How to Barbecue in 12 Simple Steps?
A Beginner’s Guide

Sun's shining bright, and it’s time to bring out the barbecue, gather around your family and friends, and have a fabulous outdoor bash.

In barbecue, you will get crispy and delicious food. It is a simple form of cooking without much hassle.

Without further ado, let's get cracking as we break down how to cook a barbecue.

Jump To The Right Section

Get to Know BBQ

bbq tools

Equipment Required for Barbecue


Types of Heat

A Step by Step Guide For Barbecue


Step 1

Get a Grill, Smoker, or a Combo


Step 2

Assemble Your Grill


Step 3

Clean Up Your Grill


Step 4

Prepare Fuel

Ready Your Food

Step 5

Ready Your Food

grill light

Step 6

Power Up Your Grill

wood chips

Step 7

Prep for Flavoring

cooking time

Step 8

All Set for Cooking

cooking tools

Step 9

Use the Cooking Tools


Step 10

Check Temperature

ready chicken

Step 11

BBQ Food Is Ready

warm grill

Step 12

Clean While Still Warm

bbq intro

Get to Know BBQ

Barbecue is one of the ways of cooking food. It involves direct contact with heat.

In this form, pieces of food such as fish, meat, vegetables, etc. can be cooked without any cooking utensils.

Moreover, a smoky taste from direct contact with heat intensifies its flavor and gives a depth to your style of cooking. It shows technique without any stressful steps.

BBQ makes sure your choice of protein is very juicy from the inside, and also crispy from the outside. Cooking on stovetop requires pots and pans; however, barbecuing involves little less.

bbq tools

Equipment Required for BBQ

This form of cooking is possible through a grill otherwise known as smokers too.

Grilling appliances vary depending on its highlighted features. They have different power sources and purposes, and various designs to complement your backyard or deck.

So, make sure to get the right one for your place as well as that benefits your cooking style.

Generally, grills are designed to have a firebox, grill grates, and other features according to the purpose. The firebox is where the fire is lit and contained for cooking purposes.

For beginners, gas grills are simpler to use. You can find grilling equipment which serves your purpose at any supermarket.

Also, you can make online purchases because these are available on the net too. However, make sure to read the label for its features.

Additional Tools:

Tongs or Long-Handled Spatula: Tongs are great to handle meats and vegetables, but spatulas work with ease for delicate foods such as fish fillets that need a swift flip.

Wood Handle Grill SpatulaWood Handle Grill Spatula

Grill Mitts: These mitts come in different materials such as silicone, leather, fire-retardant fabrics, etc. that protect you from flames when handling food.

Extreme Heat Resistant Grill GlovesExtreme Heat Resistant Grill Gloves

Grill Brush: For healthy grilling, it's essential to clean any residue of previous cooking as well as dirt from staying outdoor.

BBQ Brush for GrillBBQ Brush for Grill

Meat Thermometer: Grills can cook meat at a different rate, so if you insert this thermometer in the center of your meat, you'll get to know its cooking temperature.

Food Meat Thermometer for GrillingFood Meat Thermometer for Grilling
  • Cook pork at 160 C at least
  • Cook poultry at 165 C at least
  • Cook beef and lamb at 145 C at least

Basting Brush: brushing marinades over food adds flavor and also juiciness to grilled food.

Basting BrushBasting Brush

Two Types of Heat for BBQ

1. Low and Slow Cooking

In this method, food is cooked with little or no contact with the fire.

Mostly, the heat from the fire slowly cooks the food by softening it at first. Then the juices inside the food are cooked to give it a moist and tender finish.

It is more scrumptious because the flavors intensify within the food for a longer time.

2. Searing

Later on, this method gives a crispy surface to your meal.

You can do it by placing the food directly above the fire. Then, it is cooked quickly to brown the surface of the food.

Moreover, it’s a concise process; precisely 6 minutes per piece.

This method does not cook your food. It only sears your food to give it a crunch and crispiness as well as excellent color for presentation.

Steps for Barbecue


Step 1: Get a Grill, Smoker, or a Combo

All you need for barbecue is equipment.

There are several types of grills and smokers with different purposes and power sources. These power sources fire up your barbecue.

Usually, smokers contain the fire in a separate place as well as keep the heat low enough around 110 C to 120 C.

On the other hand, grills are designed to cook food fast and hot. Moreover, it keeps the fire in open space below the food for direct heat contact.

So, it is based on what you seek.

Types of Grills:

Types of Smokers:

Therefore, you should choose a grill or a smoker based on your style of cooking.

