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18 Fun BBQ Hacks to Try During Your Next Cookout

Want some of my favorite Grilling Tips and Techniques? Read on for 18 fun BBQ hacks to try out during your next cookout.

Even if you are an experienced griller with many a fire-kissed, mouthwatering meal under your belt, there’s always room to learn new grilling tips and techniques that can help make the experience go smoother.

Truth be told, grilling can sometimes take a lot of work. From shopping and prepping the food, to cleaning and preparing the grill. If you add the making of side dishes and entertaining to the mix, this can add up to be a long and dirty job.

It is definitely worth doing in my opinion, but anything that can help make the process a little more interesting and easier is worth learning.

Let’s get to our 18 Fun BBQ Hacks to Try during your next cookout, shall we?

Use an egg carton to light your coals

Use an Egg Carton to Light Coals

This is a fun and convenient BBQ hack that not only works for your BBQ grill but also is great for your campfire site or outdoor fire pit.

The next time you buy eggs, save the cardboard carton (never use the Styrofoam kind) and fill each empty egg space with a charcoal briquette. The closed cardboard carton is easy to light with a match or lighter. This will in turn light the charcoal.

The cardboard egg carton also makes it easy to load up ahead of time for storage or to transport to a tailgate party or campground.

Here are some more tried and true ways to light your charcoal grill that will make your grilling life easier. 

Use an Onion to Clean Your Barbecue

If you don’t have a grill brush handy, try cutting an onion in half and sticking it on a fork. While the grill is still hot, use the flat side to scrub the leftover food and ash off of the grate.

The oils from the onion will make it easier to clean without having to scrub too hard and will add some flavor to your next cookout too. Onions are one of nature’s natural disinfectants as an added benefit.

Use Aluminum Foil to clean your grill grates

Clean Your Grill With Aluminum Foil

Another makeshift way to clean your grill grate if you do not have a brush handy is to use aluminum foil.

Ball up a decent amount of aluminum foil, grab it with a pair of tongs, and run it up and down on the grate while it is still hot.

Use a potato to create a non-stick grilling surface

Use a Potato to Create a Non-stick Surface

You can avoid most leftover food particles from sticking to your grates by rubbing a potato on them before you cook.

Start by cutting a potato in half and sticking a fork in it. Preheat the grill. Rub the flat side of the potato over the grill grate. The starch from the potato will help keep your food from sticking.

Oil the Grill Grate

Another method to keep your food from sticking while grilling is by brushing nonflavored oil on the grate.

Soak a folded-up piece of sturdy paper towel in cooking oil, grab it with a pair of tongs and wipe down the grate completely. This will also help make the brushing of the grate easier at the end.

Use Aluminum Foil on Cold Days for Better Heat Retention

On those extra cold days, line the inside of a charcoal grill with heavy-duty tinfoil. This will help contain and reflect the heat. Make sure to make holes where the vents are to allow plenty of airflow.

Use This Easy Method to Check How Much Gas Your BBQ Tank Has Left

If your propane tank does not come with a gauge reader that tells you the amount of gas you have left, how can you check?

Start by boiling a pot of water and with your tank angled slightly to the side, pour the water over it. (Make sure you do not pour it over the top of the tank.) Run your hand down the side of the tank until you feel where it is still cool. This is where the propane level is. The empty side will be warm.

Long Handled BBQ Tongs For Gripping Your Food

Keep Two Types of Barbecue Tongs

If you are like most people who use your tongs for multiple tasks while grilling, this hack will prove useful.

Use one set that has an insulated heat-resistant handle for moving and spreading your coals. Use a second set for gripping, moving, and turning your food. Now your food won’t get ash dust on it, and you won’t be getting food grease on the coals.

Add a Smoker Pouch to an Electric or Gas Grill

Want to add a little smoke flavor to your next cookout but only have a gas grill?

Make a pouch out of aluminum foil and fill it with the wood chips of your choice. Poke some holes in the top of the pouch with a fork and place it under the grate and on top of the fire. Close the lid and be ready for some smoky flavored goodness.

Run Out of Firelighters? Try Tortilla Chips

Believe it or not, tortilla chips make excellent barbecue kindling. Try it out next time and be prepared to be surprised.

