Cooking Tips For Gas Grills

Fix Easy Camping Meals

These camp cooking tips for gas grills are collected from grilling chefs all over the country to give you the best grilling experience possible and avoid mistakes many make when cooking on gas bbq grills.

Grilled food is delicious with a carmelized, golden brown appearance - it's also healthy because the fat cooks away. Outdoor propane grills do an outstanding job of cooking healthy camping food.

So get set - learn how to show off your grilling skills with these cooking tips for gas grills:

Cooking Tips for Gas Grills: Before Starting

Before you start, have at hand everything you need -

  • Long handled tongs - for adding, turning and removing food.
  • Long handled spatula - for lifting and turning delicate food like fish and burgers.
  • Long handled fork - for turning and moving food - also for piercing food to observe fluid - no pink or red in chicken or pork.
  • Basting brush - for basting food while it is cooking.
  • Salt and pepper - don't use pepper until food is done because heat can make pepper bitter.
  • Paper towel and vegetable oil - for rubbing on the grill grate to keep food from sticking.

Cooking Tips for Gas Grills: The Biggest Mistake

The most important of all the cooking tips for gas grills is also the biggest mistake that people make when cooking on a gas grill.

You must preheat your grill before you start - turn the burners on high and let it heat for 10 minutes before you start cooking - this not only gets the grill warmed up to the correct cooking temperature, it will burn off any accumulated grease in the bottom.

You can't do a proper job of grilling without preheating first - cold grates mean you have to cook longer and the outside doesn't get seared to give it that golden brown appearance. Have you ever tried to eat grey looking meat - not very appetizing, is it?

Cooking Tips For Gas Grills: The Food

Have food at room temperature before starting to grill - 30 minutes to 1 hour should do it.

Trim off all excess fat and skin - helps to prevent flare ups.

Add sauce at the end of cooking, not at the beginning - it will burn.

Grill a whole fish with the skin on - it will stick to the grill and easily peel away from the fish.

Don't pierce meat with a fork to turn - use metal tongs instead so juices won't run out.

Use a clean plate to put food on - don't use the same one raw meat was on - you could pick up bacteria that way.

Marinating meats add flavor and makes them juicier.

A simple oil and vinegar salad dressing makes a good marinade.

Basting meat gives it a rich, golden glaze - use it after cooking for 15 minutes and apply periodically. If it contains sugar, only use it in the last few minutes.

Cooking Tips For Gas Grills: Grilling

Always start with a clean grill - not only the grate, but be sure there isn't any accumulated grease in the bottom that could cause a flare up.

Use a timer when grilling food - it's easy to lose track of time.

Use high heat for steaks, hot dogs, hamburgers, etc. - low heat for fish and chicken.

Turn the grill on low when adding sauce - slather it on generously and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, turning frequently.

Use a fish basket when grilling delicate fish - it won't break up when you turn it.

Meat will continue to cook after removing it from the heat - so have it a little under-done for the way you want it.

Use a smoker box for smoky flavor - soak chips for 30 minutes.

Keep lava rocks clean if you have them in your grill - built up grease cause flare ups.

You can grill different food at different temperatures if your grill has 2 burners - grill vegetables in a basket on one side and pork chops on the other side.

The best way to control flare ups is to move the food away from the flame and let it burn out the grease.

When using a rotisserie - put meat on the spit and slowly rotate above the grill - makes large cuts of meat tender and juicy. You can buy one to attach to your grill if it doesn't come with one.

When using skewers - use bamboo with low heat for seafood and chicken and metal with high heat for beef and lamb.

After removing meat from the grill, cover it with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes before eating it - makes it tender and juicy.

Cooking Tips For Gas Grills: Some More Tips

Spray bottles don't work as well on flare ups - water will put out the flame temporarily, but doesn't get rid of the grease - it will catch fire again.

Use a grill that is sturdy and won't tip over - you don't want to lose your dinner.

A thermometer takes away all the guessing when you grill meat, fish or poultry.

Leave the grill on high for about 10 minutes after you have finished - it will burn off any stuck food - then use a metal grill brush to remove anything that is left. Run a piece of crumpled foil over grill to remove any metal bristles that might stay on it.

Close the valve on the propane tank when you are finished.

