Before Firing Up The Grill, Always Designate A Place For Hot Food

Flame-grilling chicken drumsticks give them a succulent texture and appetizing aroma. But if your timing is slightly off you'll be left with dry, rubbery protein that has a burnt flavor and bitter, unpalatable crust. Luckily, you can eliminate this problem by designating a place for hot food before you fire up your grill. This simple step means you can remove everything from the grates at the perfect juicy moment and enjoy a leisurely low-stress session of barbecuing.

Nominating a specific place to set down your cooked food before you start has two great benefits. Firstly, you won't have to move away from the barbecue to search for platters and dishes while your food is cooking, allowing you to monitor your meal at every moment. Secondly, you'll create the perfect spot for your cooked meats to rest before being served, which maximizes their succulence by relaxing their muscle fibers and allowing the juices to redistribute evenly.

A heatproof spot, such as the shelves on either side of your barbecue, is a great place to set down a hot grill basket containing a whole fish or a cast iron skillet that you've been using to cook vegetables. A simple disposable foil container is superb for housing burgers and kebabs and makes it easy to transfer food onto serving platters. If your barbecue doesn't have shelves, consider placing a side table next to your grill and putting an upturned baking sheet on top to protect your surfaces.

Food preparation and timing are also important

Removing hot food from the fierce heat of the coals will stop it from overcooking and burning. Plus, it provides a window to add fresh garnishes, like herbs, that don't need to be flame-grilled while your food rests. However, some foods don't require a resting period and are best eaten as soon as they come off the grill. 

For example, hot barbecued halloumi is yielding in the center but becomes rubbery and squeaky once cooled. Similarly, skewered shrimp (even when grilled with their protective shells) can turn from deliciously juicy to tough when not eaten immediately. Making sure that you can swiftly remove them from the grill and transfer them directly to serving platters at speed means they can be enjoyed at their absolute best.

Preparing your salads and sides in advance of firing up the grill is another key tip that helps to reduce the stress of hosting. You can simply focus on grilling your protein without worrying about assembling the other elements of your spread before everything gets cold. Better yet, fill your cooler with drinks and prep a pitcher with frosty lemonade beforehand so you can blissfully barbecue with a beverage in hand. 

With these tips in mind, you're on your way to enjoying a perfectly curated meal that your friends and family will be talking about for months.