Common Barbecuing Problems and How to Avoid Them

Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford

When planning a backyard grilling party, you want everything to go as smoothly as possible. Your friends and neighbors might not want to come back next year if the meat isn’t properly cooked or the bugs are biting them all night long.

How do you avoid some of the common problems that arise when barbecuing? We have a list for you, and we are covering some of the issues that even experienced grillers will run into. If you haven’t grilled in a while or you are barbecuing for the first time, some of our suggestions will likely be helpful.

The Meat Sticks to the Grill

patties on grill

It happens to the best of us- you are cooking meat on the grill and thinking the meat is turning out okay, but then you try to remove it and the meat sticks to the grill. It comes off shredded and peels away badly. Your meat doesn’t even have the lovely grill sear marks either.  

So, what went wrong? The problem is that the grill wasn’t preheated properly and the grates are not receiving enough conductive heat. Oh, you might have heated the grill up ahead of time, but did you allow the heat to circulate like it should and move from the coals to the grating?

Here’s the fix. As you heat up the grill, you should close the hood so that the heat will stay inside the grill rather than dissipate out into the open air. This allows the grating to get some of that heat, and ultimately, that’s the part that needs to be heated up if you are going to keep the meat from sticking to the grill and you are going to achieve nice grill marks.

The Meat Tastes Off

There are a lot of factors that can affect meat flavor, like the seasoning you use, how fresh the meat is, and whether the meat was marinated or not. The problem we want to deal with here is poor meat flavoring caused by improper grill preparation.

Did you clean your grill properly before using it? If not, you may have burnt residue stuck to the grill from last time. If you use strong cleaning chemicals or oily cleaners, then you may have an unpleasant chemical smell sticking to the grating and to the meat.

It’s important that you take time to clean the grill well. To avoid some of the risk of chemical smells, you should clean the grill a day or two before using it.

That gives it time to air out. You may want to consider Dallas BBQ cleaning too, leaving the job up to the professionals so that you get a well cleaned grill that you don’t need to worry about.

If you want things done properly, sometimes hiring professionals is the best option. That’s especially true if you have a lot of other preparation to do, like cutting the grass, cleaning the house, and preparing food that won’t be cooked on the day of your event.

Undercooked Meat

When you grill at too high of a heat, the meat can look well done on the outside but hardly cooked on the inside. You may have some lovely sear marks, and yet the meat might not be fully cooked.

That’s a problem, because you can’t go back and cook the meat further to finish it all the way through, since that would cause it to burn too dark and crispy on the outside.

The fix, of course, is to cook at a lower heat from the start. This may take some trial and error, and it’s not a bad idea to cook up a steak or burger ahead of time to make sure you get the heat right. That’s especially wise if you bought a new grill and haven’t used it before or you haven’t grilled in a while.

You can run into this same issue if you keep opening and closing the lid of the grill. Every time you open the lid on a gas grill, you are letting plenty of heat escape, and that will make for very inconsistent cooking temperatures.

Some of your meat will cook faster than others, and you may overcook the outside and undercook the inside. Try not to mess with the hood while the meat is cooking. Once again, cooking some ahead of time will help you avoid some simple mistakes and, in this case, it will tell you how long the meat should cook for.  

Too Many Bugs

Every grilling party has a lot of bugs, right? Yours doesn’t have to. There are a number of things you can do to keep mosquitoes, flies, and other bugs away from the event.

To keep mosquitos at bay, add some sage to the coals, as the smell will repel them. You can also set up mosquito repellent torches or coils, as long as you don’t mind the smell too much. Some essential oils are useful as well, says Healthline. It also helps to get rid of any standing water sources in your yard a few days ahead of the event, as this will eliminate most mosquito eggs in the area.

You can spray for flies and other pests with an outdoor bug spray about an hour or two before your event. Try using mesh covers on the serving platters to keep pests off the food.

To prevent wasps and hornets from interfering with your event, check your property for their nests. These will usually be located under the awnings of your roof and in other high places. Eliminate them with bug spray and then bring the nests down by using a broom or other long stick.

These are just a few things to watch out for when you are having a barbecue party. If you want yours to be a success and something that people look forward to every time you announce one, then you have to get the basics right. Planning ahead with this list will ensure that your event goes smoothly and that people focus on the delicious food and great company rather than the minor problems.