21 grilling Mistakes to Fix on Ceramic Kamado Grill
In this article, we’ll take a look at the most common grilling mistakes on ceramic kamado grill, how to avoid them, and show you how to level up your grilling game and get better results.
Four Types of Mistakes
You’ll find that there are four main categories of grilling errors. They are fire, meat, grilling process and service.
I’ll delve into these four areas, expose the mistakes in each, and briefly discuss four key points in each:
1. What is the error?
2. Why is this a bug?
3. How to avoid it.
4. How to correct if it happens.
BBQ with Fire Bug
Grilling is both an art and a science. It is centered on temperature and time.
All recipes tell you to cook for a specified time at a fixed temperature. To do this, you must master fire.
Here are some common mistakes people make when starting and controlling the fire on the grill.
BBQ temperature is too high
A big mistake grills make is getting too hot. If so, the outside of the meat will burn before the inside has a chance to reach the ideal temperature.
This is a special style of blue steak where the steak is cooked so that it is charred on the outside but still cold and raw on the inside. Most people don’t like their meat cooked this way. Having the proper temperature will make a difference.
There are three ways to avoid high temperature conditions. Let the coal burn off from the start, reduce vents, or make a smaller fire with less fuel.
If you already have a blast furnace, remove the meat until you reach the right temperature. Move grill grate away from heat, close vents and cover for a few minutes to smother the fire
BBQ temperature is too low
When the grill is not hot enough, you may not be able to cook your food properly.
Grilling hot dogs, burgers, or kebabs requires high heat, otherwise the meat won’t have those nice little grill marks or smoky brown crust. At worst, you risk serving undercooked meat and giving someone food poisoning.
Add more fuel to light your fire. If it’s time to cook and your fire is too small, immediately find another charcoal chimney and pour it over the other coals. You can use a propane flashlight, electric lighter, or even a hair dryer to push more air into the fire and burn it.
Coal disperses too fast
Spreading your coals too early will make your fire too small and too cold. It takes longer for the coals to ignite each other and reach the right temperature.
Make sure the coals are red hot and glowing brightly before spreading them out. If you do spread them too fast, add more oxygen with a fan and open the vents. You can also add more pre-lit fuel to the top, or use a flashlight to light the unburned part to speed up the burn.
Improper use of vents
Just like the pilot uses power to adjust the height, you can use the vents to adjust the heat of the grill by controlling the airflow.
When the vent is wide open, your fire will rage. Your fire will only smolder if they are closed or blocked by ash buildup. Ventilation control is essential if you are cooking with the lid closed, as the fire quickly consumes all the oxygen in the grill.
Unless you know the best settings for your vents, start them fully open when you start a fire, and then gradually adjust to provide the right amount of oxygen.
With some practice and patience, you’ll learn how vents affect the amount of heat your fire puts out. Every time you change the vent setting, wait about 10 minutes to see how it affects the fire before making the change.
Grilling too soon
You always want to grill over glowing coals, not an open flame. If you cook on a high fire, it will burn your food instead of cooking it. Food can pick up on unpleasant smoke residue, especially if you’re using wood or briquettes that haven’t been ashed and are still smoking heavily.
Also, if your grill grate isn’t warm enough, the meat may stick to it, creating a mess and making your meat look bad.
Make sure there are no flames, just burning coals, before starting the grill. That way you’ll know the grill has reached temperature.
Use lighter liquid or pre-soaked matches for light fuel
Using petroleum products to light charcoal or briquettes is one of the biggest no-nos for grilling and smoking. This includes using match light products on the market.
Yes, they are convenient because all you need is a match to light it. Unfortunately, the chemical smell doesn’t dissipate even after the briquettes glow. Taste and smell can get into your food, so avoid matches and starter.
If matching light fuel is your only option, make sure all coals are ash and no flames. And if you must use a lighter liquid, use it on only a few pieces to get the rest of the briquettes going. Once the coals start to glow, pile on fresh fuel and wait for the fire to spread. It will take longer, but your food will taste better.
According to our guide on lighting a charcoal grill, the best way to start a fire is to use a chimney and avoid lighter liquids altogether. You can start any size grill with just a match and two newspapers. Do not believe? See how a chimney works.
Another method is to use an electric igniter or a combination igniter and blower such as the Looflighter. No chemicals required.
