The Ten Most Common Grilling Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Photo by Molly Dunn
Don't let that grill get too hot, otherwise you'll lose your eyebrows when you open the lid.
"Do I still have eyebrows?" my fiancé said to me a couple of weeks ago after he was standing too close to my parents' outdoor grill.

You see, we turned the grill on, started talking and forgot to turn the heat down. Once we opened the grill, a blast of 650-degree heat came shooting out, burning (or singeing) anything it touched. In this case, it was my fiance's eyelashes and eyebrows. They were both scorched.

As funny as it was (sorry, Randall), it was also dangerous. That's the last time my family will forget to turn down the heat on the grill before taking off the lid, or at least won't neglect the rapidly rising temperature.

Because we don't want you, dear readers, to scorch your face or torch a piece of meat, we spoke with two chefs who know a thing or two about grilling, chef Ronnie Killen of Killen's Steakhouse and Killen's BBQ, and chef Edelberto Goncalves of Fielding's Wood Grill, to find out what the most common grilling mistakes are and how to prevent them.

Photo by Molly Dunn
Let your meat come to room temperature before you start grilling.
1. Using a Poor Product

The first comment from each chef was to go for quality. Whether you're grilling a steak, chicken or even vegetables, you need to use good ingredients. As chef Goncalves says, "If you want to get good results, you need to get a good product first."

2. Place Meat on Grill Directly from Refrigerator

How many times has this happened? You're in a rush to cook dinner, so you take it out of the refrigerator then plop it on the grill. Big no-no. Just as you should let your butter and eggs come to room temperature before baking a cake or cookies, you should let your meat come to room temperature before placing it on the grill.

This story continues on the next page.

Location Info

Killen's Steakhouse

2804 S. Main, Pearland, TX

Category: Restaurant

Killen's Barbecue

3613 E Broadway, Pearland, TX

Category: Restaurant

Fielding's Wood Grill

1699 Research Forest Drive, Shenandoah, TX

Category: Restaurant

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FattyFatBastard topcommenter

Cutting into a steak does NOT make it lose its moisture and I can find multiple sources to back that up. I'm disappointed if Ronnie Killen actually said that.


By far the part we struggle with every single time we invest in beautiful VERY THICK filets (tenderloins) to grill is waiting to cut! Not necessarily cuz we're starving, but just for the simple fact that it's hard to let the grill run for what might be no reason at all for 10+min. If 1 or more steak isnt done enough, we'll need to throw it bk on a HOT grill. Doest help that my dad absolutely refuses to use a thermometer! Even bought him 1 for xmas & all he did was insist that surely it isnt accurate cuz meat wasnt done according to him (who tends to overcook most of what he grills, although we wont let it fly with steaks anymore...unacceptable !)


After your coals become ashy or white in color...use as little lighter fluid as you possibly can...

Why in the heck would anybody put lighter fluid on hot coals?

And far be it from me to disagree with Mr. Killen on how to grill meat, but I like a liberal amount of salt on my steak. Seasoned just before it hits the grill, of course. If you have a nice thick steak you've got a lot of meat there that won't be touched by seasoning; when you slice it, you're only going to have the salt on the edge, so I like a good amount. It's one of the few times I can rationalize using sea salt, too. Not so much that you have a coating of salt but the crunch of the charred meat with those big crystals of salt is really nice. 


It's a myth that you need to let your meat reach room temperature before cooking.  Here is article that did the research and tested both ways -

I'm sure that Chef Killen and Chef Goncalves have cooked 1000 times more steaks in their lives than most of us and can tell internal meat temp with a finger, but for the rest of a digital thermometer like a thermapen is a great device.


@Anse  J.C. Penny would never hire a person for store manager if the person salted their steak before they tried it.

Bruce_Are topcommenter


I followed your link. Not exactly scientific. One biased guy takes one steak and does one test and declares victory for himself.


@ball_go_far @Anse You shouldn't add salt at the table before trying your food because the chef should have already seasoned it before and during the cooking process.

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