15 Must-Know Hacks for the Grill: Tips and Tricks

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If you’re planning a backyard barbecue or a summer cookout, grilling is likely at the top of your to-do list. Before you fire up the grill, perhaps you’d like to learn some simple hacks for the grill that can make the process easier and more efficient.

I don’t know about you, but I’m all about making my life easier. There’s just no time for long complicated processes, cooking methods, and clean up. That’s where these grilling hacks come in handy. You’ll be able to simplify all those things and end up with better results in less time. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Gas grilling hacks for the grill

From cleaning the grates to cooking perfect burgers, these 15 must-know hacks for the grill will help you become a grill master in no time. If you want to take your grilling game to the next level, try out these creative hacks that will impress your guests.

» You might like How to Host the Ultimate Backyard BBQ.

Best Grilling Hacks

Grilling Burgers With Ice Cubes

Chef Graham Elliot says the secret to juicy burgers is adding ice cubes to the patty while grilling. According to Elliot, you make your patties as normal, but you stash a single small ice cube in the center of the patty and form the meat around it. As the patty grills, the ice cube will melt and keep the meat from drying out. What do you think, give it a try?

Using a Muffin Tin

A muffin tin is not just for baking muffins. You can use it to serve condiments, hold skewers, or even cook individual portions of food. Place the muffin tin on the grill and fill each cup with your desired ingredients. This is a great way to cook vegetables, shrimp, or even mini meatloaves.

Grilled sausages

Grilling Sausages

To prevent your sausages from bursting open on the grill, poke them with a fork before cooking. This will allow the steam to escape and prevent the casings from breaking. You can also poach your sausages in beer or water before grilling to enhance their flavor.

Grilling Meatballs

Instead of cooking your meatballs on skewers, try using a muffin tin. Roll your meatballs into small balls and place them in the muffin cups. Grill them for about 10-12 minutes, or until they are cooked through. This is a great way to cook meatballs without them falling apart on the grill.

Grilled meatballs

Grilling Watermelon

Grilling watermelon may sound strange, but it is a delicious and refreshing treat. Cut your watermelon into thick slices and grill them for about 2-3 minutes on each side. The heat will caramelize the natural sugars in the watermelon and create a smoky flavor. Serve with a sprinkle of sea salt and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for a sweet and savory dish. This also works for grilled pineapple.

Grilled watermelon

Don’t Burn the Skewers!

We prefer to use metal skewers on the grill because there’s no chance of them burning (and they’re reusable!). But if you are planning to use wooden skewers to make your kabobs, be sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before. Doing this will prevent the wood from burning and falling apart.

Perfect Grill Marks

The “10 and 2” method isn’t just for driving. It’s actually a great way to ensure you get perfect grill marks on your meat. This is a great technique for steaks like T-Bone that have a large surface area.

When you want to get those perfect grill marks on them from the grill, start by cooking them with the T aimed at 10am, then flip it over. When they are about done, turn them back over and set them on the grill aimed at 2pm. This will make sure that the first side of your steak gets perfect marks.

Read our guide to the perfect steak temperatures.

Making hamburger patties

No Puffy Patties

No one likes a burger that’s puffy in the middle and doesn’t quite fit on the bun because of it. The way to prevent that is to make an indentation in the center of the patty to prevent it from puffing up. As the meat contracts in the cooking process, it will naturally shrink in on itself. If you put an indention in the middle, it will just fill in and create a perfectly flat burger patty.

Brush Grates With Oil

Before starting to grill, it’s a good idea to brush your grill grates with oil. This simple step prevents food from sticking to the grates and provides those much-desired grill marks.

Here’s how:

  1. Preheat your grill and use a grill brush to scrub off any residue from the grates.
  2. Soak a folded paper towel in a high smoke-point oil (like vegetable or canola oil).
  3. Using a long pair of tongs, carefully rub the oil-soaked paper towel over the grates to create a non-stick surface.

Cook Fish Over Lemon

Have you ever seen this grilling hack where you set your fish over lemon slices on the grill? The lemon slices will infuse the fish with a delicious citrus flavor while also preventing it from sticking to the grill grates. This grilling hack is a great way to add some extra flavor to your grilled fish dishes.

To cook fish over lemon slices on the grill as a grilling hack, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Cut a lemon into thin slices.
  3. Place the lemon slices in a single layer on the grill grates.
  4. Season your fish with salt and pepper or your preferred seasoning.
  5. Place the fish fillets on top of the lemon slices.
  6. Close the grill lid and cook the fish for 5-7 minutes per side, or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.
  7. Carefully remove the fish from the grill using a spatula and serve with the grilled lemon slices on top.

Clean the Grill With Tin Foil

🔥 Need to clean your grill grates but don’t have a brush? Here’s a quick hack:

  1. Preheat your grill to burn off any excess food residue.
  2. Once the grill has cooled enough to safely touch, take a large piece of aluminum foil and crumple it into a ball.
  3. Using a pair of long-handled tongs, scrub the grates with the aluminum foil ball. The foil’s texture helps remove grime and stuck-on food particles.

This quick and simple hack will have your grill grates clean in no time! Remember to be cautious and protect your hands from heat.

Quickly Know the Level of Propane

Here’s a handy tip to gauge your propane tank level. Start by dousing the side of your tank with a glass of warm water. Then, run your hand along the tank to identify where the temperature changes from hot to cold.

The hot section reveals the empty part of the tank, while the cold spot represents where propane is present. As a general guideline, a typical 20-pound propane tank, powering a medium-sized grill, should give you approximately 18-20 hours of grilling time.

Seasoned steak

Season in Advance

Boost the flavor of your meat by seasoning it at least an hour before grilling. This allows for maximum flavor absorption. But don’t worry if you’re pressed for time, you can also season right before grilling. Just avoid seasoning 30 to 40 minutes prior, as this can draw out moisture from your meat.

Keep in mind that a fair amount of seasoning will fall off during cooking, so don’t hesitate to use a bit more than usual. Finally, for that perfect crust and grill marks, make sure to pat your meat dry before it goes on the grill.

Use Two Skewers Instead of One

Use two skewers instead of one when grilling small or slippery items like shrimp or veggies.

Simply thread the food items onto two parallel skewers instead of one. This prevents them from spinning or flipping around when you turn them on the grill, ensuring they cook evenly without the hassle. Plus, it makes flipping all of your food at once much easier!

Before You Go

Grilling is a serious pastime that requires serious skill. Check out our guides to make sure you’re on top of your game:


Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill

For this recipe, I used my Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill, which is a new offering from the kitchen appliance brand that makes our beloved favorites, the Ninja MaxXL Air Fryer and the Ninja Creami. The Woodfire Grill is a portable outdoor grill with 7 functions: grill, smoke, air fry, bake, roast, broil, and dehydrate.

Ninja woodfire outdoor grill

Why I Like It

  • It imparts an amazing amount of woodfire flavor into the food with just 1/2 cup of pellets.
  • It’s incredibly fast and efficient.
  • It cooks faster and with more smoker flavor than my full-size smoker – by far.
  • There’s no guessing, especially with the built-in temperature probe available on the Pro version.
  • The food comes out with a perfect crispy or seared exterior that’s both gorgeous and super tasty.
  • It’s very portable and can be set up anywhere on a sturdy surface with a power outlet nearby.

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Must know hacks for the grill

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