Simple grilling tips

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meats veggies on grill
Place meats in the center and veggies on the side
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These simple grilling tips will help you serve fantastic food every time

The grill pares the cooking process down to its most basic elements: fire and raw ingredients. The various methods used to get that perfect smoky flavor may not be complex, but these simple grilling tips help ensure your safety and success every time you fire up out back.

Safety First

  • Read the merchant's instructions to familiarize yourself with any new-to-you features.
  • Always use it outdoors and keep it a good distance from the house, wooden fences, branches or other growth. 
  • Position it on level ground or platform. For a wooden deck, slide metal or fireproof material underneath to prevent any embers from catching the structure on fire. 
  • Store a fire extinguisher within easy reach and make sure everyone knows where it is. 
  • Avoid using it on super windy days and don't walk away unless someone else is there to tend the food.

Choose Direct or Indirect

The grill offers two choices when deciding how to cook your food: direct or indirect heat. If you choose direct heat, you'll place the food directly over the main source of heat. This method works well for the proteins that typically have blackened grill marks, like hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks and pork.

Indirect heat is a slower method of cooking because you place the food off to the side, away from direct flames and high heat. This method allows you to cook thick cuts of meat all the way through without burning the outside.


The perfect burger requires consistent heat. The way to achieve this is by simply spreading your hot coals evenly. If you're cooking a whole batch for the family or guests, even heat is the best way to avoid serving some unfortunates burnt or dry burgers.

Whether you're making burgers, kebobs or steaks, turn the food only once on each side. Use tongs or a good spatula to flip as stabbing food releases moisture, causing it to dry out.


To barbecue with indirect heat, push the charcoals all to one side with long tongs. Place a tin pan on the cleared area to capture the drippings from meat and any glazes. Rather than poking holes in thick meat, try searing every side. This will keep the inside tender and the outside nice and crispy.

Pay Attention to Temperature

Most meats must reach a minimal temperature before they can safely be eaten. Until you're familiar with the time and look of fully cooked proteins, use a meat thermometer to be double sure. Here are the safe minimum temperatures:

  •     Poultry 150 degree F 
  •     Pork (medium) 145 degree F 
  •     Pork (well) 160 degree F 
  •     Beef (rare) 140 degree F 
  •     Beef (medium rare) 150 degree F 
  •     Beef (medium) 160 degree F 
  •     Beef (well) 170 degree F 
  •     Lamb 160 degree F 

Simple Grilling Tips for Veggies and Fruit

Your backyard barbecue doesn't have to be all meat all the time. Vegetables and fruit have just as much flavor to offer your plate, and they compliment protein with texture and variety. OR, if you're feeling feeling adventurous, this top ten shares unusual foods for the grill to try.

To figure out which veggies you like best on the grill, make up a few shish kebobs to try a whole array. Chop up some peppers, onions, carrots, zucchini and eggplant into same-size pieces and arrange them on a skewer with light seasoning.

TLC Cooking suggests you drizzle oil on top of vegetables whether you're cooking them whole or on skewers. Since they don't naturally contain fat, the oil prevents them from burning or sticking to the foil.

Fruits that grill especially well include peaches, pineapple and tomatoes. Note that these have high moisture content so they need to cool longer than meats and veggies before they're cool enough to eat.

As you experiment with different marinades and dry rubs, you'll begin to get a sense of which meats go best with a baked potato and bakes beans or salad, and which ones you love with a side of grilled peach and a chilled glass of white wine.

These simple grilling tips are easy to remember. You'll see how this style opens up an endless variety of flavor combinations and techniques. Best of all, it creates an ideal atmosphere for casual entertaining. Enjoy!

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