May is National Barbecue Month, which makes it the perfect time to brush up on your grilling skills! Prepare for your memorial day cookout and the summer barbecue season with these grilling tips.

1. Start with high quality ingredients

It doesn’t matter how good you are at grilling,  you can’t overcome sub-par ingredients. A cheap burger that is perfectly cooked and seasoned is still a cheap burger!

2. Use indirect heat and direct heat appropriately

Direct and indirect are the two basic heat distribution methods for grilling. Direct heat is when food is directly underneath the flame. Indirect is when the food is slightly off of the heat source. Each cooks food at a different rate and is suitable for different items.

Here’s a great rule thumb for using each type from about .com.

Direct Heat– Basic grilled items, hamburgers, hot-dogs, steak.

Indirect Heat– Larger food items, any meat cut thicker than 2 inches.

If you’re using a charcoal grill you’ll need to arrange the charcoal properly to create an indirect heat zone. Here are some great instructions on how to do that from bonappetit.com.

3. Preheat your grill

Don’t just put down un-cooked meat onto a cold grill. Preheating the grill for 10-20 minutes will cook off unwanted bacteria and help speed up the entire cooking process.

4. Charcoal vs. Gas: choose the best one for your cooking style. 

There are pros and cons to using a charcoal or a gas grill. In terms of taste, let your personal preference determine which you should use. If you like a smokey , charred flavor, charcoal is your best bet!

5. Try additive free charcoal

For the best possible flavor when using a charcoal grill, try using additive-free charcoal. This type of charcoal is made entirely from wood and doesn’t  contain any coal or additional fillers.

6. Oil your grill rack ahead of time

While you should NEVER use cooking spray on your grill over an open flame,  it is a good idea to use a vegetable oil soaked paper towel to apply oil and prevent sticking.

7. If it sticks it’s not ready to flip!

Grilling great Bobby Flay says you should let your steak develop a seared crust before flipping, if it’s sticking let it cook more!

8. Wait 5 minutes to slice your steak

Another tip from Flay. The rationale is that waiting gives the juices a chance to settle

9. Test with your finger

Flay also has a tip for testing how done your steaks are. Use your finger! Rare should feel soft and spongey, medium should spring back and well-done should be firm.

10. Leave an unheated space on your grill.

If there is a flare up it’s good to have a location that you can quickly move meat too.

11. Aim for undercooking as opposed to overcooking

Obviously you don’t want to serve meat that hasn’t been cooked enough, but it’s better to start off undercooking a piece of meat and trying again than overcooking it! For added accuracy don’t be afraid to use a thermometer to make sure everything reaches the right internal temperature.

12. Have a spray bottle of water nearby

Some people think flare ups caused by dripping grease makes the food taste better but it can actually burn and ruin some of your food. Keep a spray bottle nearby to help tame some of those flares.


What are you favorite Grilling tips? Let us know in our comment section below!