For the most primal, basic cooking method, live-fire grilling is pretty easy to screw up for cooks of any skill level. Fortunately, the mistakes are equally easy to avoid. Here’s a roundup of the most common grilling pitfalls, and quick fixes to help you steer clear.
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1. You don’t clean the grill rack properly.
You wouldn’t consider cooking on a dirty stovetop, so why is a carbon-coated grill rack okay? After every use, food we cook on the grill rack leaves behind charred particles that will affect the taste of food that cooks on it and cause it to stick. The grill brush used to be the answer, but errant wire bristles have ruined cookouts from coast to coast in recent years. One good solution: Use some scrunched up foil: Grip the foil ball with tongs and scrape it over the rack while it preheats over the coals (carbon buildup releases much easier over heat).
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2. You don’t oil the grill rack.
A dry grill rack, just like a dry sauté pan, will make your food stick. The fix: Give the rack a good rubdown with a paper towel dabbed with canola or avocado oil, two neutral oils that can handle higher heat. A super-thin coating will be effective as long as it’s even.
3. You use quick-light briquettes and/or lighter fluid.
Statistically speaking, you’re probably doing this. (If you’re even using a charcoal grill, which you’re probably not.) Briquettes contain additives and lighter fluid, residues you don’t want clinging to your food. And of course lighter fluid contains lots of lighter fluid. The better way: Go for natural lump charcoal. Used to be only hardcore barbecuers would use clean-burning lump charcoal, but you can find it in any supermarket now. Then fill the bottom of a chimney starter with some crumpled newspaper, fill the top with lump charcoal and light the newspaper—within about 20 minutes, you’re good to go.
4. You don’t let the grill rack heat enough before adding food.
You know how your chicken breast will stick to a steel pan that’s not fully preheated? Same principle here. Even a well-oiled grate will cause food to cling if the metal is too cool. This one’s totally hands-off: Give the grate a few minutes over hot flames before you start cooking.
5. You cook over too much flame.
Those TV commercials that show juicy steaks being tickled by tall flames on a grill? That’s bad. Yes, it looks cool, but the flames are called flare-ups in this context, and leave nasty-tasting carbon residue on the food. Even worse, the inside stays raw even as the outside is overcooked. First steps: Don’t mound your coals too high, and don’t start grilling until the coals have ashed over. If your food has come out of an oil-based marinade, or has layers of animal fat on it like with meat and poultry, the food fat will drip onto the coals and cause the flames to leap up occasionally. A tall flame here and there isn’t cause for alarm, but your food should never be engulfed. One quick fix is to keep a spray bottle of water handy, set to stream mode. Give errant flames a quick spritz to tame them instantly.
6. Your fire isn’t hot enough.
You didn’t light enough coals. Or maybe you did, but let them burn too long before you started grilling, and now you’re Parker Posey fanning a sad, pale chicken wing that will never, ever finish cooking. You need: a second chimney starter. The moment you recognize you don’t have enough firepower, start up a second chimney of coals and soon enough you’re cooking. A backup chimney is also a must for longer grilling sessions, like barbecuing pork shoulders and rib racks, or all-day cookouts.
7. You don’t build an indirect fire.
Solving this one effectively fixes problems 5 and 6 as well. Indirect fire creates multiple temperature zones on your grill, so stuff that needs a high-heat sear can go over super-hot flames, and things that take a while can go over the cooler part to roast with the lid on. Much of what you grill can actually benefit from a little of each. Two ways to set up an indirect fire: Pile coals evenly over one half of the grill, leaving the other half empty; or divide the coals on opposite sides of the grill, leaving an empty strip along the center.
8. You overload the grill with food.
Just like crowding a pan on the stovetop, no good can come from this. The food won’t cook properly, it’s harder to turn, and you’re likely to get stressed out trying to keep track of it all. Work in batches, but strategically: If you have items like chopped vegetables that need high heat for a shorter amount of time, start with those. When they’re done, clear the grill and fire up your longer-cooking protein. The opposite can work well, too—cook the protein and pull it to rest, then set veggies over the cooler part of the grill, cover it, and let them slow-roast for a while without worrying that they’re going to burn.
9. You add sweet sauces and glazes too early.
When sugar cooks over an open flame, it caramelizes, then burns. Fast. Any sugary flavorings—barbecue sauces, jammy glazes, teriyaki-type marinades—these things need to be brushed onto food just for the last few minutes of cooking. The flavor won’t penetrate the food any more by adding it sooner.
