Father's Day is here, and while you may typically leave the grilling to Dad why not step up your own grilling game?

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We teamed up with Tops Friendly Markets to bring you a handful of tips for how you can take yourself from novice to veteran when it comes to cooking meats and veggies over an open flame. Chowhound.com had a terrific list of tips that we loved, so we picked a few of our favorites to pass along. You also have an opportunity to win a $25 gift card to Tops Friendly Markets, so scroll down and enter to win!

Grilling Tips for Beginners

  1. Prep Your Grill
    1. It's extremely important to make sure your grill is clean before starting, because leaving the debris from your last grilling session on there can have consequences.
    2. Your chicken might stick to the grill, you may get some charred food mixed in with your burger, or your steak might taste like last week's hot dogs.
  2. Preheat Your Grill
    1. You've gotta make sure the grill is good and hot before the food goes on so you know what temperature you're working with. Same concept as preheating an oven!
  3. Don't "Smoosh" the Meat
    1. You see it all the time in cartoons or movies--people taking that big old spatula and pressing on whatever they're cooking. DON'T DO THAT! All you're doing is pushing out the juices.
    2. This also will prevent "flare-ups" where the flames shoot up out of the grill. Helpful if you like your eyebrows where they are.
    3. BONUS TIP: Lean on tongs instead of a spatula for everything except for fish.
  4. Use a Meat Thermometer
    1. Nothing ruins a party quicker than food poisoning, right?
    2. Knowing the internal temperature is the best way to make sure you're not overcooking your meat, either.
  5. Know the Differences Between Meats
    1. There is not a one-size-fits-all method for grilling. Each type of meat (or anything else you put on the grill) needs to be handled differently.
    2. For example, you want high, direct heat for a burger to get that nice exterior while keeping the insides juicy, but you'll want to keep chicken away from indirect heat--it'll take longer but it will stay juicy.
    3. Chowhound has a great breakdown of how to treat each meat properly
  6. Clean Up Your Grill
    1. The same principles apply for cleaning as prepping--a clean grill leads to good food.
    2.  Start by turning the heat up and burning the excess juice, fat and sauce off the grill for 15 minutes or so.
    3. Once the grill is cool, clean off the grates and scrub any extra "gunk" that might be stuck on there--this will make your life easier the next time you use the grill.