I confess that when I had a gas grill, I was probably the worst, the worst Jerry (Seinfeld reference, couldn’t resist) griller ever to pick up a pair of tongs, but my family and friends dutifully ate my blackened creations and never complained. That however all changed when I received as a gift a large capacity Weber charcoal grill, and I decided it was time to learn how to grill correctly for at least my devoted family’s sake if nothing else.

I read online snippets of information, I read thoroughly the owner’s manual that came with my grill and even some small grilling cookbooks (I can’t believe I am admitting this) as I was determined to do this right and not burn everything. The one thing that seemed to be common among everything I came across said that how you “build your charcoal” base is the key to controlling your heat and increasing your chances for a good, and edible grilling experience.

However, before I get to charcoal, which now is my area of expertise, if I do say so myself, I would like to pass along some easy information I have come across for grillers to utilize whether their preference is gas or charcoal for beef, even though we all know there is no better way to enjoy grilling than with charcoal, is there?

Three easy steps will greatly increase your chances of success, gas or charcoal, and they are; one, prepare the grill properly according to the manufacturer’s specifications for MEDIUM heat. Two, season the beef that should come directly from the refrigerator to do with herbs and or spices, and then immediately place it on the cooking grid. Third, most owners’ manuals have a chart to follow for times for various kinds of beef, it is important to follow these guidelines while remembering the time listed includes turning occasionally.

Since gas grilling guidelines seem to vary widely by manufacture, it is even more important to pay strict attention to your particular model’s recommendations, but when it comes to charcoal grilling, as long as coals are a medium heat (a model with a temperature gauge like mine is very helpful here), and ash covered which should take about 30 minutes to achieve, you should be able to follow time for cooking guidelines fairly accurately. It is recommended that after reaching this correct temperature, spreading the coals into a single layer and positioning the grid will also increase your chances for grilling success.

So, I am going to pass along some times and tips for certain cuts of beef that I have had success with only, as I am proud of the results that I have had. First, of course, would be ground sirloin, hand made patties about 1/2 inch thick. If cooking uncovered over medium heat, the total cooking time should be between 10-12 minutes to produce a medium well burger. I would cook both sides (one flip) for 4 minutes each side, and then another minute or possibly two for each side, and then after the final flip add your cheese of course for a properly melted cheeseburger if desired.

I have also had pretty good success with flank steak, which my wife will marinate overnight if possible, or for at least 3-5 hours prior to grilling. For up to a 2 lb cut, the total grilling time for me to produce again, about a medium well result, is about 18 minutes over the medium heat. Two 7-minute turns, and then 2 additional minutes each side toward “cooler” heat should produce the desired result.

The third cut I have had great success with are various cuts of round about 3/4 of an inch thick. I have found this to be a pretty easy cut to work with that requires only about anywhere from 8 to14 minutes to produce a result that should appeal to just about any palette depending upon the cut. With this cut, the 8-14 minutes usually has to have the grill COVERED, except for probably the easiest cut to work within my opinion, top round.

The last thing I can’t emphasize enough is that you really need to “time” the cooking. I know it sounds crazy, and my family and friends think it’s hysterical that part of my grilling accessories is the clock on my cell phone, but it works for me, otherwise, I freely admit that I would not be able to produce the quality of results I have gotten pretty good at achieving.

With the summer grilling season upon us, I hope that I have been able to help out some other beleaguered “backyard BBQs” to make this something you look forward to as opposed to something your family and friends dread. Good luck, enjoy!