10. Your meat is never cooked to the right temperature.
Most of us have far less experience working the grill than the stovetop. Combined with the variable nature of live-fire cooking, and the many backyard distractions—guests, wine, family, cocktails, children, beer, ponies—it’s tricky to keep track of your protein, and harder still to nail the doneness. The simplest, most foolproof method: an instant-read thermometer. Takes all the guesswork out of it.
Top 10 Grilling Tips
Grilling ideas and tips from the husband who runs the grill. Tender meat, hot coals, and more, you can cook a whole meal outside this summer with these grilling tips! You can even make homemade pizza on the grill.
Summer is just a couple weeks away, the temperature is starting to heat up, and many of us will be outside enjoying the weather for recreation with company.
If you’re like us, we love grilling year-round. But we understand that in some parts of the country, it’s just not feasible to stand in a foot of snow with your hands in your pockets, waiting for the chicken to be completed on the grill.
Now that the weather is starting to cooperate, we expect you to be outside using the grill too!
Grilling can be intimidating if you’re not familiar with it, and some families equate “grill” with “burned.” It’s to those families that we share our top 10 grilling tips, in hopes that even the grilling-challenged can enjoy cooking outside and the amazing flavor that comes from open flames!
Top 21 Grilling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Forgetting to Season Your Meat Before Grilling
A regrettable decision would be to not season your meat prior to grilling. There are many great marinade recipes out there that you could try. If possible, marinate your steak or chicken the night before you are going to grill. This creates the need for pre-planning, but it’s worth it.
Your steak will have so much more flavor than if you did not marinate it beforehand. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you. Plus, even better than that, your steak will be a huge hit with your party or cookout. At the very bare minimum, season your steak with salt and pepper prior to grilling.
Not Cleaning the Grill Grates or Grids
One of the most common grilling mistakes is to not clean up the grates or grids before you start grilling. Not cleaning the grill grates means that your food will stick to the food left from last night’s meal. Not only will this affect how your grilled food tastes (probably will not be positive), but it will also impact how your food sticks to the grates. When flipping the meat, it could rip or tear some of it off and stay on the grids.
As a result, it is important that you clean those grill grates. Use a grill brush to take care of this. The best tip is to perform the grill brushing during the preheating stage of grilling your next meal.
Running Out of Propane While Grilling
Having a big cookout? You better check to see if you have enough propane in your grill tank. There’s no bigger buzzkill for a party than realizing that you cannot serve your guests food. Don’t get caught having to go to the store to get a propane tank refill during the middle of your party.
Always check your propane tank level before you plan on using it. Most grills have a gauge on the propane tank, so you can easily see how much is left. If you’re low, you can keep a backup propane tank to use once you are officially out. Head over to your local grill store to get a refill in order to be prepared for this scenario.
Not Preheating the Grill Before Cooking
Many grillers think that once their grill reaches a high temperature, it is ready to cook. You should let the grill pre-heat even longer to heat up the grill grates. The grill might be producing a lot of heat, but the grill grates are still relatively cool. That means that your food will not receive the heat transferred directly by the grill grates. Your food will also stick to the metal. When this happens, your food tears and shreds when you flip or remove your meat from the grill. Who wants that?!
Your best bet is to cover the grill and let it preheat for at least 10 minutes to transfer heat to the grill grates. Some people say to preheat it even longer, maybe even 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the grill. Whether you choose to preheat your grill 10, 20, or 30 minutes, this will give your food a lesser chance of sticking to the grates on the grill.
Oiling the Grill Grates Instead of the Food You’re Grilling
Greasing up your hot grill grates before throwing food on the grill is a common grilling mistake. If you search online regarding this topic, you might find contradicting information. The thought is that greasing your grates will help keep your meat from sticking. However, the oil will smoke and carbonize. It can also cause dangerous flare ups as it drips down into the fire. This doesn’t help the meat taste very good and will affect the result of your meal.
Another option is to put some oil on the meat itself prior to placing it on the grill. This method will help your food stick less to the grates.
Putting the Meat on the Grill Too Cold
Grilling mistakes are avoidable if you are knowledgeable about what can ruin your grilled food. For example, if you put the meat on the grill when it is too cold, then the outside will finish well before the insides cook properly. This causes the meat to take much longer to finish and you increase your chances of burning the outside of the meat. When the outside is done, you will notice that the inside is not. Then, you have no choice but to keep grilling, increasing the odds of overcooking.
