Top 7 Grilling Mistakes

Grilling burgers on a grill

The joys of grilling outdoors during the summer is one of those few things that most people can agree on. Food just tastes better when its spent some time on the grill. Envisioning those telltale black grate marks are enough to make your mouth water and your stomach rumble. But there’s a chance you might not be getting the most out of your grill. A few common mistakes can be lessening the flavor of your food. To become the uncontested grill master in your house, take a look at our list of top grilling mistakes.

1) You Didn’t Preheat the Grill

The thought process seems logical enough, your grill is giving off heat, so it is okay to go ahead and start grilling. That’s where you’re wrong.  While it might feel warm, the grates could still be cold. This will cause the food to stick to the metal and become a bit of a mess. Instead of the pleasing black grill lines, you’ll have food that looks less than stellar.

Solution: To combat this, preheat your grill for about 5 to 10 minutes.

2) You Forgot to Clean the Grates

‘It’ll be totally fine if I only clean the grates every now and then’ you think to yourself for the umpteenth time as you start your grill. The thing is, if you allow your grill to go uncleaned, small food particles will start to build up. Tonight’s chicken will start to pick up pieces of last night’s pork. And soon you’ll have issues with food sticking to the grates and not coming off.

Solution: To clean simply preheat the grill on high for about 15 minutes. This loosens any left-over food and grease to make removing it easier. Then turn of the heat and clean with a stiff wire brush dipped in water. Water will create steam to help with the cleaning. Once clean, use cooking oil or vegetable oil to coat the grates to prevent food sticking to them.  Be sure to thoroughly check for any lose brush wires after cleaning.

If you have grates that are powder coated, you shouldn’t use a wire brush on it.

3) Too Much Direct Heat

You got a little excited when you fired up the grill and now it’s hotter than Hades. If you cook using too much direct heat, it will cause the edges of your steak to burn without cooking the middle.

Solution: To prevent this create a two-zone fire. Do this by leaving one side of your grill on low heat while the other side is on a medium to high heat level. Use the cooler side for gently cooking or the hot side for fast searing.

Burgers on a grill.

4) You Keep Messing with the Lid

If you’re like me and a bit of an anxious cook, lifting the lid “just to check on things” can become a bad habit. But try to resist the urge because every time you lift the lid you lose heat and your food will cook even more slowly. On a coal grill, every time you lift the lid it allows more oxygen in and could cause your food to burn.

Solution: Fight the good fight and keep yourself from checking on your food every 60 seconds. The occasional peek is fine, just don’t be a helicopter parent to your steaks.

5) Too Much Multi-Tasking

While it is tempting to cook all of your food at once, loading up your grill with too many different types of foods can lead to uncooked and cross-contaminated foods. Items like chicken and steak take varying amounts of time and temperature to cook. And throwing veggies in with uncooked meat is a big no-no.

Solution: Stick to cooking one food at a time and nailing it.

6) Overeager Saucing

Placing layer after layer of BBQ sauce might sound like it will add flavor to your dinner, it actually doesn’t. BBQ sauce is a very topical treatment and layering won’t add to the flavor. You are more likely to burn the sauce by putting it on too early.

Solution: Add sauce towards the end to avoid burning. If the sauce is a sweet BBQ wait until the final 5-7 minutes.

7) Cutting the Meat Too Soon

It’s natural to want to tuck into your meal as soon as it comes off the grill. But experts say that cutting into the meat too soon can cause it to become drier. Every cut you make loses some juice and flavor.

Solution: Let the meat rest for about 5 minutes for optimal taste.

With the appropriate level of heat, cleanliness, and focus, you can ensure the most delicious grilling experience. Fire up that grill and get started!

If you have any grilling tips or recipes you’d like to share, let us know in the comments below.

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