Grilling can be a great social event filled with beautifully smoky food and beers all around — unless of course you haven’t mastered the art yet. If that’s the case, here are tips from some of our Grilling Gods. Follow their advice and perhaps you’ll be the most talked-about thing at the party, other than the food, of course.

Grilling God: Aarón Sánchez Loves Skirt Steak, Jamming Out To The Alabama Shakes

Aarón Sánchez

What is the biggest mistake home grillers can make?
Oiling their grills. You should oil your products, not your grill. Oiling your grill creates that acrid smoke and burnt flavor. Also, by oiling your product, you keep all those wonderful seasonings.

Bobby Flay

How do you know the burger or steak is done?
I prefer the touch test, which is really easy and makes total sense. As meat cooks, it becomes firmer and firmer to the touch. Rare meat feels spongy, medium meat feels springy, and well-done feels taut. This is true for pork, poultry and steak-like fish, such as tuna, salmon and swordfish. However, for the less experienced cook, an instant-read thermometer is an inexpensive tool that works really well.

Chris Lilly

Tell us, what are some of the biggest mistakes that home grillers can make?
Overcooking. And people do this because they’re scared of undercooking. When you cook things that are not as well protected and don’t have a high fat content, such as a boneless chicken breast or a pork chop, people tend to overcook them. So my advice to everyone is to make sure you have an internal meat thermometer. And know what internal temperatures to bring your meat up to. I like to bring my chicken breast up to 160 internal. For pork chops, many people don’t know it, but the USDA’s new guidelines say that you can cook the pork up to 145 degrees internal and be safe.

Grilling God: Jenn Louis On Being An Opportunivore This BBQ Season

Jenn Louis

What is the biggest mistake the home griller can make?
Having too-hot coal. Let the coals die down a little, then add a few pieces to keep the heat going. This helps adjust and control the heat based on what you are grilling.

Bryan Voltaggio

What is your favorite cut of meat to grill?
My favorite cuts vary. With beef I am very much into skirt steaks and hanger. You can impart all kinds of added flavor with marinades — they help to tenderize the meat and also help you to achieve a really great crust of browning on the outside of the meat, ultimately leaving this really great full-of-beef-y flavor in the interior. These cuts also retain great moisture and texture when grilled. With pork I am really into slowly smoking shoulders and bellies on the grill. Now this takes brining, or overnight dry rubs, which can sometimes require days of preparation, but the results are really worth it. With fish I love to grill wild striped bass during the Maryland season. Nothing like fish caught in the morning with a party on the deck at night.

Sean Brasel

Most useful piece of grilling gear you have purchased or used?
For most people, a digital thermometer. So many times I have seen people grill that perfect piece of chicken thigh only to get into the middle of it and see that it’s still red. Nothing will ruin a fun BBQ faster than serving raw chicken. For me the most useful must-have gear is an awesome pair of tongs — I keep a specific pair in my knife kit.

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Jose Enrique

What is the worst food item you have seen thrown on the grill?
Flaky fish with low oil content. Oily fish are great to grill due to the natural oil. For all other fish, make sure the skin is very dry, add oil and grill the skin side down. You can also grill fish wrapped in leaves (such as banana). Soak the leaves in water and use them as packets to add all types of spices, peppers, onions and citrus, then grill for 8 to 10 minutes over high heat.

I’m also a big fan of grilling whole fish. Score the fish to help distribute the heat evenly, and stuff it with herbs and citrus. Rub it with oil and grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. The eyes will pop, and you’re done!

russ faulk

Russ Faulk

What is the biggest mistake the home griller can make?
That would be putting cold meat on a cold grill and then lighting the fire. I’m amazed to see it happen, but I have seen it more than once. I can’t think of a bigger mistake than that. The most common mistake I see is using barbecue sauce as a marinade. The sugar content in most barbecue sauces will make it burn. It should be applied toward the end of cooking.

Jeff Fitzgerald

What is the biggest mistake the home griller can make?
Moving things around too often or early, especially fish.

Sang Yoon is the

Sang Yoon

What is the biggest mistake the home griller can make?
Not resting the meat — cooking meat is all about timing and temperature. Novices tend to keep meat on the grill too long without a rest period to allow indirect cooking.

Grilling God: Jason Dady

Jason Dady

What’s the biggest mistake you can make when grilling?
You also have to pay attention to the smoke that comes off of it. To me, grilling is very simple if you have common sense. White smoke is good; gray smoke is “let me pay attention”; dark gray smoke is “I need to pull it off.”

Jeremy McMillan

What is the biggest mistake the home griller can make?
Walking away from the fire. This isn’t like an oven! You need to watch it and work the coals and your food to find the right cooking spot on the grill. It’s a living thing. Best bet: Have a beer in your hand to keep you company.

Erik Anderson

What’s the best blend for a hamburger?
50/50 chuck and short rib. Cube the meat and then cure it overnight with salt, black pepper, thyme and garlic. Then grind it coarsely with one pound of Benton’s bacon to every 15 pounds of meat. Patty them to a size of six ounces — no more, no less.

Tim Byres

Do you mess with vegetables on the grill?
For sure. With the grilling thing, you deal with this abrasive flavor, this charred, smoky meat. You want to balance that well with acidity and crunchy and fresh. I do a lot of pickles and lightly grilled vegetables. You almost want them still a bit raw in the center so there is some crunch to them.