The solution to this problem is to allow your meat to come to room temperature prior to grilling it. This will give you a more even cooking process and less chance of charring the outside of the meat before the inside finishes. You should take the meat out of the refrigerator and let it sit, covered, for 15-20 minutes, prior to grilling.
Using Lighter Fluid on Charcoal
When grilling on a charcoal grill, oftentimes people get the impression that you should squirt a lot of lighter fluid to get the fire going faster. After all, when you do this, the grill will erupt in a mushroom cloud of fire. Who wouldn’t want to do this?! The reality is that people who do this are making grilling mistakes. Lighter fluid will have a significant impact on how your food tastes. You may get a hint of gasoline on your food and no one wants that.
Instead, you should consider using a charcoal chimney. A charcoal chimney will take a little bit longer to light – you’ll need 20-30 minutes before the charcoal is white and ashy. But, this method will not affect the taste of your food. For a more extensive resource, check out this guide to using a charcoal grill.
Pushing Your Burgers Down with a Spatula
One of the biggest grilling mistakes with hamburgers is pushing the beef patties down with a spatula to create flare ups. We are not sure where this started, but novice grillers probably saw somebody else doing it and copied their bad habit. Or, it is just an urge that humans have. After all, fire has fascinated us forever.
Pushing the burger down causes the juices to come out of the burger. Then, the juices create those big flare ups, which engulf the meat. All this does is char the burgers and make them taste like rubber. You should avoid doing this, unless you want a gross burger. Only flip your burgers to avoid squeezing all of the important juices out.
Not Taking Advantage of All Available Grill Zones
Firing up all burners of your grill to a high temperature and leaving it there for the entire grilling process can be problematic. If you’re cooking steak, you could burn the outside of your steak before it has even begun to fully cook the center as desired.
You could avoid this by using multiple zones on your grill. This is one of the bigger grilling mistakes. Not taking advantage of the different zones available on the grill. These grilling mistakes comes from not understanding how a grill works. You can turn one burner way up for the initial grilling and use another burner at a lower gauge. This gives you zones, or different spaces on the grill, with different temperatures. That way, if your steak is cooking too much, you can move your meat around to a separate area of the grill to avoid burning the outside of your food.
Creating Big Flames or Flare Ups Because You Think It Looks Cool
Fire is cool. It’s one of the big reasons we like to use a grill, a fireplace, or a fire pit. It’s in our nature as humans. However, creating huge flare ups on your grill is not really that cool, because it will not help the taste of your food. Small flames are fine, but large flames that engulf your meat can have a detrimental effect on the food. Additionally, big flare ups can be dangerous grilling mistakes too – you don’t want to potentially set a fire.
Flare ups are usually caused by fat dripping out of your meat, so to avoid this, trim off excess fat during your initial prep work before starting your grill. If you want to keep the fatty part of the meat, and oftentimes, you will, there is another way. If a flare up occurs while you’re grilling, try to move your food to another, cooler zone. After the flare up subsides, you can return it to that zone. And, as discussed in a previous grilling mistake, don’t press your burgers down with a spatula.
Not Utilizing Your Vents on Your Charcoal Grill
A lot of people using a charcoal grill for the first time do not realize what the vent is. To them, it might look like it is there for show. But, it is not. This vent can be used to control oxygen and heat flow within the charcoal grill. Depending on what you are cooking on the charcoal grill, you may want the coals to be hotter or cooler. Adjust the position of the vents to regulate the heat inside the grill. Our recommendation is to go through your charcoal grill’s manual to learn which positioning is best for the type of food you are cooking. Learning how to use your vent can help you avoid common grilling mistakes.
Not Having the Right Grill Tools (Or Not Knowing How to Use Them)
This next grilling mistakes are a bit more general: not having the right tools available to you when you start grilling. There are certain grill tools that you need to have. Not having some of these grill accessories can prove to have adverse effects on your grilling performance. Don’t have a grill brush? You should get one to clean your grill. Don’t have a charcoal chimney to help you start and maintain a good charcoal fire? You should get one of those too.
