Not a grill master? We can fix that

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Summer is in full swing, and no doubt many of us are heading into our backyards and firing up the grill, but do you know how to grill to get the most out of it and get the best results? Follow these top grilling tips to elevate you to pit master status!

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1. Prep Your Meat & Veggies

It’s so important to prep your meat well to get the best results on the grill. Be sure to season your food well, whether that’s burgers, ribs, chicken of vegetables. Seasoning really helps to bring the flavors out, so don’t skip this.

If your recipe calls for a marinade, leave it as long as the recipe suggests. Chicken will need less time than ribs, so be sure to plan ahead. And leave some of the marinade to add a couple minutes before your recipe is complete. This is especially important for sugary marinades, which can flare up when cooked too soon.

Related slideshow: 15 delicious DIY seasonings for your summer grilling

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2. Prep Your Grill

Be sure to clean your grill once you’ve pre-heated it, unless you’ve cleaned it after your last grilling session. It’s worth investing in a good grill brush and giving it a good scrub to remove any leftovers from your last cookout. Once you’ve brushed it down, wipe some oil over the grate using tongs, and a piece of kitchen towel dipped in oil.

Be sure to give your grill plenty of time to pre-heat. This will help cook the meat evenly.

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3. Create Heat Zones

If you are using a kettle grill, bank the coals in the middle so that the center is hotter. You can then sear in the center and then move the meat to the edges to cook through. On a gas grill, have one burner on high and another on medium.

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4. Let Your Meat Come to Room Temperature

Be sure to take the meat you are cooking out of the fridge for about half an hour before you cook it to allow it to come to room temperature. This will result in tender and juicy meat.

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5. Handle Flare-Ups

Flare-ups are an inevitable part of grilling with charcoal. When this happens, move the meat from the hot zone to the outside of the grill so that it doesn’t scorch, you can move it back once the flames die down. You can also try putting the lid down and closing the vents to restrict the oxygen.

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6. Leave the Protein Alone

Resist the temptation to move and flip the meat too much – if you try to lift the meat before it is ready. It will stick to the grates. Let the meat develop a crust before you try to move it.

When checking if your meat is done, don’t keep stabbing at it with a fork or prongs. This cause the juices to escape, leaving you with a less flavorful and juicy piece of meat. A thermometer is a great investment, and it’s the best way to guarantee the meat or poultry is cooked through to proper temperatures.

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7. Add Sauces

If you are adding sauce or extra marinade to the meat, don’t add it too early as the sugars can burn. If you are adding a sauce with sugar, wait until closer to the end of cooking.

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8. Remove the Meat & Veggies

Timing is crucial when you cook meat on the grill. Meat will continue to cook after you’ve removed it, so it’s best to take it off before it’s reached its preferred level of doneness. Be sure to grab this grilling guide from The Spruce Eats, which has some great timing charts to ensure perfectly cooked food every time.

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9. Let It Rest

As tempting as it is to serve the meat straight away, be sure to let it rest so that all those delicious juices don’t escape too quickly. It gives them time to redistribute and keep the food tender. Loosely cover in foil and let it sit for at least 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of the meat. Vegetables can be served immediately, though.

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