BBQ Bucket List: Top 4 Techniques to Try in Summer 2021

Summer is the ideal time for exploring new BBQing techniques and mastering next-level grilling skills. Whether you just bought your first charcoal grill this May or have been a grill master for years, trying new techniques teaches you how to BBQ right.


Try out these BBQ tricks and tips to add a unique, yet impressive, spin on all your favorite meals. 

Top 4 Must-Try BBQ Techniques 

Anyone can throw food on the grill, flip it, and serve it up, but taking grilling to the next level and learning how to BBQ right makes for a real grill master.


Photo by Edson Saldaña on Unsplash


Start by trying some of our favorite BBQ techniques of Summer 2021:

  1. Curing Meats 

Curing is a broad term that describes preserving meat. It includes processes such as brining and salting. If you haven’t tried it yet, now is the time!


First, you need to start with the right type of salt; it shouldn’t have iodine or any other chemicals added. If you’re salting a large piece of meat, cut slits in it to the bone and pack the slits with salt. Then, place the meat on a tray of ½ inch of salt and finish by covering the meat with more salt.


Keep it in a cool, dry place (ideally under 40 degrees Fahrenheit) for 18 days. When the meat is firm, it’s ready to smoke. If it’s not, either cure it for longer, eat it immediately, or put it in the freezer. 


Brining is similar to salting except that, instead of a basic salt rub, you add water, wine or soy sauce, spices, and sugar. Fully submerge the meat in the mixture and let it soak overnight.


You can then smoke the meat with either of these methods. 


  1. Smoke Your Meat 

Curing isn’t required before smoking your meat, but it’s definitely recommended as it retains moisture and adds flavor, especially if you’re using meat with little fat content. 


You can also choose between hot or cold smoking. Hot smoking is quicker, but the meat won’t last as long as it will with cold smoking. 

Hot Smoking 

Heat and smoke work together to cook your meat when you hot smoke. Ideally, your smoker temperature should be at 160º F for at least 30 minutes. You can enjoy the meat immediately, but it will only last a few days. Fish lasts a little longer– about a week at room temperature. 

Cold Smoking 

Turn your smoker way down to around 85º to 100º for cold smoking. For added flavor, use those wood chips or whiskey barrel wood. It’s best to let the meat smoke from 12 to 24 hours. Cured meat is safest if you choose cold smoking

  1. Reverse Searing 

It’s common for grillers to sear steaks on high heat to achieve that crispy, flavorful crust, then finish cooking the steak on slow heat so the inside will cook. We’d like you to challenge that concept this summer! 


Instead of searing first, then cooking low and slow, start by cooking your food over indirect, low heat. Everything should be evenly cooked on the inside. Then and only then, place the meat on high, direct heat to get that crispy, flavorful crust on the outside. 


Your steaks have never been juicier or more tender than with this reverse sear technique. 

  1. How to BBQ With Alcohol 

You’ve already got a cold drink in your hand. Why not use it to enhance the flavor of your meal, too? Here are a few ways you can incorporate alcohol into your BBQ recipes. 


  • Add red wine to your homemade BBQ sauce

  • Soak your woodchips in beer

  • Make a beer can grilled chicken 

  • Steam seafood in white wine 

  • Braise ribs with beer 


Don’t be afraid to experiment with different wines, beers, and spirits. Read the taste notes on the bottles of wine and whiskey to achieve the best flavors. For example, look for spices, hints of fruit or vanilla, or the level of sweetness. The more variety you see in the flavor profile, the richer the overall taste of your meal will be. 

It’s All About Your Grill Gear

A grill master is only as good as their gear, so if you really are ready to take your cooks to the next level and learn how to BBQ right, make sure you have the right tools.

Choose the Right Grill

Start by switching over to a charcoal grill if you don’t have one already. The secret to excellent BBQ flavor is the smoke. Gas grills just can’t give you the same distinct smokiness that comes with grilling over charcoal or wood chips. 

Upgrade Your Fuel 

Adding fruit tree wood chips to your charcoal will give your food a one-of-a-kind flavor and less likely to have many impurities like other wood options. You can pick from apple, pear, peach, grape, or whatever fruit trees are available to you. 


Another fuel tip is to soak your wood chips in water for at least an hour (no longer than overnight) before using them. You can then wrap them in foil and place them on the grill for a more intense flavor.


If you really want to add unique flavor to your BBQ, try our Whiskey Barrel Wood for Smoking. These oak whiskey barrels were repurposed as beer barrels, so you’ll enjoy the combination of both flavors in your smoked meat. 

Experiment with Grill Accessories 

If your grill accessory dream list ends at “buy a grill,” it might be time to add to your arsenal. 


A great place to start is with our Kick Ash Divider. Using it in your charcoal grill allows you to cook directly on one side and indirectly on the other simultaneously. The Kick Ash Divider is the perfect accessory for any grill master who wants to serve up various foods. For example, you can cook steak on one side and slow-cook ribs on the other. 


Another trick is to use your Kick Ash Can to maintain a consistent, low temperature. Once you get the grill to your desired temperature, just flip the can 180 degrees so that the opening is away from the vent. This will low down airflow and give you perfect control over the temperature. 

Photo by iman zaker on Unsplash

What to Serve at a BBQ

Deciding what to serve at your BBQ doesn’t have to be complicated. Think ahead about what your guests like to eat and how many people you’ll be serving, and check out our grilling recipes if you need some cooking inspiration.


As you master these 4 new techniques, planning ahead for BBQs will become second nature. You’ll know just how much food you’ll need and how long it will take to prepare. 

Experimenting with New Grilling Techniques Safely

Use this summer to experiment with these new grilling techniques. Thinking outside the box and being adventurous with your grilling and how you use the equipment will lead to tastier food and a distinctive cooking style unlike any other. 


Above all else, remember to take the proper safety precautions and to keep your grill gear clean. The Kick Ash Basket and Kick Ash Can will help you do both so you can create meals and memories that last.