Running out of fuel
I used to joke that an “E” on a car’s gas gauge meant “enough.” But imagine if there was an accident on the road and you were stuck in traffic. What do you think will happen? You will get into trouble. Don’t maintain that “E” attitude when grilling, or you’ll run out of fuel during the cooking process.
Running out of fuel was a serious mistake in planning. Whether you use charcoal, briquettes, or propane, always plan to have a backup fuel. If you run on gas, here are four ways to tell how much is left in your tank. However, the best way to know is to use inline gauges.
Sometimes accidents happen and your spare fuel tank is empty, or the charcoal is wet. What do you do If you can, go to the store immediately. If that’s not possible, your second option is to play as a boy scout and make a fire out of wood. (Never use scrap wood treated with any wood preservative or paint!)
BBQ with Meat Mistakes
Too much or not enough seasoning
Improperly seasoned meat can ruin your meal. Is there anything more tasteless and tasteless than a piece of chicken breast without salt or pepper? Or a delicious steak where you can’t taste the meat because there’s so much seasoning in the steak?
Seasonings should enhance the flavor of any food you serve. From ancient salt and pepper to great-grandfather’s blue-ribbon barbecue sauce, seasonings should be the buddies, not the stars.
Know when to use dry rubs, brines, sauces, and marinades. If you’re grilling on high heat, using sauces or sugar-sweetened rubs will burn. If you dry it too soon, the salt will absorb all the moisture from the meat. You need to adjust the seasoning time appropriately for best results.
For brines and marinades, 2 to 12 hours is best. Dry seasonings like rub and herbs only take an hour or so. For dry wipes, you can add water, oil, or mustard to “stick” the wipe in place.
If you think you’ve gone too far with salt and spice, rinse with cold water before grilling. And, if you’re under-seasoning, you can cover your mistakes with a good BBQ sauce.
The meat is too cold
When you take meat out of the refrigerator and put it on the grill, two things happen. The meat will cool off the grill and it may stick.
The heat in the metal grill takes longer to recover. When they are hot enough to leave grill marks, the meat is overcooked.
To avoid this problem, take the meat out of the refrigerator an hour before grilling. If this is not possible, consider preheating the meat in a 300 ⁰F (149 ⁰C) oven for 7 to 10 minutes before grilling.
If you can’t make a fire, then your only options are the stove and oven. Hope you have a wok for the occasion.
Neglecting basic food safety
Food safety is an issue whenever you’re dealing with proteins like meat, poultry or fish. Unless you’re grilling within an hour, all protein needs to be refrigerated at 39⁰F (3.8⁰C) or lower.
Basic hygiene and hygiene rules always apply. Hand washing and utensils. Never put cooked meat on the same plate as raw meat without washing.
When buying meat, it should be red, not dark brown, and should be free of fishy smells and a slimy feel.
Bottom line on food safety, when in doubt, throw it away.
Grilling Mistakes During Cooking
Overcooked food is an easy mistake to avoid. One rule of grilling is to never walk away while your food is cooking. Once you do this, you will burn your food.
Monitor your grill at all times. If you have to leave or use a Bluetooth-enabled thermometer to alert you to temperature spikes, take a second to look at. A kitchen timer is also a valuable tool if you’re easily distracted.
Cooking time too short
While not as serious as overcooking, undercooking can make you look like an amateur. That means when you travel to the grill with everyone’s steak extra, you’re going to suffer everyone’s disappointment.
However, when it comes to undercooked ground meat, poultry or pork, the consequences can be more severe if someone has food poisoning.
For poultry, always cook ground beef to at least 160°F (71.1°C) and 165°F (73.9°C).
Grill not preheated
If you try to cook on a grill that isn’t hot, chances are your food is overcooked, trying to brown or have grill marks. Another thing is that your meat will stick to the cold grill. Bad news if you have a nice piece of tenderloin and part of it sticks to the grill when you try to pry it open to turn it.
Allow time for the fire and grill grate to be hot enough so that the meat will sizzle as soon as you put it in. If you put meat on it and find that the grill is too cold, remove the meat immediately and wait for the grill to warm up.
Grill not cleaned
The last grilled food can be burnt and brushed off. Cooking on old burnt crumbs is a no-brainer. Burnt food looks and tastes bad. Always brush the grill first with a good quality grill brush or spatula.
If you forget and the burnt part gets on the food, you can rinse it off under running water and start over on a clean grill.
Cut meat to check doneness
Cutting into your freshly roasted meat to check doneness will ruin it. The same goes for poking it multiple times with a meat thermometer. Picture a fully cooked steak as if it were your arm. If you cut it open or stab it with a meat probe, you’ll lose a lot of “juice”. Do not do this!
