4 Grilling Myths That Aren’t True

There’s no shortage of grilling myths out there, from how many times to turn a steak to whether you must have grill marks on food or not. The truth is that many of the “laws of grilling” that have been drilled into our brains since childhood (looking at you, Dad) might not be what you think. Grilling is an area of cooking in which “that’s the way we’ve always done it” rules the roost, but there are grilling myths that you need to unlearn STAT.

Grilling Myths to Abandon ASAP

Do you really know what BTUs are? Do you need to? What about using cooking spray on grates — yay or nay? Is it cool to skip using the meat thermometer, or is there really something there we should heed? Worry not; Chad’s has the answers.

1.   Keep a Cup of Water Handy for Flare-Ups

Here’s the deal: water and grease do not play nice, and when combined, water is going to cause a big problem. So just as you shouldn’t pour water on a grease fire indoors, you shouldn’t try to smother one on the grill with it, either.

Dousing a flare-up with water is going to create massive plumes of charcoal smoke that will ruin your food. If you’re using a gas grill and have a flare-up, you’ll only make it bigger. Just close the lid and vents. Oxygen is a fire’s first feast, so cut that off, and you’ll dull the flame.

2.   You Can’t Charcoal Grill Without Lighter Fluid

Have you ever tasted grilled food that leaves a fine hint of lighter fluid in your mouth? Great way to ruin food. While it’s true that the right amount of lighter fluid won’t create a “gas station-esque” vibe in your mouth, any amount of it can create an explosion.

It’s dangerous, it’s expensive, and it’s unnecessary. So instead, grab a little charcoal chimney, put some paper in the bottom, coals on top, and get your lighter. That’s all you need for hot coals ready for your grill in 10 minutes.

3.   The More Smoke You Have, the Better

Unless you are smoking, excessive smoke isn’t the goal. Especially when grilling. We’re not sure how this little grilling myth came to be but ignore it. Again, unless you are actually smoking meats, smoke is actually a sign of poor fire management.

Too much smoke only means that the wood or coals are not completing the combustion process, causing fuel to shoot microparticles into the air — and into your food. So don’t look for more smoke; look for blue, wispy smoke, which is created by a hotter fire.

4.   You Gotta Have the Grill Marks

Okay, here’s the thing: grill marks somehow became the “roof” that food was grilled a while back (blame fast food). But we’re going to let you in on a little secret: Those grill marks can be faked. Grill marks might look pretty and can show that food came off a grate over a fire, but they’re actually a sign of a grilling fail.

These marks show something called a Maillard reaction, but the thing is, you want a Maillard reaction over the entire piece of grilled meat, and it should be an even brown color… not coal black. Unfortunately, grill marks do nothing but show a failure at creating that even brown color.

5. Wait, What About the Rest?

Still waiting for those answers about meat thermometers, cooking spray, BTUs, and how many times to turn a steak? So here it is: Don’t skip the thermometer but skip the cooking spray. Just say no to BTUs and focus on max temperature instead. And folks, for the benefit of everyone, if you want to turn that steak more than once, you do that. As long as you evenly cook on both sides, you can do what makes you feel good.

Now that your mouth is watering for the best smoked meat in Maryland, get going and see us at Chad’s.

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