1. Not preheating the grill for long enough
A hot grill ensures that the meat being cooked gets crisp and caramelized on the outside while remaining moist and tender on the inside. Starting with a cold grill means that the meat is likely to overcook on the inside by the time the outside gets a nice char. That’s why it’s essential to preheat a grill for 20 to 30 minutes before starting to cook.
2. Oiling grill grates instead of the actual food
Not only is doing this actually dangerous – it can also make the food taste bad. It’s much better to brush the items for grilling with oil. This prevents sticking and makes the grill easier to clean.
3. Not adjusting the air vent/keeping it closed
Charcoal grills normally have top and bottom vents. The former is there to keep air flowing so that the grill’s fire remains lit, whereas the latter is there to determine how much oxygen is fed to the grill’s fire. It’s advisable to learn how to control grill vents so that the temperature and strength of the flame can be adjusted as needed.
4. Not soaking wooden skewers in water
Bamboo skewers burn quite easily, so it’s a good idea to soak them in water for about half an hour prior to threading food onto them. This prevents them from burning as fast as they normally would.
5. Not taking advantage of the grill’s hot spots
It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on where a grill’s hot spots are. Starting cooking on a hot spot creates a deep, flavorsome crust, but the cooler spots allow items to be cooked through without burning them on the inside.
6. Constantly opening the lid to check the food
A grill lid is there to keep the heat in so that items get cooked all the way around rather than just from the bottom. Opening the lid repeatedly can lead to food being overcooked or burned on the outside before being fully cooked on the inside.
7. Flipping a steak just once
It’s a misconception to think that a steak should be flipped just once when it’s being cooked. Regular flipping actually leads to more even cooking and shortens the cooking time. Steaks should be flipped every couple of minutes while they’re being cooked.
8. Applying sweet sauces too early in the cooking process
Despite them being fantastic complements to a nice cut of meat or ribs, sweet sauces have high sugar content, so they’re prone to burning. As a result, sweet sauces should always be applied toward the end of cooking to prevent them from caramelizing too quickly.
9. Grilling partially-frozen thin cuts of steak
Some kinds of steak, particularly thicker ones that require longer cooking times, can be frozen, but grilling thinner cuts such as skirt or hanger steaks should only be started after they’ve been completely defrosted. This is because the inside will be overcooked by the time the outer part becomes caramelized.
10. Using a fork to pierce and flip steaks
Poking holes through a steak is never a good idea because doing so causes the juices to leak out. This can lead to it becoming dry. Steaks should be flipped gently using a pair of tongs.
11. Not cleaning the grill after use
It’s easiest to clean a grill when everything on it is still warm (in other words, not long after the cooking is finished). A metal grill brush is a great item to use to clean a grill with after each time it is used.
12. Not letting steaks rest before serving
Serving a steak immediately should be avoided, and this is because cutting into one right away can lead to it losing moisture. Steaks should be left to sit for between 10 and 20 minutes before they’re served. The main event should be approached with patience!