In a recent survey that I did among my email newsletter subscribers, the number one challenge that people had was improving their technique. It's hard to improve your technique if you are making some horrible mistakes! Well, maybe horrible is a little strong, but you can definitely make some improvements if you aren't making these mistakes.
So let's talk about some mistakes that are common. Hopefully you aren't make them, but then again, maybe there will be something you hadn't known or thought of.
#1 - You start cooking with meat that isn't totally thawed
Your best bet is to bring the meat you are going to cook to room temperature. If you don't have it thawed all the way, then you are going to either have to over-cook it to make sure that the middle gets cooked (but then the outside may be overdone) or you'll under up under-cooking the middle. Do yourself a favor and bring the meat to room temperature before you start.
#2 - You use lighter fluid to start the charcoal
Avoid if you possibly can. Using lighter fluid will give some extra flavor to your food-unwanted flavor! Yeah, I know that if you let the charcoal burn down long enough, that may burn off, but do you really want to wait that long? There's definitely other ways to light charcoal that don't require lighter fluid. So give those a try and see if it doesn't make a difference.
While we are on that subject, avoid the charcoal that has lighter fluid already soaked in the charcoal--it will give an taste also and I've always found that the coals don't last nearly as long.
#3 - You have the heat too hot or too cold
Seems obvious, doesn't it? But what type of cooking are you trying to do? If you are bbqing, then you cook low and slow, so don't have that temperature up to high. Ribs and brisket are much better when bbqed--low and slow.
Steak and hamburgers, on the other hand, are better started out hot to sear in the juices, and then moved to a cooler part of the grill to complete cooking.
#4 - Using the wrong kind of wood for smoking
If you are doing bbqing (or you can do this if grilling), make sure that you are using the right kind of wood. Never use soft woods, such as pine. It will just cause creosote to collect on your food. Green wood is best left alone also. Use aged hardwood, fruit wood, or nut wood. Make sure that it is well aged. That will give you the right amount of smoke and the right flavor.
#5 - Using mops or sauces too early
If your mop or sauce as sugar in it, it will burn if you put it on the meat too early. Leave it until later in the cooking cycle when the temperatures should be lower and the sauce won't be on long enough to burn.
#6 - You keep lifting the lid
If you keep lifting the lid to check the meat, you just drop the temperature in the grill and it has to reheat up. If you are really anxious about the temperature, get a bbq thermometer (you can even get a wireless one that will allow you to monitor the grill and meat temperature from a loooong way away.
#7 - You poke the meat to see if it is done
Every time you poke the meat, you make a hole to allow the juices to run out. The best way to kow if the meat is done is to use a thermometer!
BONUS - You start eating the meat as soon as it comes of the grill
As you grill most meats, the moisture makes its way to the surface of the meat. You need to let the meat rest for a few minutes after you take it off the grill to allow the juices to redistribute themselves. Put some aluminum foil over the meat to keep it warm give it about 10 minutes. If you are cooking steaks, put a pat of butter on the steak during this time to slowly melt. You won't believe the extra flavor that you get!
If you already knew all these things, great! Or if you are feeling like there is more you could learn, BBQ Secrets Revealed will have tons of tips that you probably don't know yet. What you'll learn:
- How to cook ribs AND keep them moist and juicy
- How to barbecue the best tasting chicken that you have ever had
- How to get the wonderful smoky flavor, even on a gas grill
- The 5 easy steps to make great barbecue brisket
- The absolute easiest way to smoke fish on the grill
- Hundreds of recipes
Check out BBQ Secrets Revealed to learn what you need to do to take your grilling to the next level!