Forget boring New Year’s objectives like “lose weight.” Instead, commit yourself to goals that are not only achievable, but that tie into your interests and deliver immediate rewards. For the people who consider grilling and smoking an avocation (and not just a hobby), I’ve developed a list of resolutions that will ensure you’ll be a better pit master when the end of the 2024 rolls around. Can you add to my list? My team and I would love to hear from you.
10 New Year’s Resolutions
1. Upgrade your grill. Yeah, I know money is tight for most people, but a good grill is one of the best investments you’ll ever make. Buy more grill than you’ll need. You’ll grow into it. Buy a grill with a good warranty—you’ll be using it daily (or at least weekly) for many years to come. Here’s a guide to what to look for when buying a grill.
2. Become a multiple grill owner. I know, many of you are. If not, at very least, you should own a grill and a smoker. Here’s a guide to the various smokers and which one will best suit you.
3. Grill something you’ve never cooked before. Maybe it’s oysters. Or lamb. Or a beef tomahawk. Or a pineapple. Or dessert. You’ll never grow your grill skills unless you leave your comfort zone. But don’t worry—we’ve got you covered on all of these dishes and more.
4. Master reverse-searing. Remember that 3-inch thick porterhouse you ogled at the butcher shop? Or the prime rib you drooled over in Nancy’s Back to Basics blog last week? Reverse-searing is the secret to cooking it perfectly. In a nutshell, you cook the meat almost through (to 110 degrees F) at a low temperature (250 degrees F). Then you sear it over a hot fire right at the end. Extra points for blasting the meat with wood smoke.
5. Speaking of wood smoke, resolve to try grilling over wood. Maybe you already own a wood burner, like a KUDO or Kalamazoo Gaucho. But even if you don’t, you can grill over wood in a commonplace kettle grill. Simply fill your charcoal chimney starter with wood chunks and light them as you normally do. Dump the blazing embers into the firebox, spread them out, and you’re ready to grill over wood. The beauty of grilling over wood: you get both heat and flavor. Note: Never cover a wood-burning grill for indirect grilling. Your food will become unbearably sooty.
6. Barbecue a full packer brisket. This magisterial hunk of meat is the Mount Everest of barbecue. Make this the year you conquer it. To help you, pick up a copy of my book, The Brisket Chronicles.
7. Cook the whole meal on the grill. From appetizer, to salad, to main course, vegetable side dish, and dessert. And don’t forget the cocktails! Here’s a simple menu to get your started.
8. Grill something preposterous. Like octopus. Or sunflowers. (I actually did that on Project Fire.) Or ice cream. Remember: one of the most important things in great grilling is showmanship. Besides, there’s no such thing as a mistake in the kitchen: just a new recipe waiting to be discovered!
9. Turn a friend on to grilling. Buy a man a steak and he eats for a day. Teach a man to grill and he eats well for the rest of his life. The best way to do that? Sign him up for our Up in Smoke Newsletter.
10. Give back: Consider making a contribution to Operation BBQ Rescue or World Kitchen. When disaster strikes, they’re there to feed people. Most of us are incredibly lucky never to know food insecurity. Let’s help these excellent organizations feed people less fortunate than we are.
Happy New Year, everyone! May 2024 bring us hot fires, blue smoke, great flavors, new friends, and most of all, health and happiness!
Sign up for our Up in Smoke newsletter so you don’t miss any blogs and receive some special offers! PLUS get Raichlen’s Burgers! PDF for free!