Ever wonder why your burgers are causing flare-ups on the grill? Or why you can’t get your grilled steaks to be perfectly crispy on the outside, but tender and juicy on the inside? Or why your kebabs seem to always fall apart?

For most of us, summer means grilling, but too often the cook-outs of our imaginings never quite materialize in reality. If this situation sounds familiar, never fear! You don’t have to give up your home barbecue dreams; you just need some help! After all, who has time for subpar food on the grill this summer? Not us, and we’re betting not you, either.

It turns out that if you’re dealing with flare-ups, lackluster veggie skewers or gray, unappetizing steaks, the likely answer to your problems is simple: you might be missing a few important steps in your grilling process. Luckily, Thomas Joseph from Everyday Food’s Kitchen Conundrums is here in the video below to share those steps with us, and more tips that will make this the summer of the best cookouts of your life. Keep reading and check it out!

Perfect Steak

So let’s start with the reason you’re all here — grilling the perfect steak! Scroll back up for a second and take a look at the two different ones side-by-side above. Do you know why they look so different? The obvious answer is that one looks gray and unappealing while the other is straight out of a magazine, but how and why did they get that way?

Turns out, the answer is all about temperature! That ugly gray steak? It was placed and cooked on a grill that was cold to start. When you make your steak by starting it on a cold grill, you actually end up steaming it, not searing it, resulting in that horrible gray color and not that perfect, crusty sear.

So how do we make sure our steaks always turn out absolutely perfectly? Follow Thomas Joseph’s simple and smart tips!

1 . Heat your grill – or your grill pan, if you’re cooking indoors – to a medium-high heat. To sense if it’s hot enough, just use your hand! You’ll know you’re at the perfect temperature when, while holding your hand just above the grill, you can only hold your hand in place for a few seconds.

2. Make sure no food will stick to your grill by brushing it with a neutral oil that can go to a high heat, like canola or grapeseed oil. Just use a paper towel to brush it on while the grill heats up! (Be sure to use tongs, too, if you’re outside over an open flame.)

3. Liberally season both sides of a thick steak. Most of the seasoning will fall off the steak while it cooks, so you want to make sure you get that flavor in while you can.

4. Once the grill is sufficiently hot, place it on the grill on a diagonal to get some nice grill marks. After 2 minutes, rotate it to get the crosshatch grill marks. After another 2 minutes, flip to the other side, and cook for another 2 minutes before rotating again.

5. After grilling for 4 minutes on each side (i.e. 2 minutes on each diagonal on each side), move the steak to indirect heat. If you’re outside on the grill, that means turning off the middle knob and leaving the steak to cook in the middle while the heat continues around the outside. If you’re inside on a grill pan, that means moving the steak to a sheet pan lined with a rack and putting it in the oven.

So there you go! Start on high heat, finish on indirect heat, season well and rotate for a picture-perfect sear. Easy!

To see these tips in action, and to learn Thomas Joseph’s other tips for preventing flare-ups and making perfect kebabs and veggie skewers, check out the video below.

What do you think of these grilling tips? Is there anything you’d add or change? Do you have problems with gray steaks and flare-ups, or are these problems you’ve never experienced? Share with us and with each other!