Mistakes while Grilling and How to Resolve Them

Who doesn’t love grilling and barbecuing for family and friends? The trouble is, it’s not as easy as you think. On the contrary, there are so many mistakes people can make.

But there is no need to worry, even professionals make mistakes now and then. We learn the right ways of cooking by making mistakes.

Here we have a list of mistakes that you should avoid. A good idea is to print out our list and use it as a reference every time cooking outdoors no matter if you’re grilling over fallen limbs or using a 4-in-1 grill.

Whether, its a traditional grill or a smokeless indoor smoker, here is all you need to know.

Don’t Put Oil on The Grill

 Some people like to put oil on the grates, but it’s not a good habit. It leads to flare-ups and in turn, leaves a sticky residue.

This residue makes food stick to the grates, and breaks it apart. This may also make the food dry. .

Instead of putting oil on the grates, brush oil on the food. That will enhance caramelization and keep the food nice and juicy. Furthermore, it won’t stick to the grates.

Refrain From Placing Food on A Cold Grill

Don’t start by placing the food on a cold grill. That will lead to all sorts of problems you rather not like to deal with. For instance, the previous residue won’t burn away. And you don’t want it to stick on your food.

The best practice is to preheat the grill so that the charcoal briquettes change form. Wait till you see gray ash covering the charcoal before placing food on the grill.

However, you don’t need to cook at 550 f. If the grill is too hot then the outer side of the food will burn while the inside will remain raw..

Clean The Grill Properly

The more you use the outdoor grill the better you get at handling it. . 

 You have to clean your grill regularly to keep it in good shape. Clean the grates once before you start cooking and once after it’s done. The best way to clean it is by using a metal bristle brush used for this purpose. i

But if you don’t have a grill cleaning brush, aluminum foil will do. Ball up heavy-duty aluminum foil and then hold it with 12-inch tongs and use it to clean the grill ..

Understand What Direct Heat and Indirect Heat Is

For best results in outdoor cooking, you need to know the different methods of using the heat. Get to know how and when to use direct and indirect heat.

When you use direct heat, the food gets direct exposure to heat. It’s a bit like broiling in the oven. On the other hand, indirect heat comes from sides of the food while the burners underneath are off. This method is like baking or roasting in the oven.

Then there is combo grilling. This is a method of searing over direct heat afterward indirect heat to complete the cooking.

So how do you know when to use what? If your food takes over 20 minutes to cook then indirect heat is the way to go.but if it takes less than 20 minutes direct heat method is the answer.. 

What To Do When Flare-Ups Occur

Most people just pour water when there is a flare-up. This is not a good idea at all as it will damage your grill and leads to cracks in the porcelain-enamel. Also, if you spray water, a lot of vapor leads to terrible burns.

Flare-ups are prevalent in oxygen. So keep the lid down while cooking. I know it’s tempting to peek inside but refrain from doing it. This may lead to extending the cooking time.

Now, if the fire is out of control, turn the burners off right away. Next, take out the food. Use baking soda or kosher salt to put the fire out.

Don’t Constantly Flip Your Food

Some people love flipping constantly because it’s fun but doing so will not do much for your food. If you use direct heat for cooking burgers, hotdogs, or a steak, flip once midway of cooking.

Protein sticks to the grates as soon as it makes contact. Then it slowly starts to release itself naturally. Once it has done so, now is the time to flip. Use a pair of tongs for this..  remember not to oil the grates. But oil the food instead. 

Avoid Cross-Contamination

Cross-contamination leads to food-borne disease. For this reason, don’t use the same tongs and platters for food and raw meat. 

A real good idea is to separate the tongs with color coated duct tape. You can use red tape for raw meat and green for eatable food. The colors will remind you which one to use. Also, always clean the tongs and plates after use…

Hold back The Sauce For Later

A common mistake many outdoor cooks make is by applying sauce too early. You should only put sauce on your food when there are about 10 minutes to go. If it takes 2 or 3 hours to cook then apply sauce 30 minutes before it’s completed.

The reason why you should not use sauce too early is because of the sugar in it. Sugar burns fast leading to outside burns on your food while the inside remains raw

Don’t Cut To See if it’s Ready

People test for doneness by cutting the food but this is not the right way to do.. You don’t want to drain the rich juices out from protein. Also if you cut too early, the area will overcook. A better way to check if it is ready is by using a meat thermometer. 


Grilling is fun however you need to be responsible while preparing food. There are a lot of mistakes that people make that lead to bad food or damage to the grill. Don’t constantly flip your food and refrain from applying sauce too early.

Remember to oil the food and not the grill. Also, clean the grill regularly before and after cooking. And when you are cooking, don’t cut to see if food is ready. Use a meat thermometer instead.

Know the cooking methods and don’t spray water when fire flares up., Baking soda works better. Furthermore, avoid cross-contamination.

Follow these rules while cooking outside and you will be the best cook in the neighborhood. Best of luck and I hope you make culinary masterpieces in the days to come.