Are You a BBQ and Grill Master?

By: Doug Criss

Are You a BBQ and Grill Master?
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

From smoking to grilling to barbecue, it takes experience and talent to become a true BBQ master. How much do you know about the tools and tips that make for delicious fire-fueled foods?
What should you always do before you light your gas grill?
Kick the propane canister
Smother yourself in BBQ sauce
Open the lid
Always, always open the top of the gas grill before lighting it. Otherwise, propane gas tends to collect, creating a potential explosion hazard.

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When you're grilling foods, it's possible that the cooking process can create _______ chemicals.
Lettuce-like
Carcinogenic
Scientific studies show that some grilled foods produce carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals. Some ingredients, like olive oil or even cherries, have been shown to reduce the amounts of these harmful chemicals.
Steak-flavored

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How should you oil your grill's grates before you start cooking?
With a sprayer attached to a garden hose
With an oil-soaked paper towel and tongs
Oiling your grate before you grill will help prevent food from sticking to the cooking surface. Fold over a paper towel into a small square, soak it in the oil of your choice (like olive oil, not Quaker State) and lube up that grate.
With pure crude oil

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With regard to grilling, what's the purpose of a "chimney"?
To make s'mores
To help you start the charcoal
The chimney is a cylindrical piece of metal used to stack and then light charcoal. It's one of the easiest ways to ignite charcoal and it doesn't require stinky lighter fluid.
To help Santa Claus access the steak

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"Planking" involves grilling food directly on ______.
A chunk of granite
A piece of wood
Planking means that you're placing meat on a piece of wood, which transfers some its flavor to the food. The wood must be soaked in water prior to the cooking process so that, you know, it doesn't catch fire.
A pizza crust

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What sort of fuel source do pellet grills use?
Kittens
Compressed sawdust
Pellet grills are enormously popular because they blend some traits of a smoker with the conveniences of an electric grill. They require compressed sawdust pellets to create heat and smoke.
Glue

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How should you check your meats to make sure they're thoroughly cooked?
Prod them with your finger
Use a meat thermometer
If you've never read any of the horror stories about health problems that can develop from eating undercooked meats ... well, don't start now. Trust us, use a meat thermometer so that you know the meat is thoroughly cooked.
Lick them

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Which style of cooking produces a noticeable amount of smoke, and thus, smoky flavor?
Grilling
BBQ
BBQ, which is typically done with low, indirect heat, often utilizes chunks of hardwood. As the wood slowly burns, it produces a smoke that lends foods a smoky (and hopefully delicious) flavor.
Baking

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How can you create BBQ-like smokiness on a charcoal grill?
Put meats directly on the charcoal
Throw chunks of hardwood on the charcoal
Charcoal grills have a wonderful trait -- if you put chunks of a nice hardwood, like hickory or mesquite, right on the coals, it will produce a nice smoke that adds a smoky profile to all of your foods.
Put meats under the charcoal and wait two days

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If you want your charcoal grill to burn hotter, what should you do?
Open the vents
It seems a bit counterintuitive, but opening the vents on your charcoal grill will help it burn hotter. Why? Oxygen, of course, helps fires burn.
Close the vents
Add gasoline

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You can gauge a grill's heat by holding your hand over it. If you want a very hot grill, you should only be able to hold your hand over the grill for about _____.
1 millisecond
3 seconds
If you can hold your hand about 5 inches above the cooking surface for roughly three seconds, you have a very hot grilling surface that's probably 450 degrees or hotter. That's perfect for searing meats (or if you're so inclined, your hand).
10 seconds

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Which of the following woods is best for smoking meats?
Pine
Cedar
Hickory
Hickory is a hardwood, and it produces good-tasting smoke. Softwoods like pine have a resinous fiber and a totally revolting sooty flavor.

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Which grill style is better for trapping smoke that adds delicious flavor to foods?
Charcoal
Charcoal grills are renowned for generating good amounts of smoke that make grilled foods taste even more delicious. Propane grills, on the other hand, don't generate much smoke at all.
Propane
Solar-powered

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Smoking is a type of _____ cooking.
Norwegian
Direct heat
Indirect heat
Unlike grilling, which uses direct heat, smoking is indirect. In smoking, the food is cooked next to (but not directly over) the heat source.

