10 Barbeque Mistakes To Avoid
Summertime is a glorious time for families and friends to gather in the yard for a barbeque. However, it can all turn out pretty badly if you do not get it right. Everyone could end up with sooty slabs of meat on their plate. What was meant to be a day of fun could turn out to be a sorry day for everyone.
However, it does not have to be like that all the time. If you know what you are doing wrong, perhaps everyone might be more eager to attend your barbeques. Take time to go through all the standard mistakes and see which ones you have been making. Whether you're using a gas grill or a charcoal grill, there are some rules when dealing with a hot grill and hot coals that you should follow to avoid these common mistakes that can completely ruin your whole grilling experience.
Equipment For Your Barbecue
Below are some of the items that you will need for your barbeque:
- Aluminum foil
- An apron
- Grilling gloves
- Steel spatula
- Locking Tongs
- Grilling fork
- Condiments, spices, and sauces
Popular BBQ Mistakes To Avoid
1. Using Too Much Heat
For a long time, I used to think that the bigger the fire, the better, how wrong I was. With time, I have come to learn that the only thing a huge barbeque grill fire achieves is burnt meat. Barbequing is all about getting the meat to turn from being tough and chewy into a soft juicy steak that everyone enjoys biting into with friends.
In most cases, you find that you are forced to line the edge of your grill with sausages as you try to save them from being charred. To get over this issue, you just need to divide the grill into two. On one side, have an even distribution of coals.
On the other side of the grill, have a thin layer of coal produces a fraction of the heat. It will give the best control over the barbeque. You will be able to cook the meat on the cooler side and use the hot side to sear it and give it the vibrant golden colour.
2. Cooking Without a Thermometer
No matter how much of a pro you are, trying to barbeque with ‘feels’ only usually ends up quite severely. At best, you will end up getting for consistent results every time you grill. The reason for this is ambient temperatures are always changing, which makes it hard to predict how well done the meat is inside. Besides that, each piece of meat is unique in its properties, and it needs to be treated that way.
To use the thermometer, stick it into the thickest part of your meat. It helps you to understand how well-done your meat is. However, a thermometer itself will not help you. You also need to know what to look for in the meat. For instance, does the meat brisket jiggle just the way you like it?
3. Using Sauce too Soon
If you love barbequing, then maybe you have tried to use sauce. However, every time you try that, your lovely ribs turn into cinders. That can easily be solved if you understand a bit of chemistry.
The sauces used in barbequing have some sugar. When sugar is exposed to heat too long, it caramelizes. It latterly loses or its water and turns into nothing more than charred wood. You can avoid this by waiting until the very end to add your sauces. It gives them just enough time to get soaked into the meant but not enough to start caramelizing.
4. Not Cleaning the Grill
When I am starting barbequing, I never used to clean the grill. When I was still a beginner in barbequing every time I would lift a nice stake off the rack, the beautiful crust I had worked so hard to create would become damaged. Parts of it would be ripped off and left stuck on the grill.
It is only later that I realized I was the primary cause. Grills do not have a self-clean function. While the grill is still warm, scrub the grill using a hard bristle brush. After that, dip a wad of paper towel in vegetable oil and using coal tongs, oil the grate.
5. Failing to Use the Lid Properly
The lid is not there just for aesthetics. It is an essential part of the cooking process. If you want to cook a thick piece of meat, it can be especially useful. When you have the lid down, it reduces the heat being produced by the colas and aids the cooking process to go on gradually.
When you open the lid, it lets in more air, which causes the coals to heat up much faster. Thus, you should keep the lid closed for a slow cooker and open it up to create the thick crust at the end of your cooking.
Make your peace with the grill lid. You have to decide whether to have it on or leave it alone. However, you can just pop it on and off at will as this will affect how consistently your meat is cooked.
6. Seasoning too Much
Most people who are new to barbequing will go to the store and grab every seasoning they can find. However, that is not always the solution to producing excellent results. The point of a barbeque is to enjoy meat in its most pristine nature. Use only enough seasoning on the meat. Ensure that it does not mess that natural, tasty juices of the meat.
