Gas or charcoal? That’s a debate we wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot-long pair of barbecue tongs. Whichever you choose, make sure to read our top tips for cooking out before firing up that grill!

1. Fire it up

Preheat your grill for at least 20 minutes, so it’s hot enough to sear your food on contact and seal in the juices. Your steak, burger, or chicken should start to sizzle as soon as it hits the heat.

2. Prep the rack

Cleaning the rack is easier when the grill is already hot. Use a grill brush with a long handle to scrape away any debris. Then, grab a paper towel soaked in cooking oil with your tongs and lube the rack; this will help stop food from sticking and make it easier to clean next time, especially if you give the grill another brushing before you close it up for the night. Warning:  Never use aerosol cooking sprays near a hot grill.

3. Let it grill

Standing there in your Grill Master apron wielding your stainless steel spatula, it’s tempting to put on a good show by poking the steak, nudging the chicken, and flipping those burgers almost as soon as they hit the heat. Avoid the temptation. Turning the food before it’s properly seared on the bottom will almost certainly lead to sticking.  When it is time to flip, move the food to a fresh grill area where the grates haven’t been cooled down by contact with the food. This also helps prevent flare-ups.

4. Tame those flames

Most people keep a spray water bottle on hand to extinguish those inevitable flare-ups, but consider dropping a lettuce leaf on that grease fire. It will put out a small flame without sogging up your burger.

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff

Consider purchasing a grill basket to hold smaller, more delicate grilling delights like shrimp, fish, and mushrooms. The basket will stop the food from falling through the grill rack, and you can flip the lot with a simple lift and turn of the handle. Give it a try with this quick and easy grilled zucchini recipe!

Easy-Breezy Grilled Zucchini


  • Small or medium zucchini (as many as you like)
  • Enough Italian salad dressing, soy sauce, or other marinade to cover the zucchini


  • Trim and slice the zucchini in half or in quarters lengthwise.
  • Marinade for at least one hour — longer is better.
  • Secure inside grill basket.
  • Grill to desired tenderness.



Image source: Bigpanther from