Grilling season is in full swing and whether you’re a grilling newbie or a seasoned searer, check out this list of common grilling mistakes that many people make. Hopefully, you aren’t guilty of any of these barbecue blunders, but if you are, at least you’ll be able to hone your culinary craft and improve your results.
1. Preheat the Grill
Make sure you preheat your grill before you start grilling. A good rule of thumb is to give a grill 15-25 minutes of heating time to ensure it reaches the right temperature and kills off any bacteria before you start to cook. This is more common with gas grills, as charcoal usually needs time to burn off lighter fluid and for the briquettes to turn grey.
2. Don’t Be Pokey!
Using a fork to move or remove your meat on the grill is one of the most common mistakes we see. When you poke your steaks, bratwursts, chicken or burgers with a fork, it punctures the seared outside allowing all the tasty juice to drip right onto your hot coals instead of staying inside your labor of love. Remember: the juice makes it moist and mouthwatering! Keep those juices where they belong by using a tongs instead of a fork.
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3. Beware of Carryover Cooking
When you remove your meat from the grill, it doesn’t immediately stop cooking. It will retain the heat from the grill for a good ten minutes (larger pieces of meat, like pork butts, will retain their temperature for longer). That means that your rare hamburger could turn into a medium rare hamburger if you take it off the heat when it has reached the ideal doneness. A good rule of thumb is to pull your meat off the grill about 10 degrees before it hits the ideal temperature. That way, in the 10 minutes of carryover cooking, your meat can rise to the perfect temperature while resting and letting the flavors redistribute!
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4. Grill Your Steak & Let It Rest
In order to keep steak juicy and tender, make sure you take it off the grill, cover it with foil, and let it rest for several minutes after cooking to seal in the flavor. Remove it from heat about 10 degrees before it reaches the desired temperature. That way all the juices have time to redistribute and the meat doesn’t overcook.
5. Kabobs Can Be Tricky
When cooking kabobs on the grill, make sure your ingredients will take about the same amount of time to reach their done point. For instance, large chucks take longer to cook than smaller chunks. If you are cooking something like shrimp which cooks quickly and can easily be overcooked and end up rubbery, make sure your accompanying vegetables are smaller so they cook faster. Large chunks of beef, pork or chicken are better grill mates for larger pieces of onion, pepper, or squash. And don’t forget, you can always grill your vegetables on kabobs first and then add entire skewers of shrimp or steak or whatever you’d like to grill for less time after the vegetable skewers are almost done.
6. A Hot Grill Is Easier to Clean
Most people wait to clean their grill until it has cooled off. But it’s actually more effective to clean it while it is hot and the food is softer! Use your grilling brush right after each grilling session. You can always use it again before the next session if there are any food pieces left.
7. Leave the Lid Open When Lighting a Gas Grill
Leaving the lid closed can allow excess gas to build up under the lid causing a small explosion when lit. This is one of the top common grilling mistakes. Never ever light a gas grill with the lid closed!