BBQ Tips from Pitmaster Steve


In the summertime, one thing is certain — there’s nothing better than firing up a grill with your buddies. But before you clean out your tongs, remember; you might not know everything there is to know about grilling. And if you’re going to show off your skills in front of other people, I’m not gonna let you embarrass yourselves! That’s why I’ve prepared a couple of tips that all expert pitmasters know — so stay tuned!

Avoid Gas Grills

Sure, there are plenty of different methods when it comes to barbecuing — split logs, charcoal, direct heat, wood chips, etc. However, if you ask me — you should avoid using a gas grill. When you’re preparing meat, many people don’t understand that the smoke coming from the grill is actually a core ingredient. Yeah, you can achieve the heat you need for cooking even without outdoor fire pits — but the end product is simply not as savory.

Adding Nuance

Smoke is just one component of making the perfect barbecue. If you want to add nuance to your meat — and yes, you do — then I recommend using wood chips from fruit trees. Trust me — fruit-bearing trees have a lot of sap and a distinctive mild flavor. On average, they simply don’t have as many impurities as other wood chips you can buy.

The specific fruit tree doesn’t matter so much — peach, grape, cherry, practically anything you can find in your vicinity. My personal favorite is apple, though.

Water Soaking

Speaking of your wood chips, here’s another pro-tip — soak them in some water overnight the day before your grilling. Or, if you can’t manage to plan things that much beforehand, do it for an hour before the cookout. If the wood chips are soaked, they have higher water content. And if that’s the case, you’ll have more smoke once you use them in your grill — that means a lot more flavor.

Don’t Obsess About The Temperature

Okay, everybody’s got their own way of making barbecue — that much is true. If you’re asking me about mine, I’d sum it up like this: slow and low. A proper barbecue means being patient. And in turn, that means not obsessing about the temperature of the meat. Sure, you can check up now and then — but don’t open up the grill more than 30 minutes apart. If you do it more often, you’ll simply cool the meat off in the process and make everything last longer.

In fact, unless you’re worried about the meat cooking too quickly, you shouldn’t open the grill for a few hours.

Let It Sit

Trust me, I’ve been there — after you’ve spent the better part of your day worrying about the grill and perfectly cooking the meat, you just want to sit down and devour as much of it as you can with a cold beer. However, once you take the meat out of your grill — don’t serve it right away. Give it a few minutes to just sit. If you have a little more patience, the meat won’t dry when it’s served, and the juices we all love so much will be sealed in.

Only cut it when you’re prepared to immediately eat it and serve it to others. And if you’re serious about keeping the juices in the meat, avoid poking it during the grilling. Use spatulas or tongs to turn it around instead of forks.

Avoid Lighter Fluid

Getting a fire started is not the easiest thing in the world, especially if you’re not an avid barbecue fanatic. That’s why many people resort to the lighter fluid as a quick shortcut to fire-starting. If you ask me, that’s not such a good idea — chances are that your meat will smell like lighter fluid afterward.

And if you’re dead-set on lighter fluid, be certain that your fire is definitely out before putting any meat in the grill. Otherwise, you’ll just end up with lighter fluid on your meat.

Aluminum Foil

Cleaning up after the cooking is done is no-one’s favorite activity. However, there are things you can do beforehand to make sure that the process is expedited. For instance, when you prepare your grill for the cookout, put down aluminum foil sheets. After the barbecue is finished, you’ll have a much easier time cleaning up the grill — you won’t have to do much else besides simply picking up the foil and doing some light wiping.

Clean Everything

My final tip relates to the previous one, but it’s still important enough to be left for last. If you’ve just put down money for a brand new smoker, or you’re generally a newbie when it comes to barbecue — you need to understand the importance of cleanliness and sanitation.

When you fire up a grill for the very first time, don’t cook meat in it right away. First, start a huge fire and let it burn for about an hour. That will make sure that all the byproducts of manufacturing are eradicated — gunk and metal shavings, for instance. Also, all of the metal pores in the grill will be sealed up. This isn’t just something you want to do if the grill is new; the process is equally useful if you just haven’t used the cooker for a long while.


As you can see, grilling is not as simple as it looks from the outside — but then again, what is? Believe me, if you put enough effort into learning all you can about handling your grill, you’ll be amazed at the kind of food you’ll soon be preparing. Yeah, being the envy of the neighborhood takes some skill and learning — but the feeling is definitely worth it! I hope this stuff was of some use to you and that you’ve learned something new today. Make sure you’re staying safe in these times we’re all going through and have a good one, folks!