BBQ enthusiasts know that to improve how they barbecue, they have to push the limits. If your grill is simple, you go for complex recipes; and if you have an extravagant grill setup, you put your own spin on the classics. When it comes to cooking on the grill, there’s so much more to it than just the grill top. There are gadgets and techniques that take the game to a whole new level, and if you want to explore new avenues of grilling and barbecue, you’ll have to check out some of our suggestions below.
1. Make your BBQ smokin’ hot
Start using a smoker. Contrary to what you may be thinking—that it’s either grilling or smoking—a smoker is a great complement to any BBQ enthusiast’s arsenal. They’re great for the slow-and-low style of cooking many have come to associate with the rich, smoky flavor of barbecued foods. Sure, you could get away with turning your kettle grill into a smoker, but the results just wouldn’t be the same as you’d get with charcoal smokers.
Smokers have an easier time holding steady at the right temperatures and impart just the right amount of smoky wood flavor to foods. Really, if you want to do a fantastic job at smoking, invest in a piece of equipment designed to perform that function. Just stay away from the cheap offset smokers because you’ll get what you pay for, which isn’t much at all.
2. Go big or go home
Get a larger grill for a bigger cooking surface. You say you don’t throw extravagant cookouts or prepare food for large groups of people? Who cares! The ability to throw on a whole rack of ribs (or more than one if you’re feeling adventurous) or an extra-large roast is nothing to scoff at. Just ask the neighbor with the tiny grill how long it takes them to grill a rack of ribs.
Think about your grilling surface as prime real estate: the more you have the more room you have to play around with. You can tackle a few different dishes at once, you’ll have room for bigger cuts of meat, and you will have the grill space for all sorts of food configurations—all the better to avoid having to slice up veggies or cuts of meat into smaller pieces when you don’t really want to.
3. Keep it simple
Don’t over accessorize. There are too many high-tech, gimmicky, and just plain awesome grilling accessories out there to own, let alone list. No doubt, there are some pretty legitimate tools but for the most part, you don’t really need an electric spatula or a hotdog rotisserie.
If having one or two snazzy gadgets around—like a grill cleaning robot or stuffed hamburger press—makes you feel like a superstar, go for it; but if you want to perfect your grill game and start to understand what some of the BBQ purists out there are talking about, stick to the basics.
This rule is of particular import when you’re considering a grill that comes “preloaded” with accessories. Some extras you decide to opt in for may not be removable down the line, so think carefully about your accessories.
And don’t worry so much about the fuel source. There are many sides to the argument and plenty of people championing for gas over charcoal, or propane over pellets—it really comes down to personal taste, experience, and what kind of maintenance you want to do. Some fuel sources like electric and propane might be ideal for “set-it-and-forget-it” when it comes to smokers, but if you don’t mind tending the fire—or if that just happens to be what you love about BBQ—then wood or charcoal isn’t a bad way to go.