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The Right And Wrong Way To Grill Common BBQ Foods

Compared to other culinary arts, grilling is relatively hard to screw up. But that's not to say it's easy. Here are ten tips that will make a huge difference, brought to you by McCormick® Grill Mates.

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1. Follow three simple rules to make your burgers happy.

superfantastic / Via Flickr: superfantastic

1. Flip burgers only once and don't use a spatula to flatten them out while they're cooking. Handling the meat too much will make it tough and dry.

2. Push an indent into the middle of the raw beef patty. Burgers will bulge in the middle while they cook and this will help keep the thickness even.

3. Don't cook your burgers directly over the flame. Keeping the meat in direct contact with the flame will result in a charred, acrid flavor.

2. Find out what's really going on inside your chicken.


Chicken is one of the trickier foods to grill because it's so easy to undercook it or overcook it. Also, don't hack your chicken to pieces to check if it's done -- instead, invest in a meat thermometer. The center temperature should reach between 170 and 180 degrees before it is considered safe to eat.

4. So sweet, yet so dangerous.

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Apply sweet sauces as the very last step. Sugary sauces will burn over high heat, so apply BBQ sauces or glazes within the last minute of cooking.

To satisfy both your sweet and savory cravings, follow this recipe for Brown Sugar Bourbon Ribs with Grilled Sweet Potatoes.

6. Unless you love the taste of smoke, keep the lid open for most grilling.

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Closing the lid should be reserved for grilling foods slowly over indirect heat. Closing it at high temperatures while cooking steaks or chicken breasts will create thick smoke that will diminish the taste of your dish.

8. Don't stab your brats to death.

Rachel Tayse / Via Flickr: 11921146@N03

And keep your dog away from the table!

Every time you stab your sausage to flip it over (or cut into it to see if it's done), you're releasing flavorful juices. Use tongs to flip your dogs and a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature (160 to 170 degrees).

9. Dry wood burns... Obviously.

Conanil / Via Flickr: conanil

Use metal skewers or soak your wooden skewers in water for at least an hour before you place them on the grill. Dry wood will burn right away and affect the flavor of the food.

10. Think about the cooking times needed for everything you stick on a kebob.

jeff_golden / Via Flickr: jeffanddayna

If you're grilling things that require different cooking heats and times, use seperate skewers for each item. And don't overcook your meat! Thinly cut pieces of meat will cook quickly and continue to cook after you remove them from the heat.

For something a little different on your skewers, try Grilled Lemon Pepper Herb Shrimp Kabobs featuring Grill Mates® Lemon Pepper with Herbs Seasoning.