Now that you are retired, you have plenty of time to master some of the tasks you do around the house. For example, you are now an expert in vacuuming and dusting and you do a great job folding the fitted sheets.

You want to become an expert cook, but the spouse makes you stay away from the kitchen when she is cooking. Don’t be disappointed, the outdoor grill is still your domain. So you have decided to become a master BBQ chef. Good for you.

This is a little out of your comfort zone, but that’s fine, it should all go well.

You head to the grocery store and stock up on ribs, chicken and brisket. You also grab several bottles of barbecue sauce. But before you fire up the grill or smoker, you need to make sure you are doing this the right way. Goldberg and Associates, your retirement planning service in Atlanta, offers BBQ mistakes you need to avoid.

Lifting the Lid

Once the meat has been placed on the grill and the lid is closed, keep it closed. Opening the lip every 30 seconds to poke at the meat will only dry it out. Once the lid is closed, it should only be opened to flip the meat or baste it with more sauce.

Too Much Heat

If the grill is cranked up too high, it will ruin the meat you are trying to cook. Keeping the heat too high will result in burgers that are burnt on the outside and raw on the inside.

Preheat the Grill

One mistake many newbies make is that they fail to preheat the grill. Sometimes they even toss the meat on before the grill is started. Your meat will cook faster and will remain tender and juicy if the grill is heated up first.

Once the ideal heat is reached, between 350 and 450 degrees depending on what you are cooking, close the lid for the perfect outcome.

Food Safety

The CDC reports that one in six Americans get food poisoning each year. You can avoid food-borne illnesses by following a few simple rules. You should be washing your hands several times while you are grilling, especially after handling raw meat. Make sure no utensils or other food touched the raw meat.

Not Enough Meat

You don’t want to hand your spouse a burger that is dwarfed by the bun. Hamburger shrinks when it is cooked, so make sure you make big patties.

Incorrectly Seasoned

Using the wrong seasoning mix or marinade is a common problem with rookie cooks. You want to avoid marinades that are loaded with corn syrup or sugar. You also want to avoid marinades high in citrus juices as these ingredients tend to burn off right away.

Any BBQ enthusiast knows that you need to marinate the meat for at least seven hours before cooking it. The ideal marinade is a puree that will be low in acidity, like mango for example. You can also choose to use Worcestershire sauce or BBQ sauce.

Room Temperature

You should never take the meat from the fridge right to the grill. You need to set it out for a little while until it reaches room temperature. This way, your meat will cook more quickly and evenly.

Too Much on the Grill

Grills are wonderful, but don’t load yours up with burgers, hot dogs, chicken, onions and corn. In addition to the risk of cross-contamination, a packed grill will cause undercooked and overcooked foods. Just cook a few things at once.

When you have mastered the art of the BBQ, give Goldberg and Associates a call to go over your retirement plan.