Want to impress your friends and family this summer with your fancy grilling skills? Here are a few tips from local experts on how to ignite the flavor without setting fire to the neighborhood.
Local grill master Eric Anthony won first place in the Kiwanis Club of Hilton Head Island's annual Rib Burnoff and Barbecue Fest five years in a row.
"There is nobody around here that can beat me," Anthony said. "I beat every restaurant on Hilton Head last year."
That winning streak is what pushed Anthony, a general contractor by trade, to bottle and sell his own barbecue sauce and seasoning rubs. His Barrier Island Barbecue products are sold online and at various locations around the Lowcountry.
Anthony said he can cook anything -- not just barbecue -- and does the majority of the cooking at home. Here are Anthony's tips for smoking the competition with some of the tastiest grub around: Wash all meat and vegetables before adding seasoning. Never put cold meat on a grill or smoker; it should be at room temperature to properly cook. Let the grill reach the desired temperature and sit for 10 to 15 minutes before putting anything on it. The slower you cook your food, the more tender it will be. All meats continue to cook after they are removed from the heat, so you can actually remove chicken or pork while they're still a little pink. Let the meat stand for five to 10 minutes. It will continue cooking and won't be overcooked and dry. Cook on indirect heat. Place meat on a cookie sheet on one end of the grill, and start the fire on the other end. When using a smoker, wait until there's a steady, almost blue smoke before throwing the meat on.
But before you try to perfect your grilling technique, be sure to play it safe. Bluffton Township Fire District public education officer Sandy Stroud stressed the importance of following safety guidelines while using a grill. He offered these tips for grilling safely:
Gas Grills Check your grill hose for cracks, holes and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing. Move gas hoses as far away from hot surfaces and grease as possible. Always keep propane gas containers upright. Never store a spare gas container under or near the grill, or indoors. Never keep a filled gas container in a hot car. Never store or use flammable liquids, such as gasoline, near the grill. A new safety standard requires new propane gas tanks have an "over-fill prevention device." People with older propane gas tanks should trade them in for newer ones.
Charcoal Grills Charcoal should never be used indoors. Do not store a grill indoors with freshly used coals.