No matter the season, it is always a good time to fire up the grill. Before that happens, you need to decide which grilling camp you belong in: gas or charcoal. Both have their fans, but for convenience, you can’t beat propane. Quick start and no cleanup. Here are some great tips the pros use for perfect grilled meals:

Tip #1: Clean Grill = Happy Food

You wouldn’t cook with dirt pots and pans in your kitchen, right? You shouldn’t with your grill, either. All that caked on crust is going to prevent an even distribution of the precious heat. If grease drippings have accumulated, they could ignite setting off an unintended blaze. Always better to start with a clean canvas. The best time to clean the char is right after you’ve cooked. While your meat is resting and your grill is still hot, give it the once over with the wire brush. Then before the next session, wipe out the droppings before your fire up. Your steaks will thank you.

Tip #2: Set Your Grilling Zones

Let’s stipulate that you know to thoroughly heat up your grill before placing your first patty down. Do you know about grilling zones? You should set up a direct heat hot side and a radiant heat not-so-hot side. On a gas grill, this is easy to accomplish. First, fire up all the burners until your grate is hot. Then cut down one side. This way you can move what you’re cooking from the char zone to the slow cook zone.

Tip #3: Have Your Spices At The Ready

Once the grilling commences, you want to stay at the helm. This means you should have all your spices, marinades and rub at the ready and by your side. Think about every cooking show you’ve ever seen; those chefs always have their spices within arm’s reach at all time. It helps that they have a production staff that can set this up. All you need is a tray to load up, and you’re good to go.

Tip #4: Greasing Down The Grill

The reason food sticks to a grill are because it hasn’t been properly greased. Anything you’re cooking should already be at room temperature. That will allow for a more even cook. The fast way to grease your grill is with a spray. You can also use a little oil soaked in a paper towel and applied using a pair of tongues. Plus, if anyone is watching this, then they’ll know you’re a pro.

Tip #5: Let The Fire Do Its Thing

If you find yourself with a crowded grill during every meal, then it’s time to get a bigger grill. Your food needs elbow room. It also needs time for the fire to do its thing. This means no poking, prodding or obsessive flipping. You should only flip once. If cooking steaks, give them a good sear first in your kitchen, then go to the grill. Never, ever flatten the meat. Squeezing all that juice out defeats the purpose of grilling. Bottom line: don’t play with your food. What’s your favorite thing to grill?