You need to be aware of the right tools you should use when dealing with meat or food on the grill. When flipping your meat on the grill, you should use a spatula or tongs. Never use a fork. Puncturing the meat with a fork is unnecessary. Plus, it will let all the blood, flavor and juices leak out. This will affect the flavor of your steak, hamburger, or other kind of meat. There’s no need to commit these grilling mistakes if you have the correct grill tools available.
Opening the Lid Too Much to Check on Food
Is your meat done? We should check by opening the grill and looking! Okay, everything is progressing along quite nicely. Two minutes passes. I’m getting nervous – let’s check again! If this is something you do when you grill, you need to stop. Lifting the lid with a gas grill will cause it to lose heat and cook more slowly. This will affect how your meat cooks. For a charcoal grill, the opposite effect will occur. Oxygen will be allowed in, which will make the coals burn hotter, leading to burnt meat.
Here’s what you should do. Be patient and learn the times that you should be flipping your meat. If your recipe calls for flipping at 5 or 6 minutes, wait until then. Set a timer, so you are confident that you are following the correct procedure. Don’t just wing it, time it in your head, or flip at your whim. You need to be aware of the heat that can be lost or gained when opening the lid.
Putting Sauce on Meat Too Early
You can make grilling mistakes with sauces too. Specifically, a common grilling mistake is putting your desired sauce, such as BBQ sauce, on your meat too early. If you put the sauce on your meat when it still has time left on the grill, the sauce starts to burn before your meat is even close to being done. This ruins whatever meat you are cooking. Your meal will go from a perfectly cooked to completely ruined piece of meat.
Instead, wait until the very, very end to put the sauce on your piece of meat. Otherwise, your dream of those fall-off-the-bone ribs will just be a dream.
Not Opening the Grill Away from Your Face
Burning your face (or the hair on your face or head) would be one of the top grilling mistakes to avoid on this list, wherever possible. When you open the grill’s lid, you should always open it away from your face. Flames could potentially shoot out and you do not want to potentially burn yourself.
There is no way to tell when this might happen. You could burn yourself if your face is close to the grill as it opens. Don’t lose those eyebrows! So, please keep this in mind and be careful when grilling.
Cooking Too Many Things at Once
So, everyone at your cookout is looking for a different kind of meat. On the menu, you have steak, burgers, hot dogs, veggies, and chicken. With all these things, why not cook them all at once and get people their orders?
The reality is that these all require different temperatures. You could overcook one and under cook another. By trying to do too many things at once, you may not be able to get them all right. You should stick to grilling one type of food at a time and really getting it right. Cook one before moving to the next.
Not Using a Thermometer to Test if Meat is Done
Your steak is almost done – at least you think it should be. But, how do you know for sure? You may have heard that you should poke the steak with your finger to determine if it is done. Or, perhaps you just cut into your steak to look at it. Both methods are wrong.
What’s better? Take the guessing out of it. Get yourself a meat thermometer. Then, learn what the temperatures are for rare, medium, and well done for each cut or size of meat. When you think your steak is done, follow the thermometer’s instructions to get an accurate temperature reading. This will be a far better solution than poking or cutting. You’ll also improve your chances of not under-cooking or over-cooking your meat, avoiding extremely rare, dried out, chewy and difficult to eat dinners.
Serving or Slicing the Food Too Soon
After grilling your meat, you should not just cut right into it and serve. After cooking, you always want to let it rest. This will allow the juices to run back into the center. Waiting will allow those juices to thicken and redistribute within your food. More juices will stay within your meat and less juice spillage will occur when you cut into them.
So, you should wait about 10 minutes or more, depending on the size of the piece of meat, before cutting and serving.
Not Learning from Your Grilling Mistakes
So, you screwed up a steak by cooking it too long. Then, the next time, you under cooked it. Why not start keeping track of how you have cooked your meats and how you feel they have turned out? Chances are you will never become a grilling expert that can always cook by feel. But, if you can learn from your mistakes and take a scientific approach, you will avoid a lot of grilling mistakes. Start writing down your successes and failures, so the next time you need to do it right (when you are hosting a big party), it will go swimmingly, and everyone will rave about your grilling skills.
Don’t Forget to Turn Off the Propane Tank When You’re Done
One of the most dangerous grilling mistakes is to forget to turn off the propane tank when you are done grilling. At minimum, you could waste your propane. This will cost you more money on grilling in the long run. Worse, leaving the propane tank on is a huge fire hazard.
