Don't pierce the meat.
Hugh Mangum, the pitmaster at his celebrated New York City barbecue joints under the Mighty Quinn's banner, has a few rules for owning the grill come this Fourth of July. Chief among them is opting for dish-washing gloves and tongs to handle meat rather than a fork.
"Those big BBQ forks, throw them away or use them for yard work," Mangum told CNBC. "If you pierce the meat, you kill the meat. You let all the juices out. The meat should not be pierced."
Here are some of his other golden rules for owning the grill:
- Towels — Pick up a bunch of cheap terrycloth towels and use them for everything. Use them to clean up grease and ash and everything else that accumulates after hours of intense grilling.
- Pick up a set of heavy-duty tongs, about 10 to 12 inches long. Don't go to a fancy cookware shop, either. Find a restaurant supply house and snag them for about $10.
- If you're serious about barbecue, then it's time to invest in a smoker. Look for one that's a few hundred bucks, like the Weber Smokey Mountain, Mangum said. "It's a great start for someone who doesn't want to commit to let's say 14 hours of smoking every weekend," he added.
The last rule? Keep it simple, Mangum said.
"Barbecue is about having fun," he said. "There's no point if you're going to stress it out. And always have a six-pack handy."