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.
You grill over flames
THE RESULT: Meat that’s both charred and undercooked, with a sooty residue to boot.
THE FIX: Maintaining an even, powerful heat is important for great grilling, and cooking over embers is the key to an even heat. As a rule, charcoal and wood fires should be burned down to glowing embers before food ever touches the grate. Allow about 30 minutes from the time you light the fire, and wait until the coals have a bright-red glow with a gray, ashy look. It may take some time, but don’t rush: Cooking over flames will scorch food quickly and unevenly, leaving you with charred and inedible results.