Summer is quickly approaching, and that means most of us will be firing up the backyard grill. Here are 10 tips for spectacular summer grilling.

  1. Start with a clean grill. Use a sturdy metal brush to clean the grates in between uses. (This is easiest when the grill is hot.)
  2. Don’t move the food around. In general, the fewer times you flip something, the better (once is ideal for most meats). If the meat sticks to the grill, let it cook more — it will unstick itself when it’s ready for flipping.
  3. Don’t squeeze or flatten meats. That burst of sizzling flame that comes from squishing a burger with a spatula may be tempting. What’s creating that flame burst? Fat. Fat gives meat its juicy flavor. Don’t squish meat, because you will squeeze out the taste and moisture.
  4. A spray bottle is handy to prevent flare-ups. Flames are not good for your food — they will char it unpleasantly. Keeping a spray bottle filled with water handy will allow you to dampen flare-ups without interfering with heat.
  5. Invest in a meat thermometer. It is hard to tell meat’s temperature merely by touching it. A more accurate method: A quick check of temperature from a thermometer. Your confidence in grilling will skyrocket with this one $10 purchase.
  6. Avoid putting cold foods straight on the grill. Let meat come to temperature on the counter for 30 minutes before grilling. This will help it cook more evenly. 
  7. Undercooking foods just slightly is ok. Food continues to cook after it leaves the grill. This is called carryover cooking. Food temperature can go up about five degrees after leaving the grill, so plan accordingly.
  8. Let your meat rest! Allow your meat to sit undisturbed for five to 15 minutes after cooking, this will allow the juices to redistribute. The large the piece of meat, the longer the rest time. Resting is an important key to juicier meat.
  9. Don’t over-char meat with bones to cook it through. No one wants to eat meat covered in thick, black char. If you choose thicker meats with bones, such as chicken thighs or legs, cook them on high heat to get a nice crust, and then move to lower, indirect heat on the grill. This allows the meat to cook through more slowly without overcooking the outside. 
  10. Keep your menu simple when serving a crowd. Working with numerous cook times for different proteins and veggies can easily become stressful, and it can lead to errors and overcooking. Keep the protein options down as much as possible, and offer a variety of interesting side dishes, sauces, or condiments.

And to get the most accurate weather forecast for your day cooking outside, trust the 18 Storm Team, each week they will let you know what day is looking the best for you to get outside fire up your grill.