You will soon realize that the less seasoning you use, the better you like your meat. Limit the number of spices applied to a maximum of five. Ensure that the quantity of seasoning you use does not end up drowning the meat’s taste.
7. Control the Fire
A common rookie mistake in barbequing is letting the fire control you instead of you controlling the fire. When this happens, you will find yourself dancing around the flames trying to move items on the grill to where the fire is not too hot. However, that should not happen.
Learn to use the tongs to control where the fire is before it gets out of hand. You should always leave at least a quarter of the grill without fire or a deficient heat. It gives you a place where you can move the meat if the fire gets out of hand. It also means you will be able to avoid flare-ups.
While you are watching the meat, you also need to watch how the fire it is developing.
8. Not Preheating the Grill
Many problems arise when you do not preheat the grill. One of the most obvious is that the meat will give you inconsistent results. Besides that, you will find it hard to predict the cooking times. The result is that you end up with the first pieces either overcooked or undercooked.
Lack of preheating also affects the flavors. Some of the sauce and seasoning you use will not get enough heat to unlock its flavors. Thus, you will end up with meat that is nicely done but does not have the great taste of meat cooked on a preheated grill.
9. Using Low-Quality Meat
Some people want to go and buy the cheapest meat they can find and try to achieve excellent results with it. However, if you are going to get the best from your meat, you need to look for the finest cuts of meat.
It may take you a while to hunt down good quality meat, but once you do, you will never regret the decision. If you find grass-fed beef, the better for you. It has a wide array of natural flavors that cannot be achieved using any seasoning or sauces. If you do not understand the different qualities of meat, take time and talk to your butcher. It will help you know meat and its various grades.
10. Lack of Patience
Being good at barbequing is not something that happens overnight. It is dependent on the weather, the meat, the equipment, and other conditions. You have to be patient and wait for all these conditions to come together. Besides that, you have to be patient and willing to learn from your mistakes.
It is not something that will happen overnight or over one summer. Sometimes, it can take years of practice and watch to become good at it. If you have a friend who seems to do it expertly, try speaking to him. You may get a few tips that help you become good at it.
Barbequing is a fun activity, but it can be even more fun if you know how to get it right. Friends and family will always be jumping at the opportunity to join you for a barbeque if your grilled food is worth the wait. If you have not been able to do it right thus far, some of these common mistakes might be what is hindering you.
Try and avoid them the next time you want to barbeque. Hopefully these pro tips answered your questions. If you have any comments or thoughts, feel free to drop them off in the comment section below, we will appreciate them. If you liked this article share it with your friends, it would help them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Indirect Grilling?
Indirect grilling is a barbecue technique that divides the grill’s heat in two zones. The coals are placed on one side of the grill, and the other side is left without direct access to the heat. This allows you to cook food slowly with low heat without having direct access to the flame.
Why Does Food Stick to My Grill?
Food sticks to a dirty grill, so you should clean the grill before each use. This can be done by using a grill spray cleaner. Or, you can heat up your grill, scrape the grill grates using a wire grill brush when they are hot, and lightly oil them before placing your food.
Should You Grill with the Lid Open or Closed?
Quick-cooking foods (like vegetables, shrimp, or thin steaks) can be grilled directly over the flames with the grill open. If you are grilling using an indirect heat method, you want to close the lid. This is especially true if you are cooking thick steaks or bone-in chicken.
Why Should You Use a Meat Thermometer?
A meat thermometer checks the doneness of your meat. This allows you to cook it to a perfectly-cooked temperature every time. You can insert the thermometer before the grilling begins. Always insert the thermometer into the center of the thickest part of the meat, away from any bones, fat, or gristle.
How Often Do You Add Charcoal to a Grill?
Starting a charcoal grill is easy when you use a charcoal chimney, but how do you keep the charcoal grill lit? You should pack your coals together for the strongest, most direct heat. This will keep the fire very hot and allow you to throw on a briquette or two to keep the fire going. Be sure to empty the ash before each new fire to ensure there is enough air to keep your fires going.