Use A Double Skewer To Keep Your Food From Rotating When Grilling

Use Double Skewers for Better Control

Everybody loves a shish kebab loaded with meat and veggies from the grill. But it can get frustrating trying to flip them over without the meat rotating with the skewer.

Using double skewers will help keep the food extra secure and prevent the food from rotating when flipping them on the grill.

Soak Wooden Skewers in Water Before Grilling

Soak Your Wooden Skewers

Ever have a craving for a shish kebab and only have wooded skewers on hand? Afraid the wooded skewers will burn and blacken on the grill?

Try soaking the wooden skewers in water for about 30 minutes before adding the food. This way the skewers won’t burn too badly.

Veggie Only Skewers Are Great Too

Use Skewers to Grill Vegetables

When most people think of shish kebab or grilled skewers, they think of lots of meat and a few veggies thrown in for color. Did you know that this is a great way to just grill veggies as well?

I started out by only occasionally grilling veggies on the BBQ alongside the meat just to make my girlfriend happy. I soon fell in love with the wonderful grilled flavor it added to them. Now, I am first in line for the veggie plate at our house.

Use Rosemary Sprigs to Make Kebab Sticks

Another fun method when grilling shish kebabs is by using rosemary sprigs as skewers in place of wooden or metal skewers.

Select the longer rosemary sprigs with the thickest stems. Remove the leaves from three-fourths of the sprig. Push the thick end through the veggies and meat. If you are having trouble, use a knife or metal skewer to poke a hole through the meat first.

The rosemary will flavor the food from the inside out and fill the air with a wonderful aroma.

Use Cinnamon Sticks to Make Fruit Kebabs

Cinnamon sticks make great skewers for a tasty fruit treat on the grill. Especially fruits like plums, peaches, and nectarines.

Start by quartering your fruit. Softly poke holes through the fruit with a wood or metal skewer, then slide the cinnamon stick through.

Throw a Handful of Aromatic Herbs on the Barbecue

Want to spice up your next outdoor BBQ? Try sprinkling your favorite herb over the hot coals.

Use herbs like basil, thyme, sage, or my favorite, rosemary. It will help give your food an herby, smokey flavor. The neighborhood will smell great too.

Spray Apple Juice as You BBQ

Is your barbecued meat coming out dry? Are you looking for ways to keep your meat moist throughout the cook?

Fill a spray bottle with 100% apple juice and occasionally spray the meat throughout the cook. This will not only help keep the meat moist, but it will also help with the flavor and color.

Grill Fish On A Bed Of Lemons To Keep It From Sticking

Grill Fish on a Bed of Lemons

I get so frustrated when I am grilling a beautiful piece of salmon but when I go to take it off, it leaves half of itself on the grill.

Place sliced lemons directly on the grill grate. Place your fish on top of the lemons for a perfect nonstick surface. Not only will you not leave any behind, but your fish will also have the wonderful lemony flavor added.

Wash Everything for Safety

Raw meat can harbor bacteria that may be harmful. Make sure to wash everything thoroughly after it has come in contact with uncooked meat. Be especially diligent when cooking with chicken or any type of ground meat.

Now It’s Your Turn

I want to hear from you:

Do You Have a Helpful Tip to Share? Any
advice I May Have Missed? Questions?!

Are you going to be purchasing a new grill in the future? Do you plan on looking at a Pellet Grill, Smoker, Built-In Gas Grill, or Charcoal Model?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment below.

If you still have questions, please feel free to send me a message.



Disclosure – At The Grilling Life, I am committed to researching and writing thoughtful, informative and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your outdoor cooking needs.  If you like what I do, you can support me through my chosen links, which earn me a commission.  This allows me to continue sharing with you my love for all things barbecue.  Your support is truly appreciated.

Patrick Ginise

A backyard warrior, certified carnivore, lover of good whiskey, grill master and I’m Living The Grilling Life!

I have a passion for cooking with live fire and smoke, no matter the weather. I’m a real person just like you, who loves outdoor cooking and BBQ. Food, fun, and time spent with family and friends are what it’s all about! It is my mission to take my passion and knowledge for outdoor cooking and all things BBQ and share this expertise in techniques and grilling equipment with you. In other words, Living The Grilling Life!

I have personally tested over 150+ Grills and Smokers and hundreds of grilling thermometers, temperature controllers, grill brushes, grilling tools, fire starters, and other BBQ products.