5 Tips to Up Your Grilling Game

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Susie Bulloch performing finger guns as she points to a photo of sliced ribs with a text overlay that says "5 Tips to Up Your Grilling Game!"

We’re heading hot and heavy into tailgating season here. Can I get a what what?!?! Some of you might be considering covering that grill up for the winter, but that would be terrible. So…. don’t. Just because it is getting a little chilly doesn’t mean you have to eat gross, congealed crock pot food. Put on a hoodie and enjoy food that tastes good all winter long!

I’ve been doing this grilling thing for a while now and I’ve learned a lot through trial by (literal) fire over the last couple of years. I started this blog as an effort to share some of that experience with you all and do my best to help you up your grilling game and increase your confidence in front of the fire. I’ve been posting tons of recipes (which are awesome) but if you’re still a little terrified to even attempt the grill then recipes won’t do you any good! So let’s assume you know how to open the lid and start your grill (if you don’t…. make somebody show you how so you always know. Teach a man to fish and all that.) Good. Progress!

Now that you can light your grill, let’s talk about how to take you from being the novice and slightly afraid of the grill to brimming with confidence and fiery prowess. Here are my top 5 tips to take your grilling game from hum drum to HOT DANG!

Uncooked hamburger patties on the grill grate.


  1. Start with the basics so you can learn your grill. I suggest cooking up simple items like hot dogs or hamburgers when you are just breaking into grilling. These quick cooking items will help you figure out heat levels and zones on your grill. You probably know exactly how high to turn the heat on your stove for whatever you’re cooking, and the grill is no different. It just takes a little practice and starting with simple foods will keep you from getting frustrated when a $30 piece of meat doesn’t turn out just like you want.Photo of grilling tools.
  2. Get the right tools! You don’t need to spend a ton, but investing a little bit on the necessities will make your life so much easier!  Keep it simple with some good heat resistant gloves, a decent set of grill tools, and a MEAT THERMOMETER. Which brings me to my next tip…Two Pork butts in an aluminum tray with a meat thermometer stuck in on of the butts, and the tray is loosely covered by a sheet of aluminum foil.
  3. Use a meat thermometer! Sure, your recipe has a number of minutes it is supposed to work, but not all grills cook exactly the same and your meat might look more like a hockey puck than medium rare if you go only by time. Always cook your food to temperature.Five separate small serving bowls, each with a different seasoning inside.
  4. Season, season, season. Salt and pepper are classics for a reason! Start with those on everything and then add a little something here and a little there until you’ve found your perfect spice blends. Making your own rubs (instead of buying pre-made) gives you complete control and ups your grillmaster game like 8,000 awesome points. You can also give some of my homemade rub recipes a try, there’s the homemade steak rub, the secret sweet rub, and my pork rub!Susie holding a corn on the cob with her tongs as she smiles happily to the camera.
  5. Have fun! Take a minute to enjoy the feeling of actually being outside. Look at the flickering fire and feel that ancestral tug to your forefathers who cooked every single thing they ate over an open fire. Remember that having good food to cook is a blessing. Reward yourself with a little taste from the corner or end piece of whatever you are cooking before you serve it to everybody else. Grilling can boost your kitchen confidence, so enjoy it!!What are your top grilling tips??



Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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