Whenever you are grilling, you should always monitor your grill. There is no telling what might happen if your grill is on and you are not watching it. Don’t set your house on fire. Or your deck. Do yourself a big favor and take grilling seriously. Don’t do other things while you are grilling and pay complete attention to the grill. Don’t forget to turn off the propane tank.
Not Having Baking Soda Nearby for Potential Grease Fires
Finally, you should be prepared for the worse-case scenario grilling mistakes: fires. You should learn what you need to do if a grease fire occurs. One of the best things you can use to smother a grease fire is baking soda. It would be wise to have this nearby if a grill fire occurs. Or, read your grill safety instructions to make sure that you know what to do in case of a fire.
10 Things Every Good Griller Should Know
Grilling can be a bit overwhelming &mdash especially when you're hosting a big crowd. There's nothing trickier than greeting guests and cooking at the same time. Before your fire up the grill next, keep these pro tips in mind:
1. Control the heat
Large items like chicken quarters and ribs aren't meant to cook over high heat. Manage heat on a gas grill by turning off the center burners and placing food on the middle of the grill. Adjust burners on the left and right sides to change the temperature. On charcoal, adjusting dampers to restrict airflow will lower the cooking temperature.
2. Stack your coals
Instead of spreading a thin layer of charcoal across the bottom of your grill, stack lit coals on one side. Place foods that need a quick sear (like thin veggies or steaks) on the coal side. Foods that need longer to cook can be placed on the opposite end with the lid on to contain the heat.
3. Sear at 10 and 2
Pretend your grilling surface is a clock. Point the tips of items like steaks or pork chops at 10 o'clock for a few minutes, followed by 2 o'clock for the same time. Repeat this on the second side and you'll get perfect, diamond shaped grill marks every time. Remember to only flip most foods once, about half way through cooking.
4. Add some smoke
Wood chips or chunks are a great way to add smoky flavor without smoking foods for hours on end. Soak wood chips for about 30 minutesand place them inside a metal smoker box (or wrap them in a piece of aluminum foil) on a gas grill. If you're cooking with charcoal, scatter the chips across the lit coals.
5. Hit the perfect temperature
A thermometer is your best friend at the grill. Not only will you avoid under-cooking foods, you'll make sure you don't overcook. A digital leave-in thermometer is perfect as it lets you check the temperature without lifting the grill lid.
6. Keep coals burning
Coals are ready for cooking when they're fully lit and have a thin layer of white ash formed. Expect standard coals to burn 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the weather and the number you use. Keep your fire going by continuously adding new coals before the previous ones go out.
7. Keep foods separated
Backyard grilling can be a food safety minefield. Use separate platters, tools, and utensils for raw and cooked foods and never let them mingle.
8. Use the right tools for the job
Life is always easier with the right tools. Oversized grill tools from Cuisinart are a great choice for cooking, and our VIP Award-winning Firewire grilling skewers let you sear kebabs anywhere you have the space. When you're all done and ready to clean, the Brushhawg Grill Brush from Char-Broil makes short work of grilled on food.
9. Wait to baste
Basting with sauce adds tremendous flavor, but barbecue sauces burn easily. Try basting in the last few minutes and once foods have been removed from the grill.
10. Practice ambitious dishes before a party
Desperate to slow-grill a lamb quarter or smoke a pork shoulder for the first time? Try out your techniques before you prepare tough dishes for a crowd.
No outdoor space? Here are a few tips to get great grilling results in your kitchen.
1. Don't over grease
Just like when you grill outdoors, only use oil when necessary. Try painting a thin layer onto foods to promote browning and prevent sticking.
2. Leave meat alone
Don't feel the need to compulsively flip. Listen for the kiss of the grill pan. One of the most common grilling mistakes is being impatient.
3. Be adventurous
Don't limit fun to outdoor grills. Try grilling fruits like watermelon, pineapple, or mango indoors too. Brush them with warm honey first to get delicious results.
Mistake: Guessing when your food is cooked.
One of the most important turkey roasting tools is also essential when it comes to your barbecue.
"You can't tell if meat is fully cooked and safe by cutting into it or touching it," says Meathead. "That's a good way to send Grandma to the hospital." And that's why you're want to invest in a thermometer as a way to prevent ever under or overcooking your meal.
"Use a thermometer when cooking meat. It's the most foolproof way to avoid both undercooking and overcooking proteins (overcooking often results in drying out lean proteins like chicken breasts and pork chops)," Bolling says. "When using a meat thermometer, clean it in between uses if the meat has not reached a safe internal temperature."
