10 Grilling Tips for A Great Cookout Everytime

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Sausages on the grill

With these tips you can focus on what’s important: the food!

Hey folks, Otis here. As some of you may know by now, any day that I have the opportunity to fire up the grill is a great day. Truthfully, there isn’t too much outside of close family and friends that warms my heart like cooking out in the backyard. And you know what? That’s exactly why this site was born. My goal is to share to joy of grilling with folks that haven’t started cooking their dinners on a charcoal grill yet. To that end, this post is going to go over 10 grilling tips that will lead to a successful, fun, and safe cookout every single time.

 For starters, none of this stuff is overly complicated. It’s all about getting your ducks in a row so that things run smoothly. There shouldn’t be any stress or frustration anytime you fire that grill up. Cooking out should be fun! That’s the goal. So these pointers are designed to keep things flowing smoothly, so you can focus on what’s most important: grilling some great food, and sharing some great times with the people close to you. Let’s git to it!


The 10 Grilling Tips


  1. First things first. Make sure you Start With A Clean Grill. That’s the most important thing. It’s just a best practice. A clean grill guarantees a good time. Believe me, you don’t want talk of ‘yeah we had fun Saturday until we got home and realized my wife had food poisoning!’ You wouldn’t eat at a restaurant that didn’t routinely clean its equipment, right? Right. So let’s keep our grills clean.

  2. Make Sure You Have All Your Supplies. When you know you’re going to cook out, even if its a spur-of-the-moment thing, do yourself a favor and get all the things you need together. That means making a mental checklist of the things you normally use everytime you grill. And most important, check to make sure that you have those things in the house. There’s nothing worse than reaching for barbecue sauce once the food is cooking and then realizing that you don’t have it. The point is to be prepared.

  3. Do All of Your Prep work beforehand. A self explanatory point. We are going in order so that you can easily transition from one step to another. There’s no harm done if you do some prep work while the grill’s getting hot. What you don’t want to happen is put some meat on the grill while trying to finish fixing other dishes. This takes your focus off of the food on the grill – that’s not advisable. Have your stuff in order so that things run smoothly.

  4. Heat the grill properly. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got less than a half hour till kickoff, or the guests are due to arrive. Make sure to fire up the grill and give those coals the time they need to get sufficiently hot. Trust me, its awfully embarrassing when you go to get the food and discover that the flame went out! That’s been known to happen when the grill doesn’t heat properly. Please don’t make that rookie mistake (shoot, I have before). Start cooking after the charcoal ashes over. Not before.

  5. Finish the Sides First. We all know from experience that once that food comes off the grill, everyone’s ready to eat. That makes it an inopportune time to finish up making the cole slaw. Doing such a thing makes you look bad. The brutal truth is that your guests will hold it against you that things weren’t in order (in fact, that goes for everything on the list). If you have help, use it. For instance, when I’m out back on the grill, my better half will tend to the sides. An arrangement like that is fine, as long as it’s time to eat when the food comes off the grill.

  6. Don’t Fuss With the Meat. This is the hard part. When you get your food on the grill, resist the temptation to mess with it. A simple enough point, but its a lot tougher than you might think. Once the meat starts to cook, the impulse to check it, turn it, add some sauce, and check the doneness will have you flipping that hood every few minutes. Resist – let the grill do it’s work.

  7. Dry first, wet last. When you start putting foods on the grill, remember to cook the things that aren’t dripping in marinade before the foods soaked with barbecue sauce and marinades. Even if you are sure to let the excess sauce drip off the meats, keep in mind those ‘wet’ foods are going to leave a sticky residue. The easy fix is dry first, wet last.

  8. Stay safe. Always, always be safe. It is important to note that each time you grill, you are starting a fire in your backyard. With that in mind, an once of prevention goes a long way. Keep the kids away from the grill at all times. And keep the lighter fluid and charcoal bag at least 10 feet from the grill. As for that grill, make sure that is at least 10 feet from the house itself. Also, pay attention when working around the grill. A careless mistake can lead to a tipped grill, which would cause some real trouble. Make sure to pay attention and mind your surroundings. That is the easiest way to stay safe.

  9. Let the grill burn out overnight. This one is real important. After you have enjoyed your barbecue, close off all the vents and let the charcoal burn itself out overnight. This is key for a couple of reasons. For one, if there are any dishes that could stand to cook a little longer, its no problem to slap em back on the grill. For another, be careful to give those coals plenty of time to burn out. I have cooked out at night and checked the grill with my morning coffee in hand, only to discover that there were a handful of coals still burning. Its not all that odd for such a thing to happen. Give your grill a full day to burn out to be safe.

  10. That leads us full circle. So now guess what you’re gonna do?

    Young man cleaning a gas grill

    After enough practice, you will clean yours just as fast

    Clean the grill the next day!  See how that works?  The most effective way to enjoy quality barbecue is to prepare it on a clean grill. I know cleaning the grill is the least fun part, but you have to be diligent about getting it done. Do it the day after you grill, every time. When you get into this habit, you will be setting yourself up for successful cookouts long term. And that is what separates you from the amateurs.


These 10 grilling tips are a guide to enjoying a smooth, safe, and clean barbecue everytime. The key is the be clean, organized, attentive, and safe. Pretty simple stuff. Enjoy yourself out there. As always, we say Happy Grilling!

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2 thoughts on “10 Grilling Tips for A Great Cookout Everytime

  1. Max says:

    #6 is my Achilles’ heel. Family members have been known to send in the kids to distract me while saner heads prevail and watch over the meat. I just can’t leave it alone. I know I should. I just can’t.

    These are great bbq tips.

    • Otis says:

      Honestly, it still gets me (like **cough, cough** earlier this week). I think the fiddling around with the meat gets us all. It’s one of those things that you have to guard against, but never overcome.

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