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13 Underrated Grilling Hacks You'll Wish You Knew About Sooner

Step your grilling game up.

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Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

In the summer, food cooked outside on the grill tastes better than food cooked indoors in the kitchen. It's a known fact!

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Amirite? And there are a few clever grilling tricks you can use to make the food taste even better. So here are 13 smart hacks that'll upgrade your grilling game.

1. If you don't have a brush, just clean your grill with an aluminum foil ball.

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If your grill is looking a bit crusty and you don't want to invest in an expensive brush, a ball of aluminum foil can do just the trick. All you have to do is crumple up a sheet of aluminum foil into a tight ball and scrape it against the grates. The ball will act like steel wool and help detach the burnt on debris.

More: How to clean a grill with aluminum foil.

2. Cook fish on top of citrus slices to prevent them from sticking...

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If you've ever tried to grill a piece of fish before, then you'll know just how difficult it is to flip them without tearing. Oiling the grates helps, but it doesn't always fix the problem. One way around it is to grill your fish directly on a bed of lemon slices. It'll infuse it with a subtle citrusy flavor and prevent it from sticking — a win-win.

More: How to grill fish on a bed of lemon slices.

3. Or place a cast-iron skillet directly on the grill and cook in it.

Cast-iron skillets are sturdy and can withstand a ton of heat, so why not use them directly on the grill? It'll still give you that great smoky flavor but you won't have to worry about anything sticking or falling through the grates. (Bonus points if you cook a sweet cobbler on the grill.)More: Five helpful tips for cooking with a cast-iron skillet on the grill.
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Cast-iron skillets are sturdy and can withstand a ton of heat, so why not use them directly on the grill? It'll still give you that great smoky flavor but you won't have to worry about anything sticking or falling through the grates. (Bonus points if you cook a sweet cobbler on the grill.)

More: Five helpful tips for cooking with a cast-iron skillet on the grill.

4. Put ice cubes in your burger patties to prevent them from drying out.

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The next time you make burger patties try placing a single small ice cube in the center. It'll keep the burger moist and prevent it from drying out. Don't believe me? MasterChef judge Graham Elliot swears by the trick.

More: How to keep your burgers moist with ice cubes.

5. Check your propane levels by using the hot water test.

To check how much propane is left in your tank, simply pour some boiling water over the tank and press your hand against it. Wherever your tank changes from feeling hot to cold is where your propane level is! (Empty = cool.)More: How to check your propane level with hot water.
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To check how much propane is left in your tank, simply pour some boiling water over the tank and press your hand against it. Wherever your tank changes from feeling hot to cold is where your propane level is! (Empty = cool.)

More: How to check your propane level with hot water.

6. Make a quick DIY smoker packet out of tin foil.

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A quick way to infuse your foods with a subtle smoky flavor is to make a DIY smoke pouch. Just purchase some smoking chips (such as oak or hickory) and wrap them in a tiny pouch made out of folded aluminum foil. Poke a few holes in the top and throw it on the grill. It'll slowly start to release smoke and flavor to whatever you're grilling.

More: How to make a quick smoke pouch out of tin foil.

7. Wrap bricks in foil to flatten things like chicken — it'll help things cook evenly.

Certain foods (such as poultry or large cuts of pork) can be difficult to grill because of their uneven shape. To help them cook more evenly, weigh them down with a brick wrapped in aluminum foil. It's the perfect weight to press them down without smashing them.More: Get a recipe for chicken grilled under a brick.
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Certain foods (such as poultry or large cuts of pork) can be difficult to grill because of their uneven shape. To help them cook more evenly, weigh them down with a brick wrapped in aluminum foil. It's the perfect weight to press them down without smashing them.

More: Get a recipe for chicken grilled under a brick.

8. Take beer can chicken to a whole new level by swapping out the beer for canned wine or rosé.

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Everyone has heard of beer can chicken, but why not explore other canned beverages to infuse flavor into your bird? Canned wine (such as rosé) or even soda can give your chicken a pop of unexpected flavor and become quite the conversation starter.

More: Get a recipe for rosé can chicken.

9. Create heat zones and use them to your advantage...

Master grillers will tell you that the key to perfect grilling is to know how to use hot spots. For most things, starting them on the hottest side of your grill will give them a nice dark crust, and finishing them on the cooler side will assure they're completely cooked. This will prevent your items from burning on the outside and will make sure you don't end up with raw centers.More: How to set up your grill for indirect grilling.
Castka / Getty Images

Master grillers will tell you that the key to perfect grilling is to know how to use hot spots. For most things, starting them on the hottest side of your grill will give them a nice dark crust, and finishing them on the cooler side will assure they're completely cooked. This will prevent your items from burning on the outside and will make sure you don't end up with raw centers.

More: How to set up your grill for indirect grilling.

10. And use sliced white bread to figure out where those hot spots are located.

Every grill has sections that are naturally hotter, but it's not always obvious where those spots are. One way to get a better understanding of your grill is to cover the surface with slices of white bread. After a few seconds, some slices will be pale (the cold spots) while others are charred (the hot spots). Knowing where these spots are can help you become a better griller. More: Get step-by-step directions for testing your grill's hot spots with white bread and get a recipe for panzanella salad to use up that toasted bread.
Instagram: @sonyagrop

Every grill has sections that are naturally hotter, but it's not always obvious where those spots are. One way to get a better understanding of your grill is to cover the surface with slices of white bread. After a few seconds, some slices will be pale (the cold spots) while others are charred (the hot spots). Knowing where these spots are can help you become a better griller.

More: Get step-by-step directions for testing your grill's hot spots with white bread and get a recipe for panzanella salad to use up that toasted bread.

11. Place a salt block directly on your grill and cook on it.

Just like cast-iron skillets, salt blocks can also be used on the grill and are able to withstand high temperatures. Not only does it provide an even cooking surface, but it also seasons whatever you're grilling with a unique, salty flavor.More: How to grill on a Himalayan salt block.
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Just like cast-iron skillets, salt blocks can also be used on the grill and are able to withstand high temperatures. Not only does it provide an even cooking surface, but it also seasons whatever you're grilling with a unique, salty flavor.

More: How to grill on a Himalayan salt block.

12. Use empty tuna cans to prop up larger cuts of meat to prevent them from burning on the outside.

Large steaks are not always ideal for grilling. They usually burn on the outside before the center has time to fully cook. One way around this is to utilize empty (and cleaned) tuna cans. As soon as you get a nice charred crust on your steak, prop it up on two tuna cans so it continues to cook on the inside without coming in contact with the grates. It'll make sure the inside has enough time to cook without burning the outside.More: How to grill large steaks using tuna cans.
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Large steaks are not always ideal for grilling. They usually burn on the outside before the center has time to fully cook. One way around this is to utilize empty (and cleaned) tuna cans. As soon as you get a nice charred crust on your steak, prop it up on two tuna cans so it continues to cook on the inside without coming in contact with the grates. It'll make sure the inside has enough time to cook without burning the outside.

More: How to grill large steaks using tuna cans.

13. Cook pizza directly on the grill for a crispy crust and smoky flavor.

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The most important pizza ingredient is heat — and if you have a grill — gas or charcoal — it can probably get a lot hotter than your oven. Heat helps crisp up the crust and prevent it from getting soggy, so go ahead and cook your pizza directly on the grill this summer — you won't regret it.

More: Learn how to make grilled pizza.

Let's get grilling!

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