This weekend was the first time this year that I fired up my outdoor grill. Though the record-setting triple-digit heat on which I was grilling wasn’t fun, it was exhilarating, as always, to get in front of the grill and turn a variety of meats into deliciously charred meal centerpieces.
I was preparing for a barbecue, and I was a little rusty, but I ended up remembering everything I needed to do to avoid serving up burned food.
Here are the five crucial dos and don’ts that came back to me like riding a bicycle:
Do get everything together for your initial trip to the grill. Meaning your meat, your oil, and your utensils. I like to put the meat on a tray lined with waxed paper, resting the utensils on there, too. I hold my can of cooking spray in my hand.
Do stagger out the order of what you cook based on cooking times. I like to start with something that takes a long time to cook, like chicken, searing it over the flames, and then moving to the cool part of the grill. Then, I cook something that gets done faster, like hot dogs. And then I alternate. This ensures that there’s something to eat in case guests get hungry.
Don’t forget to have extra fuel on hand. I use a propane tank, and the worst thing that could happen would be for me to run out of fuel before the food stops cooking. I always have a spare tank.
Don’t leave uncooked food out. This sounds like a no-brainer until something happens to distract you. Keep your food refrigerated until you’re ready to put it on the grill.
Don’t abandon your guests, but don’t get distracted. You want to mingle and catch up on the latest news from friends and family, but don’t forget you’re cooking over a flame. The same goes for phone conversations or anything you might be watching on TV.