However, if you are a beginner at a barbecue, have no fear. We understand it can get tricky while choosing equipment for yourself. 

That's why we picked out some; featuring a simple design and easy to use.

Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-DDyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D

Dyna-Glo Charcoal Offset Smoker

Weber 46510001 Spirit E310Weber 46510001 Spirit E310

Weber Spirit E310 Gas Grill

Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill  SmokerZ Grills Wood Pellet Grill  Smoker

Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill Smoker


Step 2: Assemble Your Grill

For assembling, you should have someone by your side.

However, it is not as daunting as it seems. All the grills and smokers come with a manufacturer's guide. So, take a sigh of relief.

  • First of all, you need to read the manual carefully.
  • Secondly, make sure you have all the parts.
  • Then, start putting it together by following the instructions in the manual.

Moreover, you should power up the grill as soon as you assembled it to ensure it's legit. Make sure it works correctly and does not have any defects.

If you find any fault, immediately report to the manufacturer.


Step 3: Clean Up Your Grill

In case your grill is not brand new or has been tucked away for a while, you should make cleaning your priority.

For a Safe Barbecue-

  • Get some latex gloves, coarse brush, and metal wire sponge.
  • Power up the grill then close the hood and let it warm up for at least 15 minutes.
  • The heat will kill any insects hiding in the appliance as well as melt off any old and hardened grease from the previous cook.
  • Then let the grill cool down till you can take off the grill grates.
  • Soak the grates for 20 minutes in soapy water.
  • Wear the gloves and use the brush or sponge to scrub off any dirt or remnants of previous food from the grates.
  • For safety reasons, you should perform this step twice.
  • Next, you should use some dish washing liquid or soap to clean the grill tray and lid.
  • Then, wipe the grill with a wet cloth for a dry clean.
  • At last, oil the grill with vegetable oil to prevent any rusts.

Step 4: Prepare Your Fuel

Your choice of equipment may vary, but wood chips are the most suitable for your barbecue fire.

Naturally, wood chips are made out of wood; however, they are not just pieces of wood.

They are seasoning elements for your barbecue, and it is necessary for inserting your choice of flavor into your grilled food.

Wood Chips Flavor-

Pecan, apple wood, oak, hickory, maple, mesquite, alder, etc.

One great thing, most of the wood chips go with any type of seafood, meat, or vegetables.

So, the choice of flavor also depends on your taste palate.

Usually, these wood chips are safe to use; however, you should not substitute for work woods as they may have chemicals. It can contaminate the healthiness and flavor of your food.

Also, you should discuss with the store helper while buying wood chips. They can advise you suitable wood chips based on your grilling recipe.

Prep Your Wood Chips

  • First of all, you need to soak the wood chips in water for 15 minutes
  • After it's absorbed, discard the water and place it aside for later use
  • Use the discarded water throughout your barbecue

One last thing you should remember that all types of equipment are suitable for soaked wood chips except offset smokers.

Make sure to use dry wood chips if your choice of equipment is an offset smoker.

Ready Your Food

Step 5: Ready Your Food

If you have a dish in mind, then your choice of food is clear.

However, you should always go for thicker cuts of fish and meat for the barbecue. Thicker cuts do not flake easily. They hold their shape together throughout the cooking time.

  • Also, make sure to use firm vegetables for the barbecue
  • After you choose your food, next is to season it
  • For beginners, it is usually best to start with salt and pepper

If you are barbecuing the second time or poised on your first try, you can use dry rub consisting of various spices on your food.

  • Dry rub; salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, cayenne, etc.
  • Do not over complicate your spice mixture. Remember, less is more

However, you can enlighten yourself with recipe books or the internet. It can offer a wide range of marinating mixture for a barbecue.

But first, let us help you in seasoning your meat.

  • Sprinkle the spice mixture on both sides of the meat
  • Let it sit for 1 minute
  • Next, wrap it in a cling film
  • Then refrigerate it for about 30 minutes
How to Barbecue a beginner's guide

Make sure to not marinate for too long. Check the texture of your meat as it might alter from marinating too long. 

grill light

Step 6: Power Up Your Grill

It's time to start your grilling machine, but do not begin grilling your food just yet.

There needs to be enough heat already present before barbecuing. It is necessary to preheat the grill because of two essential reasons.

  • If there's heat, the grill will get decontaminated from harmful germs before any cooking takes place
  • The food needs a heated environment to start cooking

Therefore, it is better to be safe than sorry.

  • Firstly, light up the fire
  • Then, close the hood for 20 minutes at least
  • The temperature inside the device needs to be about 400 F

However, you should keep in mind that all the grills and smokers have a different style of lighting. 

