Are You Ready To Get Your Grill On?

It’s summer.  It’s that time of year when you begin to see and smell the aromas of delicious grill fests everywhere.  It’s easy to get FOMO if you don’t have a grill or if you aren’t sure where to begin if you do.  This article is here to the rescue.  We will help you get started by outlining the ins and outs of grilling.  We will discuss everything from how to determine what the right grill is for you to the essential accessories needed to get started.  We will share insights on how to operate and maintain your grill properly, as well as some tips on grilling the perfect steak.

But first, let’s talk about why we love grilling, especially here in the US.  Did you know when you cook on the grill, you are eating healthier?  Grilling will produce meat with less fat than frying or baking because the fat drips off as it cooks.  This could be a starting point for a new, more health-conscious diet.  The really nice thing about grilling is juices remain trapped and cooked into the meat.  The meat is, therefore, more flavorful, resulting in less of a need for as many condiments and sauces.  This also benefits any vegetables you decide to grill.  The smoky flavor of the meat will infuse with the veggies for a mouthwatering result.  There is no reason why dinner can’t be healthy AND delicious.

Grills are very convenient and we offer a variety of grills at our Hardware Stores.  There is a grill out there for almost anyone in any living situation.  Whether you have a giant deck with all the space, or a modest patio or balcony, there is a grill that will suit you perfectly.  Grilling outside will not only make you popular with your friends, but it will also save you energy costs and will keep your kitchen clean.  For those with balconies, did you know there are small, portable grills that are simple to use and safe? Some you can even use indoors which is handy for any time of year, especially winter.  Small propane grills are nice for balconies because they are safe and very easy to use.  With the plethora of options out there, we recommend stopping into your local Ace Hardware to discuss your best options.

Grilling with Charcoal

Charcoal grills are available in a vast amount of shapes and sizes and can be purchased at nearly any price point.  It is important to note they take a little more time to clean and maintain than gas grills, but the benefits are worth it in our opinion.  Know also that it may take a little bit of practice before you perfect the art of lighting a charcoal grill.  We recommend using a chimney cylinder as the easiest way to get the grill going.  These are metal cylinders with a blunt handle.  You fill them with some newspaper and charcoal.  The bottom of the cylinder has holes in it, so you can light the paper with an extended reach lighter.  Once a flame gets going, you carefully pour out the cylinder onto the rest of the charcoal. Simple enough.

If you do not have a chimney starter, you can always use lighter fluid.  As you know, lighter fluid takes some finessing to keep safe.  We recommend creating a small pile of charcoal at the bottom of your grill (about the size of a paper plate) and dousing it with a squirt of lighter fluid.  Toss in a match so a flame is ignited.  Once lit, use your grilling tongs or spatula to spread the flame while adding a little bit of charcoal at a time until you have your desired amount.

Depending on what you are cooking, you will want to decide what type of charcoal to use.  Briquettes are a popular type of charcoal that come pre-soaked in fluid for easy lighting.  They burn slow and even and will last a long time for slow grilling. For steaks, hamburgers, and other quick grilling situations, you will want to select lump charcoal.  Lump charcoal also lights easily but burns very hot and fast giving you that charbroiled flavor you crave in a good burger.  With the savory and smoky flavor provided by a charcoal grill, we recommend using them for grilling bone-in meats, whole fish, and lean burgers.

Grilling with Gas

Gas grilling is the most popular form of grilling in the US.  It is also the easiest type to operate and simple to keep clean.   They are operated by propane and can be turned on simply by a knob.  Propane can be purchased and refilled at your local Ace Hardware store.  Many gas stations have propane re-fill options as well.  Even though grilling is considered easier with gas grills, you give up the advantage of having the natural smoky flavor provided by charcoal.  But, if you want a smooth and easy mealtime, a gas grill is the best choice for you.  Like charcoal grills, they come in many sizes and shapes and carry price tags from around $150 all the way to the thousands.

Almost anything can be cooked on a gas grill.  Grilled vegetables, chicken, kabobs, and even pizza are fantastic choices for your gas grill meal-time adventures.

Grill Heat

When grilling, the most important factor to be aware of and maintain is the temperature.  When cooking on a charcoal grill, there are two types of heat.  One is direct heat, and the other is indirect heat.  Cooking the meat on top of the coals would be considered direct heat and is the hottest temperature on the grill.  This form of heating is best used for grilling kabobs, steaks, hamburgers, or seafood.  Indirect heat is found to the side of the coals, on the cooler side of the grill.  We consider indirect heating on the grill best for slow simmers, or for when meat is getting too hot directly over the coals.  Determining the best placement on your grill takes some practice, trial, and error. We can tell you from experience that the better you get at grilling, the more fun it becomes! Don’t be discouraged by the occasional overcooked steak, it’s all part of the learning process.  For tips and tricks, you can always stop in and see one of our experts at Ace.  We will be happy to pass along all our favorite grilling tricks.

Accessories for Grilling

There are a few essential tools required before you can grill your first steak.  You will need to invest in a good set of grilling tongs or a spatula to pick up and lay down food on the hot grill.  There are even big forks for grilling available at your local Ace.  Before you grill, make sure you have a table conveniently located close by.  Many grills come with a table built-in, but if yours doesn’t, get a small side table to lay down pans and tools for easy reach.  Timing is everything when it comes to grilling and having your tools close is helpful.

To ensure everything coming from your grill is cooked to perfection, you should consider getting an instant-read thermometer.  A quick Google search will tell you the proper temperature for anything you decide to grill.  When finished grilling it’s important to clean your grill while the grate is still hot/warm.  This will ensure easy removal with a wire brush.  Note: if you let your grill cool while it is still dirty, the remnants of your cooking will be much more difficult to remove later.  Trust us! Wire grill cleaning brushes can be found at any of our 5 Ace Hardware stores.

Ace has everything you need to make you the BBQ king of your neighborhood. From air fryers to the perfect outdoor lighting to transition into the evening time we have your back. Our friendly staff is here to help with questions anytime. Visit your local Colorado Springs Ace today!

Summer is just getting going and it’s not too late to make dinner delicious for your entire family this year with a new charcoal or gas grill from your friends at Ace. We hope this article helps you feel confident in beginning your grilling journey.  For more information, stop by any of our 5 Ace locations and talk to an expert or visit us online at

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