Solutions for Everyday Kitchen Mistakes

You can learn from your mistakes, but it may result in ugly cakes, calorie overloads, and even singed arm hair (ouch!).  Learn from our cooking, nutrition, grilling, and baking mistakes instead!

Everyday Grilling Mistakes

Incinerated (or raw) meat, lighter fluid-spiked food, and falling-apart fish can really put a damper on a summer barbecue. Our tips will help get things in order.

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You don't soak wood chips
Photo: Oxmoor House

You don't soak wood chips

THE RESULT: Smoked meats that aren’t that smoky.

THE FIX: Smoking meat requires cooking over a lower temperature (200° to 225°) for a longer period of time, giving the food time to absorb all those delicious, smoky flavors. On a gas grill, it can be impossible to get the heat down to the ideal smoking temperature range. In that case, smoke on the lowest heat level the grill can maintain, and reduce the cooking time. To get the most smoke, soak wood chips in water for 30 minutes, and then place the drained chips on the hot coals. Heat the wood chips for 10 minutes or until they start letting off smoke before putting food on the grill. On a gas grill, place the soaked chips in a smoker box or on a piece of heavy-duty foil, loosely fold it up, and then poke about six holes in the top to allow smoke to escape. Turn on the burner at one end of the grill, and arrange the pouch close to that burner. Place an aluminum foil pan filled with water on the unheated side of the grill, replace the grill racks and arrange the food on the rack directly above the aluminum foil pan. Still not smoky enough? Try experimenting with stronger-flavored woods such as oak or mesquite. Avoid soft woods like pine, spruce, or other evergreens, which will produce a sooty, unpleasant smoke.

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