In that case, take aid from the manufacturer's guide that comes with the equipment. 

wood chips

Step 7: Prep for Flavoring

Adding Wood Chips

  • After your machine is heated up, you need to add the flavored wood chips over the charcoal in the firebox in the case of using a charcoal smoker.
  • On the other hand, if you are using pellet, electric, or propane smoker, you need to place the flavored wood chips in the wood chip compartment.
  • Also, remember you need to use dry wood chips if your machine is an offset smoker

Using the Water Pan

If you remember correctly, it was said to keep the water used for soaking wood chips aside for later use.

  • Using water while cooking creates moisture for the food so that you do not have dry meat or flaky fish.
  • Sprinkling water on the grill also aid in regulating the cooking temperature.
  • If your device has a water pan, fill it up with water and place the pan underneath the grill grates.
  • If you do not have a water pan, use an aluminum foil bowl that fits below the grill grates.
  • For extra flavor, you can add herbs into the water so that when you sprinkle it over the food, it adds flavor through herb-infused water alongside moisture.
cooking time

Step 8: All Set for Cooking

Before you start cooking, remember that the initial step is to keep the food in low indirect heat for a longer time.

Barbecuing is the process of slow cooking, usually from around an hour to 4 hours on low or medium heat. This lets your food have a good texture and taste.

On the other hand, smoking requires days of work and great patience.

That is why; we suggest grilling for getting amazing barbecued food.

Now, onto how you can achieve that. Do not worry. We made it easier for you by listing all the steps for your BBQ.

  • First of all, you need to place the food on the grill grate just above the water pan.
  • Then set the temperature between 200 F to 250 F (if you are using smoker, check for the thermometer)
  • Next, just close the lid and chill
  • Food needs to be cooked from 1 hour to 4 hours at least based on your choice of food
  • Try to omit any interruptions during cooking time as if you open the hood multiple time, the heat will decrease, and your food will be cooked unevenly.
cooking tools

Step 9: Use the Cooking Tools

Barbecue deals with direct heat and flames, so you should keep safety your utmost priority.

Tools can keep you away from heat and smoke as well as protects your hands from burning.

Alongside these, some tools help monitor your cooking temperature, and to deal with delicate food on the grill.

Therefore, make sure you have these tools near when it's BBQ time such as grill mitts, tongs, spatula, meat thermometers, spice brushes, knives, and plates, etc.

Further information on additional tools is mentioned above in the equipment section. 


Step 10: Check Temperature for Finish

Most of the grills have built-in thermometers. These thermometers can measure the temperature inside the device.

However, you should purchase an additional thermometer for food.

A food thermometer is essential to check the state of doneness in food. If the time for cooking is finished, just insert the tip of the thermometer into the food to check for surety.

Temperatures for proteins are mentioned above. However, you can still take aid from recipes for further information on that particular protein.

Furthermore, you can adjust temperatures, smoke, and heat by using the dampers, chimneys, and vents available on the grill.

ready chicken

Step 11: BBQ Food Is Ready

Even though you take your food off the grill, you cannot serve just yet.

End Steps – Carryover Cooking: This method is to take your food off the grill about 15 minutes before its estimated cooking time. It’s done to prevent any overcooking, and a fact that food still cooks even when you take it off the fire.

  • If you are using sugar-based sauces, apply them at the very end of the cook
  • These types of sauces easily burn if applied early in the cook
  • Rest your food for about 5 minutes before you slice and serve it up

In this way, the juices inside the food will settle in, and also the food will cool down enough for eating.

warm grill

Step 12: Clean While Still Warm

It is better to clean off your grill while your food is in carryover cooking and resting.

Moreover, since it is still warm, juices are still in liquid form, you can easily wipe them off.

Some vertical grills have a dripping pan, which traps grease and juices. This feature helps in easy cleaning.

Good to Go

Barbecue is a great way to utilize your backyard. You can cook as well as interact with your guests and enjoy the great green outdoor.

Hopefully, you are well prepared to get cracking on how to cook a barbecue and show your skills and wow your guests.

Related Posts:

Amazon Disclosure: SMOKEGEARS.COM is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc., or its affiliates. Additionally, participates in various other affiliate programs, and we sometimes get a commission through purchases made through our links. Smoke Gears also use AdSense. We use Ezoic to provide personalization and analytic services on this website, as such Ezoic's privacy policy is in effect and can be reviewed here. For questions about this website, please contact us via CONTACT FORM

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Copyright 2019 by Smoke Gears Protection Status