Dudes standing over a grill burning meat: a paragon image of 20th-21st century Americana. Maybe we can change that a little bit.
There are a lot of common mistakes in barbecuing (including knowing what "barbecue" is), and possibly even more in standard grilling, due to the respective higher heat. Avoid these errors to improve your outside cooking skills:
1. DON'T slather meat in barbecue sauce before grilling or barbecuing. It will all burn off while your ribs or chicken slowly cooks.
**DO apply a dry rub before cooking, and DO apply a sauce during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, or simply serve sauce on the side.
2. DON'T carve all the fat away from your meat. This might work fine for fast grilling, but for barbecuing, the slow cooking process allows rendered fat to baste the meat to prevent it from drying out.
**DO score the fatty pieces with a knife and cook "fat side up." Later in the cooking process, when you're almost done, you can cook fat side down to allow the remaining fat to melt away onto the coals.
3. DON'T just use one pair of tongs, unless you go inside and thoroughly wash them before your final use with them. It's unsanitary to touch tongs with raw meat and then use them to handle the finished product.
**DO keep raw meat tongs and cooked meat tongs. Additionally, in a restaurant setting, you'll want different tongs for different types of meat, but at home this is not such a big deal.
4. DON'T keep the grill open for large cuts of meat. Everything will dry out.
**DO close the grill for meat that takes more than 10 or 15 minutes to cook. When grilling sausages or brats or steaks at a high heat, you can leave the grill open if you prefer.
5. DON'T pour your coals into your coal pan before they're well lit enough, especially if you lit them with the aid of lighter fluid. For one thing, they won't be hot enough, and for another thing, they'll be toxic.
**DO allow the coals in your charcoal chimney to light all the way to the top, until the flame dies down and the coals are all white, THEN pour them into your coal pan.
6. DON'T be stingy with the amount of coals you use just because you're doing low temperature cooking. You'll be surprised how fast the coals will go out.
**DO use plenty of coals in order to keep the heat going for a long time, but keep a distance between the coals and the meat to allow lower temperature barbecuing. If you don't have the capability to keep a distance between the coals and the meat, pour the coals to one side of the charcoal pan and keep the meat on the opposite side of the heat source when placing onto the grill grates.
THINK YOU CAN IMPART SOME WISDOM? SEND US YOUR IDEAS! EXPECT A LOT MORE BARBECUE DON'TS SOON!