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05/30/2014 02:09 EDT | Updated 06/05/2014 04:59 EDT

How To Barbecue, According To Master Griller Ted Reader

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The sun doesn't set until almost 9 p.m., the kitchen is getting too hot to cook in, and that means only one thing — barbecue season has arrived.

Though you may have been cooking meats and veggie options on the grill for years, it's entirely possible you've been doing it all wrong. After all, barbecue isn't the kind of cooking that is taught, but instead, learned through experience.

So as a cheatsheet for summer, we looked to grill master Ted Reader, author of Gastro Grilling, for some expertise. The holder of the Guinness Book of Record award for largest burger ever (590 pounds!), Reader knows a thing or two about getting your barbecue tasting delicious, and he doesn't mind sharing his philosophies on beer, either.

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Temperature Matters: "If you are cooking with high heat (as with a steak), keep the barbecue lid open; with low heat (as with slow-cooked meats), keep the lid closed," says grill expert Ted Reader, author of Gastro Grilling.

It's Your Duty: "Never leave your grill: once you start cooking keep to your post. Leaving a grill unattended may result in burning your food," says Reader. "Stay with it. An unattended grill is a disaster waiting to happen."

Clean Is Good: "A clean grill is a healthy grill, so keep it clean, scrub it with the your grill brush after each cooking session," says Reader. "Make sure you occasionally clean the drip pan under the burners to save you from having a grease fire. Cover your grill after use as well. A clean grill is not only healthier but it will last much longer."

Take A Breath: "Patience is everything when it comes to grilling and barbecuing. Low and slow is a great way to go," Reader points out. "But remember every time you want to touch or flip or poke or squish your food, have a sip of beer instead."

Get Prepped: "Come to your grill prepared and ready to do some serious cooking. So make sure you have enough cold beverages to do the job and all your ingredients," Reader advises.

Don't Fuss Over Grills: "Any grill is a good grill as long as it gets nice and hot and does the job of helping you create delicious food," Reader says. "As for beer, any beer is a good beer as long it is frosty, cold and quenches your thirst."

Hands Off: "Never touch another person’s grill or barbecue unless you have been invited to," Reader states.

Guinea Pigs Beware: "Never test new recipes on your guests. Practice makes perfect, so test them out on your family, they are more forgiving," Reader jokes.

Slow And Steady: "Turn it down. You don’t have to grill everything over high heat," Reader says definitively. "Sometimes low 'n slow is the way to go and remember the longer it takes to cook, the more beer you get."