I’m a BBQ expert – here are 7 most common grilling mistakes & secret to perfectly cooked burgers

WE’RE in for a sizzling weekend – so it’s the perfect time to fire up the BBQ.

But if it’s been a long time since you made a perfect grilled burger there are plenty of mistakes that could see your food go up in smoke.

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Follow our top tips to avoid burning or undercooking your foodCredits: Shutterstock

Weber’s BBQ grill master Dan Cooper gives his top tips to ensure your sausages are more seared than singed.

failure to clean

IF there are charred remains still lingering from your last barbecue this can often give unwanted flavors to your food.

Always make sure you keep your barbecue clean.

It will also keep your grill in great condition, helping to extend its life span.

Regular cleaning helps you barbecue as safely as possible and the best time to do this is while it’s still hot. Brush the cooking grates with a T-brush to get rid of any food residue.

Then use half a raw onion on the end of a BBQ fork to give them a good scrub back and forth.

Onions are acidic and will pick up the grease that’s left behind – as well as any small specks of dirt and carbon.

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Don't use lighter fluid to get your barbecue started

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Don’t use lighter fluid to get your barbecue startedCredits:

Ditch lighter fluid

IGNITING your coals with lighter fluid is a definite no-no.

Doing so will give your otherwise delicious food a chemical aftertaste.

Instead, always use lighting aids – such as lighter cubes – to safely get your flames going.

For a mess-free, speedy way to heat your coals to the right temperature, invest in a handy chimney starter like the one here.

A meat thermometer can tell you when the food is safe to eat

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A meat thermometer can tell you when the food is safe to eatCredits: Getty

Guessing game

UNDERCOOKED meat can be lethal – you don’t want to give your guests food poisoning.

Rather than cooking for a specific time or spoiling the look of your meat by cutting into it to check that it is done, use a meat thermometer.

It is the most accurate way to tell if your food is cooked so you can serve perfectly barbecued meat every time.

Don’t lift the lid

BARBECUING with the lid down is a golden rule of grilling.

This not only controls the temperature but also makes sure that smoke circulates inside the grill and infuses into your food to create that perfect BBQ flavor all cooks are after.

Having the lid shut not only keeps your BBQ nice and hot, it also means your food gets juicier and cooks faster, saving you time and fuel (aka money) in the process.

Pre-heat your barbecue to avoid creating extra work

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Pre-heat your barbecue to avoid creating extra workCredit: Angela McCormick

Not preheating

YOU should always preheat your barbecue to the desired cooking temperature.

If you don’t, you run the risk of overcooking your food by leaving it on the grill too long.

You’re potentially creating more work for yourself since a cold barbecue can lead to food sticking to the grate, so there’ll be more mess to clean up.

And placing food on a cold barbecue will never deliver perfect sear marks or that classic smoky flavour.

Pre-heating doesn’t take long and is definitely worth the wait.

Hang on until your charcoal has burned to an even temperature before slapping any meat on the grates.

When it first turns white, it is hot on the outside but still cool on the inside.

You want to wait until at least two thirds of the charcoal have turned white and the charcoal has stopped smoking.

Make sure you move it around the BBQ so that it’s evenly spread.

The rule of thumb is that charcoal heats up faster, but briquettes stay hot for longer.

For gas barbecues, make sure to turn your grill on for at least 10–15 minutes before you start cooking to achieve the perfect feast.

Knowing when to marinate your food is key

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Knowing when to marinate your food is keyCredits: Getty

sticky situation

MARINADES usually have a high sugar content, making them prone to burning on a BBQ.

The easiest solution is to marinate the meat AFTER you cook it.

This is called reverse marinade. Simply soak meat in a sauce after it’s grilled, reheat on the barbecue, then serve.

Different meats each need their own cooking time and technique

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Different meats each need their own cooking time and techniqueCredits: Getty

Not one rule for all

ONE common mistake is cooking BBQ food all the same way.

You wouldn’t prepare a steak in the same way you’d cook a sausage.

There are three different BBQ techniques – the indirect, direct and 50/50 method.

Learning these methods, and when to apply them, can take you from apprentice to BBQ master.

The direct cooking method places food directly over the heat.

It’s ideal for dishes that take less than 15 minutes to cook, or that need a nice sear, such as steaks, burgers and veggies.

The indirect cooking method does not place food directly over the heat.

The food cooks ‘indirectly’ through the heat circulating inside the barbecue.

It’s great for foods that take longer than 30 minutes to cook, such as a roast.

The 50/50 cooking method uses a combination of direct and indirect cooking.

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This method can be used for food that takes between 15-30 minutes, such as thicker cuts of steak and sausages.

To purchase a limited-edition Weber 70th Anniversary Kettle BBQ visit weber.com