How to Avoid Mistakes When Grilling Meat

America’s love affair with barbeque began with the convergence of Native American and European methods for slow-cooking meats, and today has developed into the art of grilling that is loved across the country. Whether you’re new to the art or call yourself the master of the grill, here are a few areas you’ll want to stay sharp on to avoid the biggest grilling mistakes.

Cook Meat Properly

Sometimes your question might be, “How rare is too rare?” and other times you’re just wondering whether the meat is done or not. Either way, it’s always important to make sure that your meat has been cooked thoroughly without taking away the flavor. While certain meats can be safely eaten rare, Eat Right warns that ground meat (like in burgers and sausages) should always be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure safe consumption. 

The main concern with undercooked meat is that it may introduce pathogens into the body, so be sure to always test for doneness before taking your ground meat off the grill. The easiest way to do this is by using a meat thermometer, but cutting the meat open and taking a peek will work too.

Keep Your Grill Clean

When many people think of grilling great food, they don’t always think of cleaning their grill. But cleaning your grill’s grate after each use can help protect against excessive char and buildup, which can compromise the meat’s flavor and lead to slower cooking times. If your last BBQ had a lot of ashy-tasting meat, you’re well overdue for a clean.

One strategy is keep your grill clean as you’re cooking. Try oiling the grate beforehand with a brush or other grilling accessory. For best results, Sonoma Backyard recommends using an oil with a high smoke point to keep food from sticking to your grill. This will also help prevent a “burnt” taste in the meat. Scrape off all residue afterwards, and give your grates a good soak every now and then.

Have Proper Tools

Another perhaps somewhat overshadowed tip is to stock up on the right grilling tools. According to Cnet, meat thermometers, oiling and basting brushes, and long-reaching tongs are just a few essentials that will make your grilling sessions not only more successful but more enjoyable too. It’s a big mistake to just throw meat on the grill and have little to no tools to make sure the results are tasty and cooked to perfection. 

Joining the great American grilling tradition is a lot of fun, and veterans always welcome the opportunity to hone their skills on the grate. Whichever situation you’re in, avoid the common pitfalls of grilling so that you aren’t wasting money on that thick slab of ribs. With the right methods, everyone stands a good chance at becoming their own grillmaster.

Read this next: How to Put a Healthy Spin on Popular Meals

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