If you’re new to grilling, this guide will help you grill like a pro. All you need are some essential tools, a good recipe, and these 10 BBQ tips for beginners, and you will become a grill master in no time.

When it comes to the world of cooking, there can be a bit of a learning curve before you bake a perfectly juicy piece of chicken or nail a nicely marinated steak with the perfect center. I’ve compiled a nice, easy list of 10 of my best tips and tricks to help you make good food that your family and friends will love.

Top 5 Tips

Identify hot areas on your barbecue

When it comes to your BBQ, you want to preheat your grill to medium. Then you want to determine where the hot spots on your grill are because they all have them. My tip for doing this is to lay slices of bread across your barbecue from front to back, flipping them when they begin to toast. When you flip over the bread, you will see variations in the color of the bread you laid down. You will see some spots are darker than others, indicating where the BBQ area is the hottest on your grill.

grilling temperature

Start with a Clean Grill

You want to start with a clean grill; this will allow the flavor of whatever you’re cooking to not mix with flavors from what was previously cooked on the grill.

I recommend cleaning the grill with a sturdy brush or wood grill scraper; this will help to clean up all the little bits left behind from your last grilling. I like to clean right after I’m finished cooking when the grill is still hot.

Don’t move food around, and don’t open the lid on the grill.

As hard as it is when it comes to grilling, most food only needs to be flipped once during the cooking process. Since you only need to flip your food once, the lid should stay down during this time. Having the lid closed will help prevent any flareups because you are limiting any oxygen entering the grill.

grilling steak and skewers
grilling steak and skewers

Use an instant read thermometer to check for a safe and desired temperature

When it comes to food safety, that is the most important thing, and it takes the guesswork out of whether your meat is done at a food-safe temperature. I like to use an instant-read thermometer or a manual thermometer to make sure the meat is at the proper temperature.

  • Rare beef 125°F
  • Well done, beef. 160°F
  • Ground Beef Burgers 160°F
  • Pork 145°F
  • Chicken 165°F

It’s always important to also remember that meat will continue to cook for another 5–10 degrees when it rests off of the grill, so take this into consideration when removing the meat from the grill. It will continue to cook slightly during the rest period.

Cooking directly or indirectly on the grill

You want to cook smaller pieces of meat that take 20 minutes or less on direct heat, and larger pieces of meat that take over 20 minutes should be grilled indirect. For example, you would cook burgers and steaks on direct heat while a whole chicken or ribs would be cooked indirectly.

What does cook with indirect heat mean?

It simply means that half of the grill will be heated while the other half is shut off. The meat you are cooking will sit on the side that has been shut off, and the meat will cook from the heat from the other side, which is why it’s called indirect heat.

The temperature of the grill should be around 350°F for indirect grilling, and you want to keep the lid closed so that it remains at that temperature. Opening and closing the lid changes the temperature drastically and can cause the meat to dry out.

Grilling whole butterflied chicken Close-up
Grilled whole butterflied chicken Close-up

Bonus tips

  • Cold Foods Avoid placing cold meat on the grill; allow it to come up to room temperature before placing it on the grill.
  • Never Flatten with a spatula when it’s on the grill. This is a mistake a lot of people make when grilling, but all it does is release all the juice from the meat, resulting in less flavor.
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