Store your propane tank out of direct sunlight.

Cooking Tips For Gas Grills: Direct and Indirect Grilling

Direct grilling means cooking right over the heat source. It is adjusted to low, medium or high, depending on the food cooked. When food is cooked on high, the lid is usually left open. Direct grilling is usually used for thin cuts of meat, kabobs, fish filets and vegetables.

Indirect grilling means cooking away from, but close to the heat source. When using a 2 burner grill, you light one and cook food over the unlit burner, turning as necessary. When using a 3 burner grill, you light the two outside burners and cook over the unlit middle burner.

Indirect grilling is usually done with the lid closed and the hot air slowly roasting the food - prevents surface burning. This cooking method is used for large cuts of meat and whole chickens.

Cooking Tips for Gas Grills: How to Grill a Turkey

A turkey can be successfully grilled over indirect heat -

Using a 3 burner gas grill, turn on the two outside burners and leave the middle one unlit. Put a foil roasting pan with a little water in it under the middle burner to catch meat drippings.

If you use a 2 burner grill, light one burner and leave the other unlit. Cook the turkey over the unlit burner and turn as needed to cook both sides. Use a foil roasting pan with water under the unlit burner.

Both types of grills require that you close the lid to cook.

Brining gives it flavor and makes it juicy. Marinate in salt water for 8 hours or overnight before cooking - pat dry completely with paper towels before grilling.

Check the bird with a thermometer when you think it is about done. It should register 165 degrees when inserted deep into the meat and not touching a bone.

When the turkey is done, remove from the heat and cover with foil for 15 to 20 minutes before serving - makes it juicy and tender.

Cooking Tips for Gas Grills: How to Grill Fish

Grilling fish is a fast and easy way to make dinner. Your goal is to have a crispy outside, while the inside is cooked all the way through.

The first thing is to start with a clean grill and rub the grates with an oil-soaked paper towel. You might have to do it 3 or 4 times.

Preheat the grill on high for 10 or 15 minutes - scrape off any food remaining with a grill brush. Turn grill down to medium low.

Brush fish with olive oil or vegetable oil after drying completely with a paper towel.

Grill with the skin side down - after it is seared on that side turn over and sear the other side.

If you put the fish on the grill at an angle, it is easier to turn - gently slip a thin metal spatula under one corner - if it goes under the fish easily, it is probably ready to turn. If not, cook another 20 seconds and try again - don't overcook it.

For thin or delicate pieces of fish, use a fish basket - helps to prevent it from falling apart. You could also wrap foil around the fish.

When the fish flakes easily, it is done. A good guide is to cook 5 minutes per side for 1/2 inch thick fish, and 10 minutes per side for 1 inch thick pieces.

Cooking Tips for Gas Grills: How to Grill Steak

Grilled steak is a favorite for everyone - there is nothing to compare to it!

The biggest secret to grilling steak is to start with a good piece of meat. Prime is the best you can get, but it isn't easy to find - choice is next and is a good choice for grilling.

The steak should be 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches thick with some marbling of fat. Steak without fat isn't good - if you want to avoid fat, you probably want to avoid steak!

Always start with a clean grill and preheat on high for 15 - 20 minutes. If any food remains, scrape off with a metal grill brush.

Your steak should be at room temperature before grilling - 30 to 60 minutes out of the refrigerator should do it, depending on the thickness. Pat the steak completely dry with paper towels or you will be steaming it instead of grilling.

Don't salt your steak before grilling - wait until it is done and finished resting.

Salt brings moisture to the top and just sits there - you will be steaming it and the steak will look grey instead of browned.

The exception to this is salt curing - this can make a standard cut of meat taste like prime meat. The steak should be a minimum of 1 inch - 1 1/2 inch is better. Cover both sides generously with coarse salt, like ice cream salt. Let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour - then rinse it off completely. Pat steak dry with a paper towel on both sides.

Cook your steak on a hot grill and flip it only one time.

Cook 3 to 4 minutes per side for a medium rare steak.

A thermometer takes away all guess work:

  • rare - 120 degrees
  • medium rare - 125 degrees
  • medium - 130 degrees

When your steak is done, let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes - you can cover with foil while you get your baked potato and salad ready.