The reason for grilling at a higher temperature is to sear the meat and seal in the juices. Also, there is residual heat still cooking after the food is removed from the grill. Cutting and probing too early will give you a piece of dry meat.
Learn to test doneness with a finger poke or timing.
There’s no good reason to use a spatula to squeeze juices out of meat and burgers. If you’re concerned about blood, cook them longer. Pressing out the juice leaves you with dry ice pucks for burgers and shoe skins for steaks. Learn to touch to check doneness, and try flipping steaks and burgers only once.
If you’ve mashed up the juice (accidentally, of course), be sure to offer plenty of dressing, fresh onions, lettuce, and tomatoes.
Add sauce too early
If you add sauce to the meat too soon, it can create a carbonized gooey mess on your grill. You want the sugar in the sauce to caramelize, not burn. Sugar caramelizes at 160 °C/320 °F. Use this chart if you use other types of sugar in your sauce.
When you need to season the meat, do so within the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking. That way, you won’t make a mess and the sauce won’t have time to burn.
If you’ve added too much sauce and it’s burnt, try scraping it off and brushing the meat with a thin layer of fresh sauce.
Using the wrong or inferior tool
Trying to flip a loosely packed burger with tongs or flip a steak with a salad fork is a recipe for disaster. Using the wrong tool means your food ends up in the fire or on the ground, which is good news for the house dog and bad news for your party.
You don’t need to buy top-of-the-line tools, but make sure they’re sturdy enough to get the job done.
Tongs – Stainless steel at least 12″ long, 18″ is better if you have a large grill to keep your hands out of the flames.
Spatula – Buy a spatula that is long and wide enough for grilling. Throw away that little plastic pancake flipper in the kitchen drawer. Look for an offset wooden handle to protect your hand.
If you happen to be somewhere and have no choice but to use grandma’s little spatula, keep a plate nearby so that if you drop food, it will be on the plate and not on the ground or in the fire .
Forget to prepare
You don’t want to multitask while the steak is on the grill. Plan ahead. There are many easy recipes you can make before your first guest arrives. When a hot dog catches fire, there’s no excuse to be beheaded like a chicken.
Every successful meal requires preparation and planning. If you’re new to backyard grilling, use the checklist and start at least a week in advance. It will give you time to gather the necessary ingredients to make your barbecue a success.
If you screw up and everyone is waiting for you, switch to manager mode. Delegate tasks and make it fun for everyone. People usually ask, “Can I help?” “Yes you can!” Give them specific tasks and directions. They’ll have fun and your party will come together nicely.
Grilling Mistakes When Serving
Not having enough time to rest
Letting any roast rest for ten minutes before cutting is just as important as cooking it properly.
During resting, surface heat is still penetrating to the center, and the internal temperature can even rise by 5°F (2.7°C).
Resting can mean the difference between perfect medium rare and undercooked as the juices are redistributed to the outside.
If you can’t wait to cut into the steak right away, it’s probably not done. The juice will run out. All you can do right now is cook it to the doneness you want, but you can’t get those delicious juices back.
Not enough to feed everyone
Not having enough meat to feed your crowd is embarrassing, but it happens. There are three reasons for this “tragic food shortage”.
1. An accident. Did you drop the plate, or did the dog grab everything when you turned around?
2. Poor planning. You need to multiply the serving size by the number of people you expect to buy the right amount of food.
3. Unexpected guests. Know your crowd. Do they tend to bring homeless people to parties? Plan for extra people. Leftovers are always good.
The bottom line here is to always expect the unexpected. Plan to have more on hand, at least in the fridge to accommodate more people and avoid disaster. We have a guide on how much meat each person needs. Bookmark, use it and never go short again.
If it’s too late to get back to the store, try changing to a recipe that is eaten by more people. For example, you can make kebabs or satay to stretch the limited meat by adding lots of vegetables.
These are the most common mistakes made during grilling.
Next, we will discuss mistakes in smoking.
As with grilling, there are four main categories of errors. Each type has a specific list of errors and how to avoid them.
Enthusiasm and patience will make a perfect meal
The main point of this article is to take the time to do each task correctly. A few extra minutes per task doesn’t take much extra time, but you’ll see and taste the difference in cooking results.
Patience means you’ll avoid the most common grilling mistakes and be a hero at your next cookout instead of fumbling for everything.