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 cook chicken over direct heat
Photo: John Autry

You cook chicken over direct heat

The Result: Charred skin and rare meat in the thickest part of the breast.

The Fix: Prevent flare-ups that char the skin by manipulating heat. First, establish two temperature zones: Set one side of a gas grill to medium-high and the other to low, or build a fire on one side of a charcoal grill. (Make sure your grate is clean and oiled to prevent sticking.) Start the chicken, skin-side up, on the low- or no-heat side, and cover the grill. After a few minutes, when the fat starts to render, flip the meat, skin-side down. Point the breasts' thicker ends toward the hot side to help them cook evenly. Cover and grill for about 25 minutes. When the meat is done (165° at the thickest part of the breast), crisp the skin on the hot side for a minute or two, moving it as needed to avoid flare-ups. Wait until the last few minutes to brush on barbecue sauce: The sugars in the sauce will char quickly.

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