print. One last thing, don’t think it makes you look like a stud to press down on the burger with your spatula while it’s cooking so you can hear that sizzle. You’re actually just drying the thing out, and it really does look like amateur hour. The video above is sure to make you look like the Grill God that you’ve surely set out to be.

        Advertising

        The Chicken

        Though it may seem like burger season, it’s hard to resist a perfectly grilled piece of chicken straight off the barbecue. For the best bang for your clucking buck, ditch the pricey chicken breast and instead head for the thigh or leg action, as both can stand up to the aggressive heat of the grill. They’re also right at home with a good marinade that you can start the night before, ramping up the flavor and eliciting gasps of wonderment from your awed guests. It’s important to be careful with your chicken though, as it’s sadly one of the foods that’s most likely to give you food poisoning if you fail to get the temperature right. The video above gives you all the skinny on how to cook every cut of chicken to perfection. However, another method you should definitely try at least once in your life is the legendary Beer Can Chicken. Moist, tender and impressive as anything, it’s an easy win if you’re looking to spend less time slaving over the stove and more time chilling with your friends.

        The Veggies

        Grilled vegetables aren’t just for those non-meat eaters in your life. Vegetables were practically made for the grill! Try using a giant, meaty portobello mushroom burger in place of (or even on top of) your regular beef patty. Vegetarian kebabs are also excellent as both a main or a side dish. One of the favorites in America’s corn belt of the Midwest is grilled corn. In fact, it’s difficult to even go to a festival where this isn’t being served up, or to walk through a Mexican neighborhood where someone isn’t selling elotes. The video clip above will show you just how easy it is to whip up a batch of grilled corn for your pals at your next BBQ. Bonus: corn is cheap in the late summer, thus keeping your party costs down.

        The Sides and Stuff

        Advertising

        4845879083_6b4fac2687_z

          A BBQ or cook out just isn’t the same unless you’ve got the extra goods to back it up. Think of toppings, sides and salads to round out the meal. Popular items to have for toppings would include:

          • Condiments (ketchup, mustard, salsa, mayo, hot sauce)
          • Fresh cut veggies (tomatoes, onions, lettuce)
          • Pickles
          • Cheese

          When it comes to salads, you can go traditional or branch out into the exotic. One great way to make sure you have a range of salads is to invite everyone who’s coming to bring a side dish or salad, meaning you’ll end up with a cornucopia of delights depending on everyone’s background. There are also some excellent summer BBQ salad ideas you can view here. Be sure to also offer some chips and pretzels for people to munch on before the main event.

          Once you’ve mastered these BBQ basics, you’ll be able to branch out into seafood, steaks and other styles and marinades. You’re only limited to your imagination and budget, so get out there and get grilling this summer. You’re sure to be a scorcher!

          More by this author

          Party Perfection: 9 Easy Mezze Dishes Quick And Easy Green Bean Casserole Recipe 5 Easy Homemade Pickles Anyone Can Make The 10 Best Global Meatball Recipes… EVER 10 Global Healthy Grilled Recipes To Light Your Summer Fire

          Trending in Lifestyle

          1 10 Ways to Quickly Boost Your Workout Motivation 2 How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck 3 42 Practical Ways To Improve Yourself 4 What Is FOMO (And How to Get Over It and Move on) 5 27 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising
          Advertising

          Last Updated on November 5, 2020

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

          You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. A rut can manifest as a productivity vacuum and be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. Is it possible to learn how to get out of a rut?

          Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, or a student, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

          1. Work on Small Tasks

          When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks that have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

          Whenever I finish doing that, I generate positive momentum, which I bring forward to my work.

          If you have a large long-term goal you can’t wait to get started on, break it down into smaller objectives first. This will help each piece feel manageable and help you feel like you’re moving closer to your goal.

          You can learn more about goals vs objectives here.

          Advertising

          2. Take a Break From Your Work Desk

          When you want to learn how to get out of a rut, get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the bathroom, walk around the office, or go out and get a snack. According to research, your productivity is best when you work for 50 minutes to an hour and then take a 15-20 minute break[1].

          Your mind may be too bogged down and will need some airing. By walking away from your computer, you may create extra space for new ideas that were hiding behind high stress levels.

          3. Upgrade Yourself

          Take the down time to upgrade your knowledge and skills. Go to a seminar, read up on a subject of interest, or start learning a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

          The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college[2]. How’s that for inspiration?

          4. Talk to a Friend

          Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while. Relying on a support system is a great way to work on self-care when you’re learning how to get out of a rut.

          Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

          5. Forget About Trying to Be Perfect

          If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies. Perfectionism can lead you to fear failure, which can ultimate hinder you even more if you’re trying to find motivation to work on something new.

          Advertising

          If you allow your perfectionism to fade, soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come, and then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

          Learn more about How Not to Let Perfectionism Secretly Screw You Up.

          6. Paint a Vision to Work Towards

          If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

          Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the ultimate goal or vision you have for your life?

          Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action. You can use the power of visualization or even create a vision board if you like to have something to physically remind you of your goals.

          7. Read a Book (or Blog)

          The things we read are like food for our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great material.

          Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. You can also stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs and follow writers who inspire and motivate you. Find something that interests you and start reading.

          Advertising

          8. Have a Quick Nap

          If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep[3].

          Try a nap if you want to get out of a rut

            One Harvard study found that “whether they took long naps or short naps, participants showed significant improvement on three of the four tests in the study’s cognitive-assessment battery”[4].

            9. Remember Why You Are Doing This

            Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

            What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall your inspiration, and perhaps even journal about it to make it feel more tangible.

            10. Find Some Competition

            When we are learning how to get out of a rut, there’s nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

            Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, and networking conventions can all inspire you to get a move on. However, don’t let this throw you back into your perfectionist tendencies or low self-esteem.

            Advertising

            11. Go Exercise

            Since you are not making headway at work, you might as well spend the time getting into shape and increasing dopamine levels. Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, or whatever type of exercise helps you start to feel better.

            As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

            If you need ideas for a quick workout, check out the video below:

            12. Take a Few Vacation Days

            If you are stuck in a rut, it’s usually a sign that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

            Beyond the quick tips above, arrange one or two days to take off from work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax, do your favorite activities, and spend time with family members. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

            Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest.

            More Tips to Help You Get out of a Rut

            Featured photo credit: Ashkan Forouzani via unsplash.com

            Reference

            Read Next