Prevent Outdoor Cooking Mistakes

Grilling at summer weekend. Fresh meat and vegetables preparing on grill.

As humans, we all make mistakes. It’s simply our nature to do so, and cannot always be prevented. When it comes to barbecuing, we often make mistakes that we don’t even realize until we taste our food, or something potentially dangerous happens.

Some mistakes just mean that the food you cook is not going to taste as good, while others could potentially mean a trip to the hospital, or a visit from your claims representative on your home insurance policy. No matter the severity of the mistake, you should do your best to try to avoid them whenever possible, right?

Cooking Mistakes

You must properly prepare your meat, before cooking it. You should never attempt to cook meat on a grill when it is still frozen, or even partially frozen. Thaw your meat by setting it out for 12 to 24 hours before your meal or by thawing it in a microwave for best results.

Once meat is cooked, never put it back in on the same plate you had it on when it was raw. This could cause the spread of many unwanted illnesses.

Cooking with charcoal lighter fluid can be a blessing or a burden! The lighter fluid will cause the food you are cooking to taste different than with other types of grills. If you attempt to light the charcoal with out lighter fluid, it can cause a lot of frustration because charcoal can be difficult if not impossible to light without it.

Never poke your meat while it is cooking. Poking holes in meat will cause the juice inside to leak out into the bottom of the grill.  Not only will this make your food dry and unappealing in the end, but it also could potentially ruin your barbeque grill. At the very least, it will cause a buildup of unwanted grease and juices on the grill, which will make cleanup a task.

Once the meat is on the grill, try not to open the lid too many times. Each time you open the lid, you change the temperature in the grill. The constant change in temperature and the air flow will cause your meat to dry up quickly.

Remember that the higher the heat is not always the better. While it is ok to quickly cook food, turning the heat up will just cause the meat to dry out and potentially burn.

Using tin foil or aluminum foil will make cleaning easier, however, it can cause your food to have more of a fried taste then a grilled taste.

Dangerous Mistakes

Never, under any circumstance, should you leave a grill alone when it is in use. Grilling does have fire involved, and accidents can happen. Fire spreads quickly, so being aware of your grill could mean the difference between a small fire that is quickly extinguished, and a visit from the fire department.

Never place a hot grill against a wall, even if the fire is already completely out. A hot grill can heat up an exterior wall to the point of combustion. Also, do not put the grill cover back on until you are sure that the grill is completely cool.

Your grill should be cleaned after each and every use. While no one likes cleaning the grill, it is essential for the life and safety of your grill. If you allow your grill to sit dirty, not only are you causing a potential fire and health hazard, but you are ultimately making it harder on yourself when it does come time for clean up.

Make sure that your grill is completely cold before cleaning it. Spraying oil and cleaning agents on a hot surface could cause it to ignite. Be careful, because the grill may seem cool, but may still be hot in certain areas. You do not want to sustain a burn.

Hope these tips help you enjoy a fun summer grilling out and prevent outdoor cooking mistakes!

16 thoughts on “Prevent Outdoor Cooking Mistakes

  1. Good tips and the perfect time for them with it being BBQ season. I just learned about putting charcoal in an empty egg crate to make it start easier. Why didn’t I think of that! 🙂

  2. Great BBQing safety tips. I have to admit I have been guilty of some of the bad errors. I once witnessed a young man catch himself on fire by squirting lighter fluid on an open flame!!!

  3. Thanks for the tip on not poking the meat for the juices to leak out into the grill, causing a potential fire hazard.

  4. These are really important tips in keeping everyone safe while grilling and eating! I’ve never thought about not poking holes in the meat before. Good to know. Thank-you!

  5. Great tips. I also recently read not to use a wire brush to clean your grill, the wires have been found in the food.

  6. Thanks, I never use lighter fluid these days. A charcoal chimney is my best friend during the summer 🙂 Thanks

  7. I’ve known most of these, all great tips, I know not everyone knows all of this. Our next door neighbor had his grill against his house… it melted the siding and did so for probably about 4 feet ABOVE the top of the grill! They definitely get very hot! He’s lucky he didn’t start it on fire.

  8. Also watch where you are grilling, I have seen hot coals fall out and if they hit dry grass or leaves it can ignite it. Not only do grills need to be watched, but outdoor fryers for fish and turkey need constant attention too.

  9. Great tips. Im one of those people who has to have everything well done and I’m still surprized at how many people use the same plate they had raw meat on. If sometime else is grilling then I watch to make sure my kids don’t Get food poison. The tip about letting the juices out by checking the meat is good since I do that and never thought about it.

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