Grillmaster Reveals The Most Common Mistakes You're Making While Grilling Sirloins

Melissa Cookston, a seven-time world barbecue champion and owner of Memphis BBQ Company, wants you to wait before you grill. This cookbook author and former judge on Netflix's "The American Barbecue Showdown" has some advice for those cooking over charcoal. It's a rule she calls "Not yet, wait a minute!" Cookston explains to Mashed, "If using charcoal, let it 'ash over' before grilling. Also, set up a 'two-zone' fire, meaning most of your fuel is on one side of the grill. This gives you a bit of landing zone should you have a flare-up." Chances are that lacking patience is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when you grill. As it turns out, timing really matters, and Cookston has some additional advice for home grill cooks.  

The world barbecue champion says a make-it-or-break-it moment for grilling is "seasoning and bringing the meat up to temperature." Cookston highlights another area when time matters: "I season my steaks at least 30 minutes before cooking, then leave them on a kitchen counter (lightly covered) to come up to room temperature." She says that if you cook steaks that have come right out of the fridge, you'll likely end up with an overdone exterior and undercooked interior. "This may make for a memorable steak, but it won't be a good memory," she adds.

When it comes to grilling up some unforgettable sirloins, not monitoring the temperature of your steak is another common pitfall.

A meat thermometer eliminates the guessing game

Melissa Cookston may be a barbecue expert, but she also isn't afraid to use the tools that can help her get the job done right. For example, she shares a tip to avoid overcooking. She says everyone should be using a meat thermometer. Cookston explains to Mashed, "I use my MEATER, because I can monitor it from my phone instead of standing over a hot grill. I also can input my desired temp, and the MEATER will alert me when the steaks are ready (with a built-in "rest" time.) Nice!"

In addition to this essential tool, you may also want to use a blade tenderizer. Cookston says, "Sirloins have a great beefy flavor but are more 'toothsome' than some steaks. Invest in a 48 blade tenderizer." The pitmaster explains how ways these work: "They're fairly inexpensive and will help steaks (or chops, or anything really) cook faster and have a better mouthfeel. I season my sirloins, then run the tenderizer on both sides. This will help push some of the seasonings into the steaks."

We want to explore all the mouthfeels of all the steaks now, but we shouldn't forget Cookston's last tip. "Tenderized steaks will cook about 20% faster than non-tenderized ones, so bear that in mind," she says.