Holzheimer says this is especially important when it comes to chicken.
"If it doesn't hit 165 degrees, leave it on the grill!" he says.
- When bits of food have stuck to your cooking grate, and the grate is hot, clean it with a stainless steel brush. This step is not only for cleanliness. It also prevents your food from sticking.
- Note: Replace brush if any loose bristles are found on cooking grates or brush.
Here are 4 important reasons why your grill lid should be closed as much as possible.
1. It keeps the grates hot enough to sear the food.
2. It speeds up the cooking time and prevents the food from drying out.
3. It traps the smokiness that develops when fat and juices vaporize in the grill.
4. It prevents flare-ups by limiting oxygen.
Top 10 Grilling Do's and Don'ts
Summer's winding down, but there's at least one big grilling weekend left. Bring on Labor Day! We received countless grilling questions from readers over the course of the summer, and based on research we've done to answer them, we've boiled down the essentials to 10 rules of grilling. (And just in case you haven't yet decided what to make this weekend, here's our Ultimate Labor Day Barbecue Menu.)
Bring on the seasoning. Grilled foods can stand up to bold flavors, so be liberal with the salt, load on the garlic, amp up the chiles, and squeeze out that lemon. Try a spiced mint marinade for lamb, a Cherry Cola glaze for ribs, or a spicy-sweet brine for chicken. (Get more ideas from our 101 Recipes for the Grill.)
Prep the grate. Grilling pro Steven Raichlen's grate mantra is, "Keep it hot. Keep it clean. Keep it lubricated." Cleaning and oiling the grate thoroughly before cooking will prevent your food from sticking--plus it will help you get those sexy grill marks. Use a stiff wire brush to clean your grill before and after cooking. To oil the grill, dip a cloth in vegetable oil and run it over the grate with tongs.
Use the right technique for the right food. Here's some advice on cooking fish and here's some on grilling chicken. Find more on this topic--including lots about red meat--on our How to Grill page.
Be mindful of safety. Remember, you're playing with fire--literally. Set up your grill in an open space, keep a fire extinguisher handy, and watch out for the kids. Watch our video on grilling safety to learn more.
Set up zones of varying heat. When using a charcoal grill, bank the coals one side so they slope downward toward the center. This will give you one zone of the grill that is very hot (for "direct heat" cooking) and the other zone can be used for slower cooking (or "indirect heat" cooking). Learn more on how to set up a grill from our Become a Better Cook series, or watch this video for how to set up a charcoal grill correctly using direct heat.
Skimp on the charcoal. A hot fire is crucial to good grilling.
Cover the grill when cooking directly over the coals. In their classic grilling cookbook, Let the Flames Begin, authors Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby call this the #1 grilling mistake**. When fat drippings hit those hot coals, they turn into puffs of bad-tasting smoke. When the grill is covered, that smoke gives your food bad-tasting flavor. (Makes sense.) "We urge you to build a multi-level fire, keep your eye on what you are grilling, and just move it to the cool part of the grill when flare-ups threaten," they say.
Cut into your food to test doneness. This lets those yummy juices escape, plus, your filets are much more appetizing when they don't look like Edward Scissorhands got a hold of them. Instead, look at your food (it should be golden brown), touch it (watch this video for tips on how to determine when your meat is rare, medium, or well-done), or use an instant-read thermometer.
Squirt water on flare-ups. Those spray bottles stir up ash, and it will land all over your lamb chops. You can't prevent flare-ups, but you can control them just move your food to the cool part of the grill until the flames calm.
Worry so much. Grab a beer (just not too many, at least until the grilling is done), turn up the tunes, and have a delicious Labor Day.
Don't Make These Burger Mistakes (But If You Do, Here's How to Fix Them)
The sun is shining, the grill is hot and you're looking forward to a meal of juicy meat. Fast-forward 30 minutes and you're face to face with a dry, overcooked hunk of steak or a tough chicken tender. What went wrong? Getting the grilling game right can be tricky. When it comes to grilling burgers, meat master and Texas restaurateur Chef Tim Love recently told FN Dish, "There are actually two common mistakes I see often, which are a shame, so listen up!" He shared his take on those two problems, plus offered ways for avoiding them next time.
