8 Common Grilling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

common grilling mistakes and how to avoid them

8 Common Grilling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them: It is not always enough to have a superb grilling machine. Sometimes, skill and expertise play a major role in determining the quality of your grilled food.

This means that you could be using a good, well functioning, and highly recommended grilling machine but still make certain grilling mistakes that leave your grilled food below par.

Grilling is the ultimate form of summer cooking – regardless of how much we want to deny it.

The atmosphere that comes along with the summer tends to make us want to spend as much time as possible outside.

And cooking outdoors via grilling makes the summer experience even more exciting.

However, the thought of grilling might sound intimidating, especially for people who have never done it before. But grilling is not as difficult as you think.

The following grilling guidelines/rules and common mistakes to avoid would help you ensure that you have a seamless grilling experience, even though it’s your first time grilling.

Common Grilling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Below are the eight common grilling mistakes you should be wary of:

1. Working with only your grill’s hot spots

Almost every grill has hot spots and cold spots. Usually, it is a lot better to start out grilling on the hot spots before transferring to the cold spots.

This way, you ensure that the outside of your food gets charred up while the inside cooks slowly and evenly upon transfer to the cooler spot.

A common mistake people make is grilling on only the hot spot. This prevents the food from properly cooking on the insides, leaving you with poorly grilled food.

To prevent this, you should make use of both the hot spots and the cold spots of your grill.

An easy way to find out where those hot spots are is to place a single row of sliced bread on your preheated grill.

The areas of the grill that quickly burn the bread are the hot spots.

2. Grilling right away

Preheating your grill before you begin cooking anything on it is a must-do if you don’t want to encounter problems of inconsistent heat, your food sticking to the grill grates, or developing any funny flavor.

After setting up your grill, cover it and leave it to preheat for at least 5-10 minutes before you start cooking.

If you are using a charcoal grill, wait till the coals begin to form that grey/white color.

This ensures that your grill would have reached its heating potentials before mounting any pressure on it to cook anything.

This way, you eliminate those unpredictable cook times and help you achieve dark grill marks and a deep smoky flavor.

3. You slather the grill grates with oil

Oil helps to keep the food from sticking to the grill and prevents dangerous flare-ups. But when you oil the grill grates instead of the food, you are increasing the chances that your food would get burnt as oil burns away at high temperatures.

And this makes cleaning up after grilling even more difficult. To prevent this, oil the food and not the grill grates.

4. Opening the lid too frequently

Doing this causes all of the heat to escape. The lids aren’t just there to sit pretty; they’re an essential part of the grill kit.

They help to keep the temperature in your grill trapped inside and stable.

Grills cook from both the bottom and the top, and opening the lid too often can result in food that is burnt on the bottom and undercooked or pale on top.

If you can avoid it, try not to open the lid too often during cooking.

5. Burning your wooden skewers

Most skewers are made out of bamboo and therefore burn very easily, even before the food is cooked.

To prevent this, it helps to soak your skewers in water overnight before grilling.

However, if you spontaneously come up with the decision to grill food and as a result, do not have the luxury of an overnight preparation, then take at least 30 minutes out to soak the skewers before grilling.

6. Brushing your meats with the sauce too early

Adding everything on your grill right from the beginning might make you seem like a pro but in reality, the reverse is the case.

Sauces are prone to burning due to the high sugar content. Therefore, brushing your meat with the sauce too early in the cooking process causes them to burn, leaving a bitter taste on the outside layer.

To prevent this, brush the sauce on the meat after the meat is cooked, preferably the last few minutes before you take them off the grill.

7. Grilling meat straight from the refrigerator

Don’t try to cook cold meat! Cooking anything cold means it would take longer to heat up, therefore burning out useful time and resources.

More so, the temperature at the surface and cores of cold meat would not be the same, as the meat may appear warm on the surface but still be chilly inside.

Attempting to grill cold meat could result in you having half-cooked food.

Before you throw your next rib, steak, or fish fillet on the grill, take the chill off of your meat. Let it sit out of the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes before grilling.

8. Slicing meat before it rests

Another common grilling mistake is not giving the meat rest time after taking it off the grill.

Your first instinct might be to eat as soon as possible; after all, you’ve been standing at the grill all day and smelling all of those delicious aromas.

However, slicing the meat before it redistributes prevents the juices of the meat from redistributing such that with the first cut or trim, the whole juice escapes. Wait around and allow the meat to rest for at least 5 minutes before proceeding to slice.

Quick Grilling Guidelines

It helps to keep the following rules in mind when grilling food:

  • Ensure you use the proper grilling tools. A pair of tongs, a grill brush, a long-handled spatula, and a hinged-wire basket are some basic tools you should stock up.
  • Prepare all the condiments, plates, utensils, table setting that you’ll need after grilling. This is because unlike cooking in the kitchen, grilling doesn’t allow you to slow down.
  • Keep your grill away from anything flammable like lighter fluid, fences, your house, etc.
  • Spice your food at least an hour before you grill to allow the flavor to sink in.
  • Do not add sugary sauces or marinades to meat on the grill since this causes burning over an open flame. Place grilled food on a clean plate, specifically when cooking raw meat.
  • Trim excess fat from any meat you plan to cook beforehand. This is because flare-ups are usually caused by excess fat. Also, when you flip the meat, move it to a different part of the grill to spread out the fat drips. Do not use spray bottles of water to control flare-ups, as this will only make the fire worse.
  • Hot grills are easier to clean! Hence, it is advisable to clean your grill right after cook. A brush and a small amount of elbow grease will do.

Top Gas Grills for Barbecues

Royal 4-Burner Gas Cooker (RG-C40BS)

Royal 3-Burner Gas Cooker + Hot Plate (RG5631S)

Royal 5 Burner Gas Cooker (RG-CTZ50S)


With the right knowledge, grilling food can be a fun experience. Take your time, get the necessary tools you’ll need, observe the rules, as much as you can avoid making those mistakes, and enjoy the process. This grilling guidelines/rules and common mistakes to avoid would help you ensure that you have a seamless grilling experience, even though it’s your first time grilling.

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