The Huge Barbecue Mistake That Happens To All Of Us

various foods on charcoal grill
various foods on charcoal grill - Artistgndphotography/Getty Images

Is there anything more exciting than barbecuing? Whether because you've been patient all year waiting for a summer cookout and are armed with an abundance of fresh produce, or you're doing some cooler weather coal-stoking (you don't have to give up grilling just because it snows), the promise of fire-kissed food creates a can-hardly-wait situation. But when it comes to grilling, there's a very common mistake that happens to us all — and it can be avoided by simply slowing down a bit.

If you plow forward throwing your food on the grill, you can wind up powerless against this error — which is to skip the very important step of reading your recipe in full before you fire up. While all recipes benefit from planning ahead, with barbecue, you also face the risk of running out of fuel (regardless of whether you feel gas or charcoal is the best choice) — or scorching your food should you need to fuss around or improvise in the middle of cooking. Take a few minutes to read over the whole recipe so you know what to expect, and can plan accordingly.

Read more: The 13 Best Steaks For Grilling

Benefits Of Reading Recipes In Advance

Three generations reading a recipe in aprons
Three generations reading a recipe in aprons - Pixelfit/Getty Images

Taking a few minutes to read the full recipe will tell you how long the food needs to cook over the flames. This gives you a chance to prevent running out of fuel. Always keep backup coals close-by, and procure a propane gauge so you'll always know what you've got in the tank. And while running out of fuel mid-barbeque is a mistake to avoid when you're a grilling beginner, there are additional reasons reading your recipe is a smart first step.

You can ensure you'll have all the tools and equipment you'll need. With barbecuing, that may mean tongs or a spatula, but also a grill basket, non-stick spray or foil, or skewers. Likewise for ingredients: Prepare a mise en place so you have everything ready to go when you need it. If you're serving anyone who might have dietary preferences or restrictions, this also gives you a chance to catch them before you're in the thick of cooking, and plan any pivots.

Grills work quickly, which is part of why they're a wonderful way to cook, but you don't want to be caught with food charring on the grates while you're flipping pages or scrolling through a recipe with questions, or scrambling to gather more ingredients. And while reading your recipe in advance is especially important in terms of grilling, this strategy is one that can be applied to all cooking and baking.

More Tips For A Better Barbecuing Experience

man setting outdoor dining table
man setting outdoor dining table - bbernard/Shutterstock

Aside from ensuring that you have an abundance of fuel and a solid understanding of your recipe ahead of time, you can take some other measures to improve your barbecuing process, no matter the menu. While preparing in advance is always a good idea, what you do as you cook can also have an effect on your experience. Cleaning while you work can help keep things from getting too chaotic, and also ensure that you won't lose important tools to the dirty pile when you need them most. Keep clean platters and bowls close so you're ready with a vessel as you pull finished food from the heat. Set the table in advance, too — especially if you're making barbecued dishes that are best served hot -- this way, you can get from grill to table without hesitation.

If you're hoping to recreate a recipe, it's also helpful to have a way to take notes whether on paper or in your phone's notes app, to which you can refer later when you make the dish again. When you take a few extra moments to read your recipe, think through your process, and organize in advance, the memories of your barbecued meal are guaranteed to be happy and stress-free.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.