Top Tips to Become a Backyard Barbecue Master

Grilling is more than just a great way to cook a meal or have a get-together; for many people, it's a lifestyle. Whether your preference is charcoal or gas, if you want to throw a great backyard barbecue, keep these things in mind.

Equipment

While having the biggest and best equipment won’t guarantee a successful barbecue, it will put you on the right track.

Grill. Make sure you have a grill that can handle anything you throw at it. The Napoleon Mirage 485 is one of the best bangs for the buck. Its three stainless steel burners and large cooking area can handle anything from a full prime rib to up to 24 4-inch burgers. It has large side platforms, a built-in beverage station and infrared rotisserie burner. It also features a smaller infrared side burner for quick cooking or smaller meals.

Accessories. Every good grill requires a multitude of accessories to get the most out of it. The team at BBQGuys has everything from utensil sets and racks to thermometers and grill covers. They also have things you might not even realize you needed, like marinade injectors, pizza stones and attachable grill lights.

Amenities. Before you get going on your epic backyard barbecue, make sure you have everything you need to keep your guests comfortable. Have a good selection of everything from tables and chairs to outdoor lighting, and don’t forget the heaters or umbrellas, depending on the weather. And of course, make sure you have plenty of pool floats and toys on hand. If you don't already have inflatables and gear, check out InTheSwim.com.

Setup & Technique

When setting up, make sure you consider safety as well as convenience. You never want your grill too close to a building or near low-hanging branches. You also need good ventilation; never use a grill in a garage or enclosed area. And always have a fire extinguisher or water source nearby.

Preheat your grill before you start cooking. Keep the heat as uniform as possible; have the coals spread out evenly in a charcoal grill, and make sure you use all burners on a gas grill. If you are planning on cooking with indirect heat, use a drip pan to separate the area and catch any grease that falls.

One advantage of grilling is you can get flavors you normally wouldn’t be able to get, such as smokes and different kinds of rubs. And while you may have your favorites, remember that you aren’t the only one eating. Be sure to get an idea of what kinds of foods your guests like, too.

Clean your grill after every use. Don’t get drawn into the fad that not cleaning adds flavor to the next grilling. It’s easiest to clean right after you are done, when it is cooled off enough to touch but still warm. And while the automatic cleaning feature on some grills is a horrible feature to use, taking advantage of technology like grill-cleaning robots from Grillbots can make your life easier.

However you want to structure your backyard event, take the time to prepare — this way, everyone will recognize you as the king of the backyard barbecue.

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