Summer may be flying by, but there are still another solid two months of good grilling weather. To take your grill skills up a notch, Emeril Lagasse stopped by "Good Morning America" to share his top barbecue tips.
Plus, we asked viewers to share their best grill dishes, and the submissions were impressive, but Sandra Miller's grilled pork chops and Terri Dowd's grilled ribs and asparagus took the top prizes.
Read on for how to become a grill pro according to Emeril, and then put your newly-gained expert status to use with some of his favorite outdoor recipes and the winning viewer submissions.
- Heat your grill before cleaning. It's much easier to clean the grill when it's still hot; remember to scrape the grill grates shortly after you've finished cooking. Use a wire brush that is designed specifically for cleaning grills.
- Treat your meat with care. Don't squeeze down on burgers while cooking. By doing so you're only losing some of the meat's natural goodness and juices!
- Add flavor with marinades and spices. Marinades and spice rubs impart excellent flavors to simple cuts of meat, chicken or fish. Try using your favorite vinaigrette as a quick marinade for chicken breasts. Or, mix up a batch of your favorite spices and dried herbs, season with salt and sugar for balance, and rub this into your steaks and chops next time you grill.
- Wait to apply barbecue sauce. Any sauce that has a lot of sugar (as many barbecue sauces do) will char if applied too early while grilling; it's best to apply sweet sauces during the last five minutes of cooking.
- Get all the appropriate tools. An instant read thermometer takes the guess work out of grilling. Keep one nearby and you'll always know when your meat is ready to come off the grill. Long-handled metal spatulas and tongs are helpful for turning foods on the hot grill. Keep old towels or rags for oiling grill grates to keep from ruining your nice towels. For basting foods on the grill, a brush with natural-bristles will hold up to the heat better than synthetic bristles, which tend to melt if they get too hot. Keep a plastic spray bottle filled with water nearby when grilling; it will help you control flare-ups.
- Try adding smoke. Hardwood chips can add bold, smoky flavors to grilled foods. Make sure to soak them in water for 30 minutes before adding to a charcoal grill. For gas grills, you can use a smoker attachment for chips or you can wrap chips in an aluminum foil pouch poked with holes and place the pouch directly on top of the burner unit.