Take care when using lighter fluid. Add charcoal lighter fluid when coals are dry, never when they're ignited. Apply lighter fluid and then wait a minute before lighting -- this reduces the concentration of harmful vapors you'd otherwise inhale. Always wear an insulated barbecue mitt when lighting coals.
Avoid flare-ups. Trim fat on your meat so the fatty juice doesn't cause too many sudden flames.
Soak kebab skewers. Before placing wooden skewers on the grill, soak them in water for 20 to 30 minutes to keep them from burning.
Finish up grilling, the right way. When you're done grilling, it's best to close the hood on the grill and close the dampers to smother the coals. If it's a gas grill, be sure to turn off the gas at the tank and at the burners.
Q: What's the difference between grilling and barbecuing?
A: Grilling is cooking food directly over a very hot fire, while barbecuing is the slow, indirect cooking of meat over a low, smoky fire.
Q: How will I know when my grill is ready for cooking?
A: There's a simple way to tell when it's time to start cooking. Hold the palm of your hand six inches over the heat. Count "one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three." If you have to pull it away after three seconds (i.e. one thousand three) then the temperature is just right for cooking as it's about 350°F to 375°F. You can also tell if a charcoal grill is ready when 80 percent of the coals have turned ash gray.