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Summer is in full swing, and that means that grilling season has officially begun. Grilling, especially on a backyard grill, can be an enjoyable family event for many people across the country. Learning how to grill is one thing, but mastering your BBQ can get the whole family to want an invitation to your next event. Take the time this summer to master your grill, and you'll soon become the most popular person in the neighborhood.

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Use a clean brush or a sprig of rosemary for basting

Using a clean brush for basting is one of the most important things you can do to keep your meat clean. Hoses or tongs can contaminate the food with bacteria that may not have been killed off when they were cooked on a grill, and hands are just going to make everything worse by transferring bacteria from your fingers into the sauce.

Rack of baby back ribs on the grill. Please see my portfolio for other food related images. mphillips007 / Getty Images
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Make sure there's enough space between each piece of meat that you are cooking

Overcrowding your grill with too much meat is one of the most common grilling mistakes people make. Not only does too much meat on the grill mean that your food will take longer to cook, but it also means that everything cooked in between those pieces of meat may end up steaming and not getting any flavor from the charcoal or gas flame.

Fish and sausage on a grill Photo by El Chefo on Unsplash
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Be mindful about how much oil you're adding when you grill vegetables

Try not to use too much oil when you're grilling your vegetables. Putting too much oil on vegetables will make them soggy instead of crispy. Using too much oil can also cause an unpleasant grease smell that will waft into your house.

Family having BBQ on beach Peter Cade / Getty Images
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Use tongs instead of forks to turn your food over

Using tongs is an excellent way for you to grip your food better while cooking, making turning over the food much more straightforward. Using tongs also helps avoid poking holes in what you are trying to grill- this means that there will be less airflow and moisture seeping out of the food.

Breakfast in the Irish countryside. Photo by Sandie Clarke on Unsplash
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Don't use the same utensil for different foods — try to have one for meats and one for vegetables

Use different utensils when grilling to limit the chance of cross-contamination. You want to avoid cross-contamination, so make sure that you have one set of tongs for meat and another for veggies! When grilling foods with a high risk of contamination (seafood or poultry), be mindful about which utensils you're using for each. A great way to fix this problem is by designating certain utensils to poultry and seafood while keeping others for fruits and veggies. Since this directly impacts the health of your guests, this is one of the grilling mistakes you should always be wary of.

Summer Barbecue Grill Party Scene On The Backyard Lawn AVNphotolab / Getty Images
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Keep an eye on your grill so you can take it off the heat before it burns or catches fire

Always keep an eye on your grill to make sure it doesn't catch fire or burn. If it starts to smoke, turn off the heat and wait for a few minutes before you resume grilling. It's important not to leave your grill unattended while cooking! Be sure that someone is always on the watch to take it off the flame if needed.

Cooking cheeseburgers at night on a Weber Charcoal Grill Photo by Brian Kimble on Unsplash
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Remember that there are two sides of the grill

Grill items such as corn and potatoes on the other side from where you're cooking meat if they need more time to cook. Don't be afraid to use the entire surface area of your grill. If you need to use both sides, make sure that your meat is cooked first, and then rotate your vegetables or other foods over so they can cook for a while.

Chef cooking sausages and vegetables on skewers outdoors mediaphotos / Getty Images
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Don't grill more food than you can cook

It's easy to get carried away when grilling, but make sure that you're not cooking more than what your grill can handle. If the food is too close to each other on the grate or if it's piled up in a heap, there won't be enough heat for all of it to cook properly, and some will burn while others won't cook at all.

Lime being squeezed over mackerel on barbecue Joff Lee / Getty Images
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Keep the grill level and clean — don't let it get too hot in one spot

Keeping the grill clean will reduce flare-ups and help the food cook more evenly. If you notice a particular area of your grill is getting too hot, it may be time to give it a good scrubbing or brush off any excess debris before you start cooking.

Man barbecuing burgers on grill in backyard Thomas Barwick / Getty Images
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Use a meat thermometer to ensure that your food is cooked thoroughly without overcooking

Using a meat thermometer is the best way to ensure that your food is cooked thoroughly without overcooking. Often people undercook their meat and turn off their grill, thinking they can start their meal. However, if their meat is still raw, this grilling mistake will have you restarting the barbecue and forcing your guests to wait that much longer for their meals.

Thermometer spoked into side of chicken to check temperature before serving. Tim Allen / Getty Images
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Let grilled meats rest before cutting into them, so they retain their juices

The process of resting ensures that the meat's juices redistribute, resulting in a more tender and juicy product. Resting grilled foods before serving them also provides an opportunity for any residual steam inside the grill from cooking to escape so that you can serve hot, evenly heated meals without worrying about burning yourself on sizzling hot plates!

A little 3 year old African-American boy sitting on his mother's lap at a backyard cookout, eating corn on the cob. kali9 / Getty Images
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Don't keep opening the lid

Opening the lid to your barbecue grill will allow the heat to escape, which is never a good thing. It can also cause flare-ups or, even worse–charred food!

Keep your grill closed as much as possible to ensure that you're giving yourself and your guests great-tasting barbecued dishes of meat every time! Anyone who has ever cooked on a barbecue knows how important it is not to keep opening the lid of their grill if they want delicious meats with a tender texture.

Hand On A Grill Lid Photo by Taylor Grote on Unsplash
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Don't move your meat too much

Avoid moving and flipping your meat too much on the grill. Grilling is all about high heat and achieving that perfect char on your food, so there's no need to move it around the grates of the barbecue constantly. If you keep flipping or moving meat too much when cooking on a BBQ, then it will never have time to cook through before it burns.

Man seasoning burgers and hot dogs on barbecue during tailgating party Thomas Barwick / Getty Images
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Don't use the wrong grilling technique

Grilling is a beautiful way to prepare food, and it's also one of the most versatile cooking methods out there. There are so many different ways that you can grill your meat or vegetables - from gas grills to charcoal-fueled fires to get just the right flavor profile for any meal. Take into consideration what flavor you want with your meat, and use the right grill accordingly.

Grill in spring over the fire Photo by Jana Leu on Unsplash
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Clean your dang grill

One of the worst grilling mistakes you can make is not taking care of your bbq grates. Make sure to take the proper steps so that your grill stays clean and your food doesn't get tainted with the flavors of any previous cooking. If you're using a charcoal grill, make sure that there are enough ashes on top to keep in heat - but not too much as it can spread out over your meat.

Getting the grill ready for some cooking - scraping old fat with the grill brush, blurred by the swift movements of cleaning.

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