It’s that time of year again -- for friends and family to light up the grill, get out the coolers, and gather together for some good grub. While you may have been doing this every summer for years, did you know that you could be making common mistakes while barbequing? Everything you cook turns out delicious enough, sure, but make your grilled meals even tastier and your grill last longer by preventing the following mistakes when barbequing this summer.
1. You Don't Clean Your Grill
One of the most common mistakes that people make when cooking on the grill is that they barbeque, eat, and then let the grill cool down without cleaning it. While the idea of cleaning a hot grill may seem tedious and slightly crazy, that’s what those large grill scrapers and brushes are made for. The ash and drippings left behind can be scraped off the metal most easily when the grill is still hot. Be sure to use proper grill cleaning tools in order to prevent getting burned. If you wait for the grill to cool, it will be much more difficult to clean and the residue left behind can stick to future food and alter the flavor.
2. You Cook Cold Meat
When cooking meat on the grill, or any food for that matter, it should be at room temperature. A mistake that many make is putting the meat on the grill right out of the fridge. Let the meat sit on the counter awhile, still wrapped or gently covered, so that it can warm up. This helps ensure that you have the most tender and moist meat possible. Cold meat will cook and taste fine, but will turn out much more tough in the end.
3. You Use Lighter Fluid
How do you get those charcoals to light? By using lots of lighter fluid. While this may be the case, the problem here is that lighter fluid burns and evaporates, rising out of the grill as it burns. As it rises into the air, it hits that grill plate first, which means it’s covering the food you’re grilling in lighter fluid fumes. Not only is this toxic, but it can leave your food tasting slightly like gasoline. Make sure to use easy-light charcoal or wood chips instead to keep your food clean and tasty.
4. You Don't Use Enough Sauce
Don’t be afraid to coat the meat you cook on the grill in plenty of sauce. Another common mistake is that people will marinate the meat before they put it on the grill, and then cook it on the grill without adding much more sauce. This is a big no-no. Sauce helps lock the natural moisture into the meat instead of drying it out. The sauce will heat, drip, and burn off, but that’s perfectly normal. In fact, that’s what you want to happen. Make sure to use a grill brush and keep a dish of sauce in hand as you’re grilling and flipping the meat of your choice. Otherwise, your dinner will drip and dry out, releasing the moisture that makes grilling worthwhile.
5. You Eat Right Away
When all of the cooking is said and done, make sure you let the food cool for 10-15 minutes after you take it off the grill. Many times people are so excited to dig right in that they miss out on a lot of the flavor and juices. If the food is too hot, slicing into it will cause the juices to run out and across the plate quickly, which defeats the purpose of all the searing, sauce, and moisture mentioned above. Give the food some time to cool before slicing it so that the juices stay in the food as you eat it.