These smart party tricks will heat up your next barbecue in no time

By PEOPLE Great Ideas
August 18, 2014

These smart party tricks will heat up your next barbecue in no time!

Hide ice cubes in burgers

At a cookout, a dried-out burger is as unwelcome as a swarm of mosquitoes, so some barbecue gurus like to add a single ice cube inside the patty before cooking. To ensure the ice doesn't melt and soak the meat, assemble the patties right before you put them on the grill. As the burger cooks, the ice cube will dissolve, leaving the inside of the patty moist and the outside crispy.

Throw herbs over hot coals


The Oregonian has a list of herbs that can be placed directly over hot charcoal to infuse your food with a subtle flavor. We like rosemary: Its thick, woody stems means that it will burn longer than more delicate options. It's also considered a natural mosquito repellent and will make your yard smell incredible.

Use an egg carton to light coals

Karen Way

Karen Way of blog Sew Many Ways wrote about this handy trick to start a fire quickly. She simply takes a cardboard egg carton and places one Match Light briquette in each slot. This technique puts the kindling and coals into close proximity – just be sure your carton is made from cardboard, not styrofoam. "Make up several cartons and keep them on hand to take with you camping," she writes, or just to keep in a safe place for those last-minute backyard marshmallow roasts.

Clean the grill with an onion

Josh Denne

Of course you can clean your grill with a special brush or, in a pinch, tongs and a balled-up piece of aluminium foil. But we love blogger Kim Denne's method of scrubbing her grill with half an onion, which she does before making grilled caprese pizza. Not only do the veggie's ridges help loosen stuck-on grime, it helps give a mellow onion flavor to whatever you're cooking next.

Write orders on buns with ketchup

Victoria Hudgins

If you're planning to cook your guests' burgers to order, this ingenious trick from Victoria Hudgins will make your life easier: Simply write the order in ketchup on one side of a bun so the cook knows where to put which burger. Keep the writing facing up when you hand out the plates so folks will be guaranteed to get the right patties.

Get 6 more genius grilling hacks at PEOPLE Great Ideas >>


This article originally appeared on PEOPLE Great Ideas.