19 Rookie Grilling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them from 19 Rookie Grilling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them Slideshow

19 Rookie Grilling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them Slideshow

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19 Rookie Grilling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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19 Rookie Grilling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

How disappointing is it to take a bite out of a freshly grilled burger and taste not meat, but soot and lighter fluid. How sad to bite into overcooked patties after sweating over a hot grill. Don’t worry! We can help. Before you start lighting those coals for the first cookout of the season, make sure you brush up on a few common grilling mistakes to avoid, so that your first grill-out is a successful one.

For more expert grilling tips, like the best way to start your coals and how to check for doneness, read on for our simple solutions to 19 grilling mistakes you can easily avoid this grilling season.

Not Prepping Ingredients Ahead of Time

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Not Prepping Ingredients Ahead of Time

Doing the prep work before you start cooking means you will have more time to focus on what’s happening on the grill so your food turns out just the way you want it every time. Before you get started grilling, chop any vegetables, prep the meat, and arrange your mise en place (meaning “everything in place”).

Click here for the Grilling and Barbecue Essentials.

Forgetting to Clean the Grates

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Forgetting to Clean the Grates

If you hate it when your food sticks to the grill, be sure to clean your grill before or after each use. Use the metal brush when the grill is hot to scrub away any caked-on food.

Click here for more Grilling Basics.

Using Lighter Fluid

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Using Lighter Fluid

It may be the easy way to light up your charcoal grill, but match-light coals and/or dousing your coals in lighter fluid will just leave you with a gasoline-scented steak. Instead, invest in a chimney starter. Stuff the bottom with old newspaper, and fill the top with charcoal briquettes. Just light the newspaper and let the chimney do its thing.

Click here for 9 Things You Should Never Do When Grilling.

Spreading the Coals Too Soon

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Spreading the Coals Too Soon

Spreading the coals too soon will cause your food to cook unevenly. Wait until the coals are coated in gray ash, so you can be sure that all the coals have all ignited.

Click here for 8 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Grill.

Not Pre-Heating the Grill

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Not Pre-Heating the Grill

Once your coals are spread and the fire feels hot to your hand, there is still one more step to ensure your food doesn’t stick to the grate and you develop those dark sear marks: preheating the grill. Just place the lid on the grill for about 10 minutes before you start cooking to make sure your grill grates are very hot.

Click here for 25 Grilling Gadgets That Are Less Than 25 Dollars.

Using the Wrong Tools

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Using the Wrong Tools

You don’t need much, but a few essential tools will keep you safe from unwanted burns and keep your food from landing on the ground. First, invest in some long-handled tongs, a long-handled spatula for safely flipping burgers, and some kitchen towels to protect your hands from the heat when you lift the lid or adjust the vents, because your grill will become super-hot to the touch.

Click here for the 8 Must-Have Grilling Accessories.

Starting With Cold Ingredients

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Starting With Cold Ingredients

Going straight from the fridge to the grill will cause uneven cooking — not to mention a longer cooking time that can cause your meat to dry out. Just set your ingredients on the counter for about 15 minutes before you season, so they have time to come to room temperature.

Click here for the Best Steak Grilling Tips From the Pros.

Under-Seasoning

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Under-Seasoning

There is never a way to come back from under-seasoned meat. Salt and spices help to enhance the natural flavors of the meat. Salting your steak and resting on a rack for about 30 minutes to overnight in the fridge can draw out the moisture, and help form that flavorful crust we all want from a thick, grilled steak.

Click here for Is Salt Really The Most Important Ingredient in the Culinary World?

 

Too Much Flame

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Too Much Flame

You worked hard to build that fire and smoke. The smoke is essential when using indirect heat, so try to leave the lid in place while your ribs cook. On the other hand, leave the lid off the grill entirely when you are cooking steaks or chicken using the direct-heat metho

Click here for 6 Ways You’ve Been Grilling Your Chicken All Wrong

Not Enough Flame

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Not Enough Flame

For obvious reasons, leaving a fire blazing in your backyard unattended is certainly a fire hazard, but food also burns quickly under such intense heat, so stick around and keep an eye on your dinner.

Click here for How Safe is Your Barbecue? 4 Deadly Food Safety Sins.

Removing the Lid Often

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Removing the Lid Often

You worked hard to build that fire and smoke. The smoke is essential when using indirect heat, so try to leave the lid in place while your ribs cook. On the other hand, leave the lid off the grill entirely when you are cooking steaks or chicken using the direct-heat method.

Click here for the 9 Things You Should Never Do When Grilling.

Leaving the Grill Unattended

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Leaving the Grill Unattended

For obvious reasons, leaving a fire blazing in your backyard unattended is certainly a fire hazard, but also food burns quickly under such intense heat, so stick around and keep an eye on your dinner.

Click here for How Safe is Your Barbecue? 4 Deadly Food Safety Sins.

Not Using the Vents Properly

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Not Using the Vents Properly

The vents control the oxygen flow, and so the fire. Using the vents is the best way to monitor and control the flame while cooking. When using indirect heat, keep the top and bottom vents closed — you want to trap smoke and keep the heat low. For searing a fatty steak or burger, open the vents up for a more intense flame.

Click here for Pro Grilling Tips You Need to Know.

 

Pressing Down on Your Burger Patties

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Pressing Down on Your Burger Patties

You may think that pressing on the burgers will help produce sear marks, but really all you are doing is leaching out the juices from your patties. Keep your burgers juicy by not pressing down on your burgers while they cook on the grill.

Click her for the 50 Best Burger Recipes.

 

Adding the Sauce Too Early

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Adding the Sauce Too Early

The sugars in your favorite barbecue sauce will burn if you add it to your grilling chicken or ribs too early in the cooking process. Instead of ending up with a blackened layer of barbecue sauce on your meat, wait until the last five minutes of cooking to spread a thin layer of sauce on your chicken or ribs.

Click here for the 8 Best Barbecue Chicken Recipes.

Cooking Everything at Once

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Cooking Everything at Once

Two reasons not to cook chicken, burgers, and hot dogs at the same time: Not everything cooks at the same temperature; and cross-contamination can make you sick. Cook different foods separately so that your steaks and chicken both turn out perfectly. While people wait, serve sides and snacks so no one goes hungry.

Click here for Chef Michelle Bernstein on Outdoor Entertaining.

Checking the Temperature Too Much

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Checking the Temperature Too Much

Most of us can’t just jab a piece of meat with our finger and know it’s done. Use time and temperature guidelines, and invest in a meat thermometer you can trust, so you don’t have to repeatedly stab your meat to know when it’s done.

Click here for the 9 Things You Should Never Do When Grilling.

Putting Cooked Meat Where Raw Meat Was

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Putting Cooked Meat Where Raw Meat Was

Now that your grilled chicken, steak, burgers, etc. are done, be sure to use a clean cutting board or plate to slice and serve your food.

Click here for 15 Things You Need to Know to Practice Food Safety. 

Not Resting Your Meat Long Enough

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Not Resting Your Meat Long Enough

Resting your meat for about 20 minutes will give it time to redistribute its juices that were drawn to the surface while it cooked. This time, when you slice into your steak all of the delicious juices won’t run off the cutting board. Additionally, if you are worried about serving cold food, blast your meat on the highest heat for about 30 seconds.

Click here for the Best Grilling Tips from The Pros.

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19 Rookie Grilling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

19 Rookie Grilling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them Slideshow

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