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new at grilling

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Post Sun Jun 20, 2004 9:24 am
pderico rare

Posts: 14
Location: Gibsonton, FL
Howdy, my name is Phil and I am new at grilling. I have now BBQed for many years, and just bought my first gas grill yeasterday. I have a few questions that I would appreciate some input on.

1.) Is there any hard, fast, easy way to determine the doneness of steak while grilling other than cutting into it?

2.) I have boiled pork ribs prior to BBQing but now my wife wants to try to do the same with chicken. Is this a good idea, or is it better to just grill them from the get go?

3.) Any ideas on smoking with a gas grill (no smoker box)? Any good variations? Once again, is there a good way to determine doneness while smoking?


Post Sun Jun 20, 2004 11:16 am
shakes rare

Posts: 18
Location: Mizerahh
You can touch the steak to determine doneness and I wouldn't boil the chicken. I think there's another recent thread here on smoking on a gas grill.

Post Sun Jun 20, 2004 4:04 pm
DarkRubiTJ medium-well

Posts: 221
Location: Livingston, TX.
Welcome to the insanity, Phil.

One of the best investments you can make is an instant read thermometer. I have several ranging in price from $5 to $30.

If you are having trouble getting a chicken completely done on the grill try cooking one that is butterflied. I believe that boiling one first would take away most of the juice (flavor) and make it very difficult to keep together while cooking.

I've never tried smoking on the grill, it gets too hot to sit on :lol:
Weber "Q", Weber Performer, Weber 22.5" Bar-B-Kettle

Post Sun Jun 20, 2004 10:59 pm
ThrRoff well done
well done

Posts: 999
Location: Washington, DC


Welcome to the Board, and I am glad you are trying some grilling.

A lot of people may advise the touch it method to check for the doneness of a steak. The more firm it is, the more done it is. I would advise starting with the “nick and peak” method. Make a little slice in a piece and see how rare it is. Just remember that after you take of off of the fire it will continue to cook.

Chicken is good almost anyway on a grill. However, I believe that boiling a whole chicken will simply render out much of the fat, and then when you grill it, you will have a pretty dry piece of meat. I suggest a purchase of Steven’s book “How to Grill,” There are numerous good recipes for whole grilled chickens and chicken parts.

As for smoking on a gas grill, you will need a smoker box. Once again I would recommend consulting Steven’s book, or search this Board for posts by our friend Grand Scale. He is a master at it.

Post Sun Jun 20, 2004 11:42 pm
Yankee Bill medium

Posts: 115
Location: Norfolk, Va.
Hi Phil, and WELCOME to the board :lol: ,

I see the guy's have already given you some good advice, not much to add to that. Most GrillMiester's won't recommend cutting into a steak to check for doneness, as the juice's will run out and they can become dry. But while you are learning to " get the feel of it " , I agree with ThrRoff. Make a small cut to check a couple, then poke them to see how they feel at that stage of doneness. It won't take long to get " the feel " and most likely you will not ruin any by over cooking them while you learn.

And as DarkRubiTJ stated, an Instant Read thermometer is an invaluable tool to have. Glad to see you're getting into grilling, enjoy :lol: . YB2
I'll eat anything that won't eat me first !!!

Post Sun Jun 20, 2004 11:52 pm
spfranz well done
well done

Posts: 615
Location: Minnesota

I'd go with the instant read thermometer. It makes a much smaller hole than cutting into it. Also, it's better to pull it off a little under done. You can always throw it back on for a little while. But, if you over cook it, there's no going back.

One thing that you said that nobody has mentioned yet, is that you boil your ribs. For the most part, that's a really big no no. You know all that stuff that's in the water when you're done boiling them? That's half of the juice and flavor of the ribs. You really want that to stay in the ribs, not get tossed out with the water.

I'm not sure where this whole rib boiling thing started (although I heard that Emeril once did it on his show - bad Emeril). But if you get a bunch of smoking/grilling/barbecueing cookbooks and do some research on the internet, you'll find this is not a good way to go.

I like vegetarians. Some of my favorite foods are vegetarians.

Post Mon Jun 21, 2004 8:13 am
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
Phil Welcome to the board. Hope you stick around and enjoy the insanity. As you can see, there are a bunch of great people here and more grilling/bbq knowledge than you'll ever need.

Most of your questions have already been answered so I'll just add a bit more. For the doneness I agree with the thermometer approach and the nick and test approach. However that not what I do. Your goal should be to nick it for now but as you do and get more used to it you should be able to match the doneness with the firmness of the meat. Steve goes by what he calls his "rule of hand" which basically says that if you lay your hand flat relaxed and start poking at your wrist and move towards the "webbing" between your thumb and finger, that it loosely matches the doneness of a steak. Well done at the wrist and rare at the webbing.

Never boil anything before putting it on the grill. There's a reason you boil food to make soup stock. It takes the flavor out. Just don't do it. If you're chicken is getting black before its getting done, two things come to mind. Too Hot or not Indirect. Move your heat out from directly under the meat. This is indirect cooking. Also chicken is best at lower temps for a longer time. Just don't boil!

Smoking on a grill works fine. Not great but it will fill the bill. Check out the other threads that Roff refered to (thanks for the compliment Roff. Master? :oops: ) But a quck summary is to get s smoker box if you plan on smoking often or just use a foil pouch for use here and there. Place either on the grill with soaked wood chips and let er start smoking then add your meat. Replenish as necessary. It's not true BBQ but its still good food.

Good Luck and enjoy.

Post Mon Jun 21, 2004 9:14 am
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 13157
Location: Texas
Welcome to the board Phil! :D Great to have you aboard.

I would like to strongly suggest "How to Grill" without being too pushy. :wink: It’s a great, illustrated cookbook that answers all the questions you asked. (Not that the fellows haven't done an awesome job of doing so!) It's like a training manual for grilling/smoking for beginners and yet it can take season vet's up a level or two as well. We tried the grilled asparagus for the first time this weekend…the best asparagus we’ve ever had! BTW moderators don’t benefit from the sale of Steven’s books, but you will. :D

Post Mon Jun 21, 2004 11:31 pm
jayshaw91 medium-rare

Posts: 58
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Well I once boiled ribs a few years ago and got that out of that red and white checkered cookbook that EVERYONE's mom has. They still sell it, too. I forget the title. Anyway, since it's such a widespread book, that could be one reason for the rib taboo spreading.

I saw on a BBQ comp show recently something similar to Steve's "hand" method. Instead of a flat hand, try this:

Touch your first finger to your thumb and feel the meat on the pad of your hand. That'sd rare.

Middle finger to thumb is medium

Ring to thumb is med well

And according to the guy on TV, pinky to thumb is a ruined steak =)

Try pushing dead in the middle of the pad on your hand, you can feel the difference. Not sure how accurate this is, but that dude cooking looked older than the hills, so I'm sure he's got QUITE a bit more experience than I do! :lol:

Post Wed Jun 23, 2004 1:00 pm
PaulP well done
well done

Posts: 681
Location: Beautiful St. Mary's County, Maryland
pderico - We're always willing to help, but I have to agree that every newbie should invest in a copy of Steven's How to Grill. It contains many good recipes, but more importantly, it describes the basic grilling techniques. It also provides step-by-step pictures of the techniques for clarity, and defines terms for you. Like, what exactly is a medium fire? (325 - 350 degrees grill temp.) Once you master these, you'll be ready to try any dish.
If you don't like the food, have more wine

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