Basic Grilling Tips

Oil the grates, not the food.  Spray-on or a paper towel dipped in oil works great.

Most meats need to be seared over high heat and then finish cooking at a lower heat.  Or, you can do the reverse!  Known as a reverse sear.

Turn your meats often.  This is one of the big myths in grilling.  If you wait too long to turn, all the juices that have accumulated on the surface will be dumped in the fire when you turn.

When seasoning, small cuts of meat need a couple of hours and bigger roasts should be kept overnight.

If you are going to use your marinade to baste during cooking (I always do), you need to boil it first to get rid of the bugs.


Use ground beef with 20% fat.  Anything less and they will be dry, dry, dry.

Mix the seasonings into the meat prior to forming your patties.

Burgers tend to shrink inwards while grilling.  To prevent a big bulge in the middle, make an indentation in the middle before grilling.

The best patties tend to be 6 ounces of beef and 3/4 inches thick.


Use only Choice or Prime cuts of meat.  Stay away from the Select grade.

Trim most of the surrounding fat.

Allow the meat to come to room temp.  When finished cooking, let the steak rest under a cover of foil for about 10 minutes.  This allows the juices to be re-absorbed.

Invest in a good meat thermometer if you are new to grilling.  This is the best way to gauge the doneness of your steak.  Don’t rely on the “touchy, feely” method.


Season all parts of the chicken.  Lift the skin up and rub seasonings underneath.  Season the cavitiy when cooking a whole chicken.

Use a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking breast meat.  165º is enough and that comes quickly on a hot grill.


Don’t be afraid of “fresh-frozen” seafood.  Most of the time it tastes fresher than the “fresh” stuff.  This is especially true the farther away from water you live.

Seafood is done cooking when it turns opaque.  If you wait until it flakes, it will be too dry.  To check, use a knife to separate the meat sections.

When grilling shrimp, use the Jumbo variety.  You will be less likely to overcook it.

Don’t use foil underneath fish!  You need that flame-broiled taste.  Instead, when grilling thin cuts of fish like tilapia, sole, dory or flounder, make sure to really grease the grill well and then cook at  lower temperature.

454 thoughts on “Basic Grilling Tips”

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BBQ techniques, family recipes