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As a cooking technique, what is the difference between barbecue and grilling?
Grilling uses aluminum foil, barbeque does not
Barbecue is slow with low heat, grilling is fast with high heat
Barbecue (also known as BBQ) is a low heat, slow method of cooking foods. Grilling, on the other hand, is a higher speed type of cooking.
There is no difference

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What's one of the biggest benefits of a propane grill versus a charcoal grill?
Speed
Propane grills are fast. Turn them on, wait a few minutes and they're ready to go. Charcoal, however, must burn for about 30 minutes before you can begin cooking over it.
Flavor
Nuclear power

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If you're grilling and the flames flare up, what should you do?
Squirt water all over it
Add a fine mist of kerosene
Close the grill cover
Flare ups are usually small and caused by dripping grese. Often, they'll burn off after a minute or so, but if not, close the grill cover to suffocate the flames (and avoid setting your property on fire).

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For smoking meat, what advantage do wood chunks have over wood chips?
Chunks are cheaper
Chunks burn longer
Wood chips are more common at local stores. But they burn fast. Bagged chunks, however, are typically about the size of your fist and they burn much longer and make more smoke.
Chunks create better-tasting smoke

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Why should you always cover your grill once it's cool?
To keep birds out
To season it
To protect against rust
Rust is the No. 1 killer of both gas and charcoal grills. If you keep your grill outdoors and you don't cover it, you're dooming your grill to a short, rust-riddled life.

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Which wood tends to create the most smoke for very strong smoke flavor?
Mesquite
Mesquite is a very heavy wood that creates a lot of flavorful smoke. It's so potent that some experienced chefs will only use it for equally flavorful meats (like brisket) for fear of overpowering the food.
Apple
Cedar

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On which type of grill is it easier to maintain a consistent temperature?
Propane
Propane gas grills are wonderfully easy to use. Set the temperature and they'll cook at a consistent heat. Charcoal, though, requires constant attention as you stoke the fire or suffocate it a bit in an effort to keep the heat levels just right.
Charcoal
They are exactly the same

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True of false, is grilling is a form of "low and slow" cooking?
true
false
Grilling is a high-heat form of cooking. It typically uses direct heat to quickly cook everything from veggies to thick steaks.

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Why should you avoid charcoal that lights with only a match?
It attracts small children
It's an explosion hazard
It makes foods taste bad
So-called match-light charcoal is a hazard -- to your tastebuds, that is. This kind of charcoal is loaded with lighter fluid type chemicals that make a lot of foods taste very bad.

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What should you do immediately after removing a steak from a hot grill?
Put it into a blender
Let it rest
See that nice, juicy, perfectly-cooked steak? Don't cut into it immediately unless you want those juices to wind up on your plate. Let the meat rest for a few minutes before you chomp. Your mouth will thank you.
Shove it down your throat

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True or false, it's possible to get a nice wood-smoke flavor on a propane gas grill.
true
It takes a bit of work, but you can achieve a smoky flavor using a gas grill. Throw some wood chips (such as hickory or mesquite) into a foil packet. As the packet heats up, it will create smoke that flavors your meats.
false

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What's one big benefit that charcoal grills have over propane grills?
They are faster
They are cheaper
Charcoal grills are almost always more affordable than gas grills, which (if you buy a good one) cost more than $500. You can pick up a dinky little charcoal grill for less than $20.
They are always better

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Which grill is generally capable of creating the highest temperatures?
Propane
Charcoal
Propane is a wonderful energy source, but these grills typically top out at around 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Charcoal grills can get twice as hot and blaze past 1,200 degrees. Yee haw, seared ribeyes!
Manure-powered grills

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Why are gas grills notoriously ineffective for smoking foods, even if they're equipped with smoking boxes?
The smoke is tasteless
The smoke escapes too easily
Even if you have a dedicated smoker box on your gas grill, that grill is equipped with some substantial ventilation slits. The smoke tends to escape too quickly, before it flavors the meat.
The smoke tastes like propane

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True or false: Cooking with charcoal always lends a distinctive smoky flavor to foods, especially compared to gas grills?
true
false
In some circles, it's practically heresy to say it, but charcoal doesn't always equal smokier food than gas. Both grills achieve a bit of smokiness, not from their fuel source, but rather from the greases dripping down onto the flames.

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Should you clean your grill's grates after every time you cook?
Yes
No
Pick off the big pieces of food left behind. But if you leave the charred stuff, it will actually protect against rust. Then next time you fire up the grill, wait until it gets hot and then brush off the bits of gunk.

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