Good Grilling: Common Barbecue Blunders to Avoid at All Costs



Most people begin to salivate upon hearing of a barbecue.  However, not all cookouts are created equally.  As with many activities, there is skill involved, and those with limited experience and knowledge are bound to make a few blunders.  If you make a grammatical mistake on a birthday card, most friends will excuse you.  But if you mess up in making someone’s burger, it’s a downright blunder.  Avoid these common barbecue blunders at all costs.

Catch a Fire

Of course, you want the fire raging so the coals get hot or so the flames heat the grill top.  But lighting a grill is unlike setting a campfire ablaze.  You don’t want to pour lighter fluid on top of your coals.  Unfortunately, you may find lighter fluid next to coals in the grocery store, but don’t make the mistake of associating the two.  For one, lighter fluid does not work very well in lighting coals.  Secondly, the more fluid you put on your coals, the worse your food will taste.  Grilling veterans use a chimney starter.  Place crumpled newspaper underneath, place coals on top, and ignite the paper.  Leave the lighter fluid on the market shelves for the amateurs.

Preparation Matters

Grilling is not like using a microwave.  Good cooking takes time.  Just because the fire is going does not mean it’s time to place the food on top of the grill.  Even though you can feel heat from the flame, it takes time for the grate to get hot enough to cook the food.  After the fire gets going, cover the grill for 10 minutes.  It helps in cooking the food and avoiding food from sticking to the grates.

Uninvited Leftovers

Some grillers believe that a dirty grill top adds flavor or that the fire will kill any leftover germs.  However, some guests will not want pieces of last night’s pork chops stuck to their chicken leg.  For those who are perpetually lazy, a cornucopia of foods and unwanted bits and odors linger on their grill grates.  It’s necessary to clean the grates if you want your grilling skills to be taken seriously.  Use a brush to clean the grill as it’s preheating, before placing the food on top.  The heat will help rid the grates of caked-on grease and food remains.  Of course, there are alternatives to using a traditional grill.  Go to to learn of another method of barbecuing.

Created Firezones

Yes, the fire is integral in cooking the meat, but a bigger flame does not mean better tasting food.  In worst case scenarios, the fire gets too hot and the food begins to burn on the outside before the heat can penetrate the middle.  At that point, you would need to situate the charred food on another side of the grill, but if the fire is high, there is no optimal section.  Create a two-zone fire.  If you’re using coals, leave half of the grill empty or filled with a minimal amount of coals.  This allows for cooking flexibility.  Some foods will cook quickly but you’ll have a place to situate them while other pieces are optimally prepared.

Premature Sauce

Putting a finishing sauce on meats is an action of a veteran griller.  However, newbies often put the sauce on too early, thinking that it will add to the flavor of the meat while it cooks.  Barbecue sauce can burn onto the food, which produces a blackened and bitter taste.  Plus, it doesn’t make the outside of the meat appear very delectable.  Barbecue sauce is to be added toward the end of the cooking cycle.  You’ll still get the sought flavor and you won’t burn the sauce onto the food.  For sweeter sauces, hold off until the last five to 10 minutes of grilling.

Seasoned Patience

The meat is done, your guests are waiting to eat, so now must be the time.  However, don’t be impatient.  Cutting a piece of meat too soon will make the juices leak out.  Plus, serving it right off the grill is sure to burn the mouths of guests.   Let the meat sit for a few minutes before cutting and serving.  The juices will thicken inside the meat.  If you want the meat to have that ‘sizzle,’ let it rest and then throw it on the hottest part of the grill for less than a minute before serving to guests.

You’re now ready to cook more like a veteran despite your amateur experience.  You’ll get better at grilling the more you use your device and gain experience in working with different devices and cuts of meat.

Freya Griffin’s goal is to create great memories and great meals by further enhancing your barbecue experience through the quality products and services at PitBarrel Cooker Co. Freya enjoys sharing is tips and tricks online.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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