10 Simple Grilling Hacks To Step Up Your Grilling Game

Whether it's a makeshift grate cleaner, a cost effective vegetable grilling basket, or a flavorful replacement for traditional skewers, grill master Clint Cantwell of Grillocracy.com, a site dedicated to extraordinary barbecue and grilling recipes and tips, counts down his favorite grilling hacks to help step up your grilling game.

10. Use part of the charcoal bag and Canola cooking spray to light a chimney starter.

For a no fuss, no mess way to start your Kingsford briquettes, simply tear off a strip from the top of the charcoal bag, spray with oil, and then place it under the chimney starter and light.

9. Use tinfoil and tongs to clean your grill grates.

Don't have a grate-cleaner handy? Simply ball of a sheet of tinfoil, grasp it with a set of tongs, and start scrubbing away!

8. Use a folded paper towel and tongs to oil your grill grates.

Well-oiled grates are essential to avoiding stuck food. Fill a small bowl with cooking oil, grasp two to three sheets of paper towel that have been balled up with tongs, dip in the oil, and wipe the grates.

7. Create a quick smoker box with foil.

There's no need to invest in a smoker box when you have tinfoil. Wrap a handful of smoking wood chips in a layer of foil (there is no need to soak them as they will burn slowly in the foil), poke four to six holes in the top of the packet, then set it on top of the preheated charcoal or on top of the gas grill's burners directly below the cooking grate and allow it to slowly smoke as you grill.

6. Make an inexpensive grilling basket or jalapeño rack with a disposable aluminum pan.

Unless you cook a lot of jalapeño poppers, a jalapeño rack is an unnecessary investment. Simply turn a disposable aluminum pan over and use a sharp knife to make a series of one-by-one-inch Xs in the bottom of the pan. Push the bottom 1/3 of the peppers through each X so that they stand upright, then place on the grill to cook. For a makeshift vegetable grilling basket, simply poke a series of small holes in the bottom of another aluminum pan, then fill with vegetables and grill away!

5. Turn lemongrass stalks, strips of sugarcane, or rosemary stems and leaves into flavorful skewers.

If you want to make kebabs, but don't have skewers on hand (or simply want to add some additional flavor to the meat and vegetables), use rosemary, lemongrass or sugarcane to hold everything together. 

4. Add flavor to fish and keep it from sticking by grilling it on citrus slices.

Fish can be tricky to cook on the grill, especially if it isn't a firm fish like tuna or swordfish. Avoid sticking while also delivering some great flavor by placing a single layer of sliced oranges, lemons, and/or limes on the grill grate, then cook the fish directly on the citrus.

3. Create your own "signature" barbecue sauce using store-bought sauce as a base.

Making your own barbecue sauce is time consuming, and you can end up spending a lot of money on ingredients. Instead, create a signature sauce by using a bottle of mass market sauce like KC Masterpiece Original, and adding ingredients such as fruit juice, fruit jellies, or jams. Smoked paprika,chipotle, coffee, and liquid butter (for richness) also make flavorful additions. Just heat the sauce and allow it to reduce to the consistency you like, then chill until ready to serve.

2. Create a flavorful basting brush with fresh herbs.

Planning on basting your meat with butter or sauce, but don't have a brush? Simply take a few sprigs of fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme, etc.) and tie them with butcher's twine to the handle end of a large wooden or metal spoon to create a flavorful mop.

1. Turn a cooler into a warmer for keeping large cuts of meat hot while waiting for your guests to arrive.

You've spent all night cooking a brisket or pork butt to perfection, but your guests won't arrive for a few more hours. Convert an unused cooler into a warmer by placing a layer of towels on the bottom of the cooler. Next, wrap your meat in a double layer of foil and set it on the towels. Then, add a top layer of towels before closing the cooler. If undisturbed, the meat should stay nice and warm for up to five hours (though to play it safe, insert the probe from a remote thermometer in each meat before closing the lid and watch to make sure the internal temperature doesn't dip below 140 degrees F).