Show Off Your Chops

The Essential Dos & Don'ts of Grilling

Anthony Humphreys 

Fire + metal grate + meat = delicious. It seems like a simple equation, but there are so, so, so many ways to screw up grilling (like so many, dude). To help prime you to conquering prime rib, burgers, 'dogs, and every fantastic grill-able foodstuff out there, we compiled this handy list of dos and don'ts for your reference. You can thank us in excellently prepared meat products.

Anthony Humphreys

DON’T: douse charcoal with lighter fluid

Lighter fluid can be very useful in a pinch, but if you totally soak your coals in it that fuel coating takes a long time to burn off (time you could be grilling), and when it finally does, your food will taste like sucking a gas pipe.

DO: make a charcoal chimney

You’ll need: a lighter, a church key, a tin can (like for coffee), and some newspaper. First, use the church key to puncture holes along the base of the can; four or five is fine. Then, place a crumpled wad of newspaper at the bottom, but don’t ball it so dense that it won’t light. Through those holes you made, light the exposed newspaper, then place your coals on top. Once they’re dusted with ash and red, they’re ready. Alternatively, just buy a damn charcoal chimney.

Anthony Humphreys

DON’T: just pile the charcoal in and light it all up  

Unless you’re whipping up enough food to feed a reality fertility show family, there’s no need to ignite every square inch of the grill. To make a better use of space, light half of it. That leaves you half of the grill without direct heat, and at a warming, but not cooking temperature. That way, you have a spot to drop the patties to keep ‘em hot, without making them too well done.

DO: Make an Illuminati charcoal pyramid

Rather than pile the charcoal into the belly of the grill-beast at random, stack it into a sort-of pyramid, so it burns better, and so you have concentrated heat in the center. If something is cooking too fast, you can move it to the pyramid’s perimeter.

Anthony Humphreys

DON’T: skewer meats together that cook at different paces

You'll be stuck with raw chicken, burned shrimp, and maybe ok beef.

DO: when you shish kabob, soak the stick in water to save it from fire

Soak the skewer in water for half an hour. That way, it won’t catch fire when you use it to pierce that fat meat stack (we promise we'll never say that particular phrase again) and slap it on the grill.


Next time you decide to grill, know what you should absolutely file under “do?” TABASCO® Sauce. It’s the right move for whatever you’re grilling, so you can savor the flavor of summer. And for grilling recipes that will up your tasty, check out TABASCO.COM. 

Anthony Humphreys 

DON’T: brush on that barbecue sauce until the very last minute

Wait to baste your meat with barbecue sauce until it’s nearly cooked. Since the sauce has sugar, it will burn and char into a black crusty glaze when left on the grill for too long.

DO: marinate your meat overnight

Marinade is actually one of three flavor treatments you can add to your protein. In addition to whatever condiment, spices, oils, etc., marinades should be acidic (lemon juice, wine, vinegar) and are best suited for tough meat. Brines are salty and keep leaner meats like turkey from drying out. Rubs are a blend of herbs and spices or a nice thing to do for a friend after a hard day.

Anthony Humphreys 

DON’T: make a hat out of aluminum foil for your head

If aliens can travel millions of light years, they can probably penetrate a dork defense dome.

DO: make a hat out of aluminum foil for your meat

Well it's more like a tent, but we really wanted this setup to work. Once the meat is off the grill, make it a loose aluminum foil covering. Do this, leave it for ten minutes, and your meat will be tastier, as you’ve given it adequate time to reabsorb some of the juices it lost while it cooked, and you've kept it warm.

Anthony Humphreys 

DON’T: try to clean the grill surface with a sponge

While you don’t necessarily want yesterday’s flavors stuck to the grill, you especially don’t want spongy crumbs or soap. If it really needs a thorough washing, which grills don’t often need, then you should detach the grate and soak it, then rinse it thoroughly as soap is actually a laxative.

DO: try to clean the grill surface with an onion

Food bits stick heartily to woven metal, whether your grill is for charcoal cooking or a bejeweled tooth façade. In order clean your grilling surface, wait until you plan to cook with it, then, once it’s nice and hot, rub a halved onion along its surface. This cuts through the grease and fat, as onions are astringent, and adds flavor to your food, as onions have, you know, flavor.