1. Flip Burgers Once and Only Once: Constant turning will toughen and dry out meat, and if you flip too soon, burgers will stick. Cook 2 minutes per side for rare, 3 for medium-rare, 4 for medium and 5 for well-done.
2. Don't Press Burgers While Cooking: This is a common mistake in grilling burgers. The juice that seeps out holds most of the flavor and moisture — let your burgers hold on to it!
Top 10 Grilling Tips – Secrets To Best Tasting BBQ Meat
Before you start cooking, have all your grilling supplies like the food, sauces, and grilling equipment right next to your grill. Pull the meat out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before you start grilling.
Grilling Tip #2: Buy Quality Meat
If you can afford to do so, you should always buy the highest quality meat possible. While this does mean spending more money, it also means a better tasting finished product.
Grilling Tip #3: Use Thinner Pieces Of Meat
Huge chunks of meat often end up burnt on the outside and undercooked on the inside, or hard as a rock throughout. If you are new to grilling, it&rsquos best to stick with thinner pieces of meat that can cook through quicker.
Grilling Tip #4: Preheat Your Grill
Make sure you always preheat your grill before putting the food on it. Putting food on a cold grill will make it stick.
Grilling Tip #5: Keep the Grill Covered
Every time you raise the lid on the grill, you affect the grilling time by letting out enormous amounts of heat that has built up and is cooking your meat to perfection. Only uncover the grill when you need to turn the meat.
Grilling Tip #6: Avoid Flare-ups
Flare-ups can cause your food to burn, so always try to remove any extra fatty areas or skin that can cause drips and lead to flare-ups.
Grilling Tip #7: Avoid Lighter Fluid
If you&rsquore using a charcoal grill, avoid using lighter fluid to get those charcoals going as it can affect the flavor of your food. Instead, use paraffin lighter cubes or a chimney starter and give the charcoal time to cook down until it turns ashen before you begin grilling.
Grilling Tip #8: Don&rsquot Stab the Meat
A lot of people use carving forks to turn their meat, but this can cause the tasty juices to leak out during the cooking process, which can dry out the meat. Use tongs or a spatula to turn the meat instead.
Grilling Tip #9: Let the Meat Rest
When the meat is done, let it sit for a few minutes before serving it. It will be juicier and more flavorful by doing so.
Grilling Tip #10: Clean Your Grill
Make sure you clean your grill grates with a brush after each use, as stuck-on old food can ruin the taste of your next BBQ.
Follow this simple grilling tips and your BBQ will be a success! For great grilling recipes, check out grilled whole cut-up chicken recipe and grilled chicken shish kabob recipe &ndash yum!
The Top 10 Cooking Newbie Mistakes
Mistakes in the kitchen happen--seriously, it’s inevitable. Meat dries out, vegetables are scorched, noodles go gummy𠉮veryone slips up, professionals and novices alike. After the fact, these blunders are best remedied by a healthy glass of wine and maybe a few tears (trust me, I know). But even better than knowing how to nurse the wound is knowing how to prevent it and prevent looking/feeling like you have no idea what you&aposre doing. And in my collective experience, the best method of prevention is knowing exactly where things are most apt to go wrong. Even if you&aposre not always sure just what to do, knowing what NOT to do can be a huge step in the right direction.
Below are some of the top rookie mistakes that go down in the kitchen. Take solid notes to avoid making them, and you&aposre ready to get cooking like a boss.
#1. You don&apost read the recipe in its entirety.
Sure, this sounds elementary, but it&aposs a step new cooks overlook time and time again. Look over the recipe long before you begin cooking to ensure you have all the ingredients, tools, and time you need to complete the dish. Nothing is worse than when you have an hour until guests arrive for a dinner only to discover that your steaks need 8 hours to marinate.
Lesson learned the hard way: this year on my birthday, the only thing I wanted was our 3-layer German Chocolate Cake. But OF COURSE working for a food site and being the total pro that I am [not], I didn’t trust any of my very capable friends to make it, so I pretentiously decided to bake my own birthday cake. I made the layers before the party and, after finishing dinner, proudly announced to the room that I was going to whip up the frosting so we could enjoy this now-famous cake that I had talked up for days. Needless to say, I went to “throw together” the Coconut-Pecan Frosting only to realize it had to simmer on the stove 15 minutes and cool for an additional 45. I was mortified. No one ate cake that night. Not even me . . . on my birthday.