Keep the lid down! Lifting the lid allows heat to escape from the barbecue, increasing total cooking time. A closed lid also reduces the chance of flare-ups. Open only when turning foods or checking for doneness.

Put lemons/limes in a mason jar and fill with water. Screw the cap tight. Lemons and limes can be kept fresh this way for several weeks.

Sometimes corn is kept in the refrigerator for a day or two before being used. To keep cobs tasting fresh, cut a small piece off the end of each stalk and stand the ears in a tub with about 1 inch of water. Do not remove the husks.

  • Use beef you’ve just bought or that has been refrigerated for up to three days, not meat that has been frozen.
  • Preheat the grill on high for at least 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grates.
  • Trim excess fat from the steak. Then season meat with freshly ground pepper and kosher or coarse salt, using a little more salt than usual since some will drip off during cooking.
  • To get those great grill marks, place the steak diagonal to the grates facing left (10 o’clock)
  • Then cook the same side on the right diagonal (2 o’clock)
  • Flip the steak and repeat the previous two steps.
  • Keep the lid closed while cooking.
  • Grill a boneless steak, such as rib-eye or sirloin, 25 to 35mm thick, for 90 seconds for each step if you prefer rate meat.
  • Steak with a bone, such as a porter-house, should be grilled for 2 minutes per step for rare.
  • Add 30 seconds per step for medium-rare. Cook for 3 minutes per step for medium-well. Remove steak from the grill.

Even the best gas grills can yield miserable meals if you ignore the basics, always have in mind the following:

  • Not preheating the grill. Food sticks to cool grates.  What to do: Before cooking, heat the grill for 10 to 15 minutes with the lid down and the burners set on high.
  • Grilling on dirty grates. Food sticks and absorbs unwelcome flavors. What to do: Scrape hot grates clean with a grill brush.
  • Searing with wimpy heat. Steaks and burgers don’t develop a flavorful, caramelized crust. What to do: Set burners to high or medium-high for proper searing.
  • Cooking with the lid open. Heat escapes, compromising searing (except with TEC infrared) and roasting. What to do: Close lid to concentrate heat.
  • Grilling thick cuts with high heat. Thick chops, steaks and burgers are grill-marked outside, yet undercooked within. What to do: Use high heat for searing, then turn down burners to finish cooking meats.
  • Guessing when food is done. Food is under-or overcooked. What to do: Insert an instant-read thermometer into the sides of steaks and chops or into the thickest section of burgers and chicken parts.

Determine when a steak is done, by comparing the firmness of the fleshy part of the hand at the base of the thumb to the flesh of the steak. Take the left forefinger and just touch it to the tip of the left thumb. Don't exert any pressure, the lightest touch is correct. Take the right forefinger and poke the fleshy part of the hand at the base of the left thumb. 

The feeling you get is the feeling of a rare steak. Now touch the steak. For medium use the second finger of your left hand to touch the fleshy part of the thumb. For well done use the third finger of your left hand. Voila... perfectly done steaks every time!

Staging an entire meal on the barbecue is a matter of timing and of making use of all the features your grill has to offer. Once the grill has been preheated, place some foil-wrapped potatoes on the warming rack. Start off with some grilled appetizers, then cook the meat. Remember that most meat benefits from sitting for 10-30 minutes to reabsorb the juices; the larger roasts being at the longer end of the spectrum. (The exception is fish, which should be served immediately).

While the meat is resting, toss the vegetables on the barbecue and stir up a sauce on the side burner.

Depending on the size of your barbecue and the size of your crowd, you can often cook the meat and vegetables simultaneously.

OMC cast iron grids can be set in a sloped position to drain away excess fat and minimize flare-up. Remember to use tongs when turning steaks and chops. A fork will pierce the meat and allow precious juices to escape while cooking.

Barbecue sauces containing tomato or sugar will burn quickly apply only during the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking.

Remember that your barbecue can work as an outdoor oven. Using low temperatures and the higher warming rack, proceed with any baking recipe for pies, cakes or crisps. This is especially handy during those unforeseen power-outages when your guests arrival is imminent!

