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Grilling Mistakes

Grilling isn't as temperamental as baking a soufflé, but there are some common grilling mistakes that might be holding you back from becoming the Grill Master you are at heart. The good news is that these mistakes are easy to avoid once you know about them, so let's get started!
By Grill Spot
  1. Grilling at excessively high temperatures.
    Your grill has adjustable control knobs for a reason: not everything needs to be cooked on maximum heat. This is a common mistake that we see over and over again. Sure, searing steaks or chops at high temperature makes sense, but once that is done it is best to lower the heat for the remainder of the cooking time.

    The truth of the matter is that most foods benefit from being cooked at more moderate temperatures, and some fare downright poorly at high heat grilling – think chicken or ribs. Lower heat is more manageable and helps reduce the occurrence of flare ups, and the finished product will be more tender and juicier.
  2. Grilling frozen or partially thawed meat.
    It is generally not a good idea to grill meat that is frozen or partially thawed. This can be a challenging process that often results in the outside being overcooked or burned while the inside is still raw.

    For best results, make sure that your meat is completely thawed and preferably at room temperature before grilling.
  3. Using a fork to flip the meat.
    When you poke grilled meat with a fork, you create a hole in the surface of the meat that allows juices to run out. This results in a drier and less tender finished product. Instead, use a long set of tongs or spatula to turn your meat.
  4. Cutting meat to check for doneness.
    There is no need to cut meat to check for doneness. Give the meat a poke with your finger. Rare meat will be soft and squishy; medium will be semi-firm; well done will be tight and springy. For larger cuts, a meat thermometer may be in order.
  5. Using a spray bottle filled with water to control flare-ups.
    Water should never be used to control a grease fire and flare-ups are a form of grease fire. Spraying water on flare-ups does not eliminate the grease and the flare-up will reappear once the grease heats up again.

    The best way to control flare-ups is to keep your grill clean and remove excess fat from meats before cooking.
  6. Saucing too early.
    Sweet barbecue sauces contain a lot of sugar, which burns quickly and results in charred or blackened meat.

    To avoid this, it is best to add barbecue sauce during the last few minutes of cooking.
  7. Not letting cooked meat "rest".
    Cutting into steaks or chops, or any cut of meat for that matter, immediately after cooking will cause most of the juices to run out, resulting in a dry piece of meat.

    To avoid this, let your steaks or chops rest for at least five minutes after being grilled before serving or cutting (if your steaks are very thick, let them rest for ten minutes). The resting period allows the protein molecules to relax and redistributes the juices throughout the meat.
  8. Not tending to the grill while food is cooking.
    Does this sound familiar? You run inside to check the score on the big game and by the time you return the burgers look like hockey pucks.

    Stay near your grill so that you can monitor the food that is being cooked. This will also allow you to react in a timely manner should flare ups or grease fires occur.
  9. Using the same plate for raw and cooked meats.
    NEVER place cooked food on a plate or tray that was used to carry raw meat unless it has been properly washed with soap and hot water. Doing so is a sure way to transfer bacteria and pathogens that can cause illness to your food.
  10. Not cleaning your grill.
    Cooking on dirty grates can transfer unwanted flavours to your food, as well as unwanted bacteria. Make sure you clean your cooking grates after every use.

Make No Mistake

You don't have to be a celebrity chef to be a great griller! All of these mistakes are common, but they're all easy to fix. A few simple changes to your grilling routine and you'll be a Grill Master in no time.

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