15 Common Grilling and Smoking Mistakes You Should Know
Grilling and smoking are both art and science, which means they are hands-on and systematic. Whether you’ve been a BBQ lover for a while or are just getting into the business, perfectionism should be the end goal. In a sense, however, you won’t make the common grilling and smoking mistakes on the ceramic smoker.
That’s why we thought it would be wise to expose some mistakes in grilling and smoking. By being aware of these mistakes, avoiding them also becomes a simple task. Let’s revisit 15 grilling and smoking mistakes one by one.
15 Common BBQ Mistakes
1. Overregulate the temperature
Typically, medium or medium heat is required for cooking, whether you are grilling or smoking. You don’t need to adjust the smoker or grill to the highest temperature to get the best flavor. In fact, too high a temperature will just make your meat dry and tough, not necessarily the deliciousness you want.
Also, grilling at too low a temperature is not advisable as it will often slow down your grilling. The best way to achieve temperature stability on a regular grill is to close and open the vents to regulate the temperature. Opening the vents will increase the temperature, while closing it will reduce the grilling and smoking temperature.
The most important thing to note is that grilling temperature is never absolute, but relative to what you’re cooking. Therefore, we recommend that you read your owner’s manual carefully to effectively use the right temperature for the right type of food.
2. Using inappropriate tools and equipment
This is a dangerous mistake not only for newbies but for regular smokers. Its origins are ill-preparedness. In fact, accidents are often the result of this trend.
Many times, you may find yourself flipping fish, burgers, brisket, and pizza using tongs. This is just one of the common cases where grillers use grilling tools inappropriately at the wrong time. Of course, you don’t want to shred fish, cut burgers, or punch holes in pizza. So try using a spatula instead.
We recommend using clips for chicken, hot dogs, ribs, pork chops, steaks and kebabs. In the end, you realize that every tool used in the right way will live up to your expectations.
3. Often peeking
Too much peeking is not advisable because you are ready for a perfect barbecue. It causes a disruption in the proper flow of oxygen, which is critical to achieving great flavor.
Also, peeking too much can affect your cooking time. The reason, every time you open the lid to check the food, the temperature drops by 20 to 30 degrees.
To avoid this, put food in the grill and use a remote thermometer. Then let your food cook to the approximate value indicated by the thermometer. It’s not too bad to check once in a while, but only if you think something is wrong. Otherwise, anxiety will destroy everything.
4. Trust the hood thermometer
Since opening the lid often is not recommended when grilling, your hood thermometer is also not absolute. Your range hood thermometer is usually a few inches higher than the smoker’s grate and is practically inaccurate.
Remote thermometers are more trusted than hood thermometers. If a hood thermometer is the only temperature management device you have at your disposal, extreme care and approximation is critical.
5. Catch the chef
When you grill or smoke, consider whether it should be low and slow. If this is the case, you should also take your time. Also, understanding that each chef you work with is unique and independent of previous chefs is critical to your successful grilling.
For example, you may have previously cooked your chicken for 30 minutes per pound. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should spend 30 minutes per pound cooking chicken.
An important adage here is that your grill is only ready when it’s ready, not when you think it’s ready.
6. Use a dirty grill
Cleanliness is at the heart of the kitchen, and failing to do so is not only disastrous, but catastrophic. A dirty grill will not add flavor to your food at all. Also, it is unhygienic and increases the chance of disease and infection.
Equipment such as wire brushes and steam cleaners can be used to clean your tools and equipment. To ensure maximum cleaning, scrub the grate before and after each cooking.
7. Choosing the Wrong Wood Type
The taste of any food you cook or grill ultimately depends on the type of wood you choose. The consensus is that the flavored wood is undoubtedly the reason for its deliciousness. Conversely, unseasoned or green wood can cause food to not have the desired flavor.
Likewise, green wood does not burn cleanly. To further avoid anything that might spoil the flavor of your food, stay away from resinous woods like pine. Instead, seasoned hardwoods such as hickory, apple, oak, maple, etc. are recommended.
In any case, avoid impatience, as it will ruin your grill in different ways. First, it makes you panic, and in the process you can even destroy what was otherwise perfect. Second, you will end up not having enough time for grilling.
To avoid impatience, make sure you’re well prepared before the actual cooing. To do this, have all the necessary tools, master all the steps and be familiar with what you are going to do.
9. Too much smoke
Excessive smoke doesn’t mean a great grill. As you know, too much stuff is harmful. As far as this adage goes, your barbecue is no exception. While smoke is often beneficial and essential to smoking, this should not be a source of misleading you.
A great grill results in a thin blue line that gradually but surely promises practical and desirable results. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean you’re keeping your smoke supply too low. At the very least, it should be consistent with the foods you smoke.
10. Start the charcoal briquettes with lighter liquid
When you are in a hurry, lighter liquid is the best option. But is this healthy in the BBQ world? At least, not in this area. Worst of all, the smell of lighter fluid could end up messing things up. It further adversely affects the flavor of the food.
To deliberately eliminate this error, if you’re lighting charcoal briquettes, take a moment to use a chimney starter. Chimney starters are slow but sure. To learn all about the chimney starter, click here.
11. Using the wrong cut of meat
Meat comes in a variety of categories and portions, including pork, brisket, ribs, and more. You have a program for smoking each of these meats. Alternatively, you can click here to learn about the best ways to smoke different types of meat.
Regardless, make sure the meat you choose to smoke or grill is of high quality. For example, when you choose ribs, make sure the meat covers the bone enough. Avoid surfaces that are too flat.
12. Not choosing the right moisture level for the cooking technique
Each cooking technique has a recommended suitable moisture technique. The ideal moisture content for most wood-fired cooking techniques is between 15% and 20%. This level is great for direct and indirect methods.
Very low moisture content delays the burning of wood into the coal seams needed for the process. Just like any other precaution, keep in mind that too much moisture is inconvenient. The moisture content is also not too low.
13. Failing to balance your grill
An effective balance starts with the type of wood you choose for grilling or smoking. If you’re using sweeter ingredients, bolder hardwoods are recommended instead of fruity types. So you can use hickory, ash, beech or oak for a balanced taste, flavor and smell.
Conversely, if you’re using fruity woods, you don’t necessarily have to use fruity ingredients. What you are looking for is the best aromatic flavor. These are not the way to achieve a great barbecue. Essentially, what matters is how creative you are at mixing.
14. Soak sawdust or wood blocks
The soaking of wood chips or wood chucks has a cooling effect, which in turn slows down the cooking process. Doing this, the effect is more cooking time. In fact, the energy required for temperature control increases.
The exception to this precaution is when you want to smoke food traditionally, which will take a relatively large amount of time. However, this requires a significant investment of time and expertise. In general, you’d rather avoid soaking sawdust or wood blocks.
15. Use a single cooking zone
Ideal smoking and grilling requires two cooking zones – hot and cold. This way, you can constantly move the meat from side to side to balance the cooking.
Otherwise, if you cook only on the hotter side, you will end up with charred but raw meat. On the other side of the process, there is a chance that your meat is undercooked.
In short, the above mistakes are basically common among beginners and regular users. For this reason, everyone needs to be careful when grilling and smoking to avoid them as much as possible. There are many other bugs not found in this article or anywhere else.
But correcting one error also automatically prevents others. If there’s one way you can grill and smoke without going wrong, it’s to try and take care. This requires strict adherence to instructions, including those in the manual.