Cooking Tips for Gas Grills: How to Grill Vegetables

Grilled vegetables are a great side dish for any meal.

To prepare the vegetables, cut them in half or 1/2 inch slices and coat them with oil or Italian dressing.

Start with a clean grill and preheat it to high - brush off any left over food residue, then turn to medium heat.

Vegetables can be cooked whole, cut in pieces or slices, threaded onto skewers or placed in a grill basket.

Turn the vegetables often and don't overcook them - they should be just tender crispy.

If you are cooking an assortment of veggies, cut them into pieces that will all take about the same time to cook.

Here's a great recipe for vegetables in a grill basket:

4 bell peppers - 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 orange, 1 green - 4 zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch slices - 1/2 pound mushroom, halved - 2 onions, cut into 1/2 inch slices

Toss them with Italian dressing, just until all are coated - about 1/2 bottle. Sprinkle with salt - put into the grill basket - put on the grill and cook. They take about 20 minutes. Stir now and then using a large, flat spoon.

Cooking Tips For Gas Grills: How To Grill Individual Vegetables

  • corn on the cob - pull back the husks, but don't remove - take off the silk and soak in cold water for 30 minutes. Twist the husks closed and grill for 5 to 7 minutes on each side.
  • asparagus - soak in cold water for 30 minutes - dry and coat with olive oil - sprinkle with salt - turn about every minute - when the tips start to brown, they should be done.
  • bell peppers, all colors - cut in half, remove the seeds and the white fiber - cut into thick slices - coat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt - grill for about 5 minutes per side.
  • eggplant - cut into round slices 1/4 inch thick - brush with oil and sprinkle with salt - grill 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  • mushrooms - for large mushrooms, cut in half - brush with oil and sprinkle with salt - grill 5 minutes on each side - for small mushrooms, put in grill basket.
  • potatoes - whole ones wrap in foil and grill about 45 minutes - wedges coat with oil and sprinkle with salt - grill until browned, turning every now and then.
  • tomatoes - cut in half - brush with oil and sprinkle with salt - broil with cut side down for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • zucchini - cut in 1/2 inch slices - brush with oil and sprinkle with salt - grill 2 to 3 minutes per side - small ones, cut down the middle.

Cooking Tips for Gas Grills: How to grill chicken

So often, grilled chicken means black, charred skin - but the secret to moist, tender chicken with sticky and flavorful skin is low heat and leaving the sauce until it is done.

Start with a clean grill and preheat on high for 10 minutes - then turn down to medium or low. Use a wire brush to remove any burned food left on the grate. Rub on vegetable oil with a paper towel or spray with cooking spray.

Cut off any excess skin and fat - even the little tail.

Marinate for 8 hours or overnight in salt brine - dry completely with paper towels.

Start off with cooking the chicken over direct heat to crisp the skin - then move so you can cook it with indirect heat. With a 3 burner grill, light the two outside burners and cook over the unlit middle one, or with a 2 burner grill, just light one burner and cook over the other one - you will have to move the chicken around so both sides cook.

Start turning the chicken after it has been cooking for 15 minutes - rotate the pieces - move the ones that are more done farther away from the heat and the ones that are less cooked, move closer. Use tongs to turn pieces - stabbing with a fork lets out the juices.

Chicken pieces with the bone in and skin on take longer than boneless and skinless pieces. Breast pieces will take about 45 minutes to an hour to be cooked thoroughly.

A thermometer is good to use - it should register 165 degrees to 175 degrees when inserted into the meat, not touching a bone. The juices should be clear - no red or pink.

If you get a flare up, move the chicken away and shake it good where you are not cooking - this will drop off grease in an area where it can burn up, but not char the chicken. If you get too much flare up - remove the chicken and let the grease burn up.

Brush on the BBQ sauce the last 5 minutes of cooking - turn heat to low - brush with sauce, close lid and cook for 1 minute - turn and brush with more BBQ sauce - close lid and cook for 1 minute. Repeat this 2 or 3 times.

When chicken is done, let sit for 5 minutes to let the meat absorb the juices.

I hope all these cooking tips for gas grills will give you lots of grilling ideas and will help you to become an outstanding grill chef when you are camping or when you are at home.

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Happy Grilling!

Montana Camping

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