Another unique and delicious way to barbecue food is by using a wooden plank. Cooking a meal on a wooden plank, known as "planking," is a surefire way to get delicious results and wow your dinner guests. The smoke created from the plank sitting directly above the lit elements infuses the meat with that unsurpassed barbecue flavour.

Using a plank is simple. Just soak it in water for at least an hour and pat it dry. Pre-heat your barbecue on HIGH for 10 minutes, coat both sides of the plank with olive oil then place the seasoned meat on it. Place the plank on the barbecue directly over the lit elements and reduce the heat to MEDIUM-LOW. Cook the meat to its desired doneness and voila, you've just created your first planked meal.

Cedar planks are ideal for salmon but don't be afraid to try other meats with it. Pork goes great on a maple plank and lamb is delicious on alder.

Place paper towel in the bottom of the vegetable bin in your refrigerator to absorb excess moisture.

A clean, well-maintained grill will improve the flavor of all the food you cook and also help prevent grease fires. So before you sizzle those first steaks of the season, follow these tips:

  • Examine the propane tank. Heavy rust, dents, or greenish-orange corrosion are signs that you need a new tank. On grills without a fuel gauge, disconnect the tank and stand it upright. Pour hot water onto the tank and feel it.  The cool area lets you know how much gas is left.
  • Check for gas leaks. Mix a small amount of dishwashing liquid and water in a spray bottle. Spray the soapy solution over connections and along the hose.  Turn on the tank. Bubbling means you need to change a part or fix a loose connection.
  • Focus on the firebox. Grease and food that fall through the grates often collect in the firebox. So periodically clean the drip pan and remove the grates and burners and clean the firebox. Check the owner’s manual for the appropriate cleaning solutions.
  • Clean the grates. Clean them before cooking and right after, too. Use a stiff wire brush to clean both sides of the grates. Porcelain-coated, cast-iron grates require a nylon brush. Do not use soap. Just before you cook, oil the grates.  Fold two paper towels into a tight pad and dip in a bowl of vegetable oil. Use tongs to draw the pad across the grates.
  • Remove grease. Use mild, soapy water and a sponge to wipe the grease from painted exterior surfaces, then rinse. Do this again right after you’ve finished cooking. Eliminate stains on the lid by gently using a nylon pad dipped in soapy water. On a stainless exterior, use a soft cloth or sponge. Do not use harsh cleaners. Apply a grease-cutting solution, followed by an all-purpose cleaner.  Finish by applying stainless polish.

Never refrigerate unless fully ripened flavor is greatly affected by cooler temperatures. Keep tomatoes on your counter to fully ripen.

When less tender cuts of meat are used, cut it into strips. Stretch the meat to determine which way the grain runs, then cut across the grain. When grilling rack of lamb, cover the bones with aluminum foil to prevent them from burning.

Use leftover grilled vegetables to make a great grilled sandwich. Or, saute an onion in butter or olive oil, add grilled vegetables, a few cups of broth, cook gently for 20 minutes and puree for a great soup.

Lifting the lid allows heat to escape from the barbecue, increasing total cooking time. A closed lid also reduces the chance of flare-ups. Open only when turning foods or checking for doneness.

Use egg whites and beat until stiff. Add one sliced banana for each egg white. Beat again until dissolved.

Firmer fruits can be brushed with a little vegetable oil and barbecued directly on the cooking grids until golden brown. Others can be cooked in a foil pouch with a little butter, brown sugar and cinnamon added. Either way the fruit flavours will be intensified. Serve with your favourite ice cream.

Use separate dishes for raw and cooked poultry. Wash your hands, utensils and work surfaces with hot soapy water after handling raw poultry to prevent spreading bacteria to other foods.

Just combine, grill and serve! The availability of these products will vary, but more and more grocery stores are stocking these items as essentials. Some great things to keep on hand: bruschetta, salsa, pesto, Thai sauce and marinara sauce.

Grease fires are stubborn and often difficult to put out. Never attempt to extinguish a grease fire with water, instead, spread salt or baking soda over the flames. The fire will soon go out.