Feel the Heat
Light coals about 30 minutes in advance of cooking time. To determine if the coals are ready, hold your palm five inches over the fire. If you can hold it there for two to three seconds, the fire is hot; if you can stand four to five seconds, the fire is medium; and tolerating a full six seconds means the fire is low.
Stop the Stick
Use high heat--and patience--to prevent food from sticking to the grill." A lot of guys think that grilling means turning everything 40 times," says Flay. "I use really high heat, turn it once and let a nice crust form. It sears in the flavor and keeps food from sticking." Repeated turning cools the meat so that it steams instead of searing.
To speed up grilling time, partially pre-cook chicken, spare ribs, potatoes, carrots and other slow-cooking food in the oven or microwave.
When using skewers, cut food into chunks that are too large to fall through the grate. Or, grill foods whole, then cut them before serving.
Give Up the Gadgets
"Forget the bells and whistles and keep your equipment simple," says Flay. All that's required are a strong pair of tongs, a sturdy spatula, some heavy-duty potholders or mitts and a strong wire scraper.
If you need more than one cooking temperature, mound some coals on one side to create a hot section and spread coals out on the other side for a cooler section. Other ways to control heat are to raise and lower the grill rack. The closer the rack is to the fire, the hotter it will be. And opening vents will raise heat, while closing them will lower it.
Brush the foods you are grilling with sauces during the last 20 minutes of cooking to prevent overbrowning or burning.
"Before you shut your grill off, brush it when it's still hot and all the crusts will come away and burn in the coals," instructs Flay. He recommends a good quality grill brush with metal bristles to scrape the grate clean.