WASHINGTON - Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer. But officially, it's the kick-off to a serious grilling season.
For those firing up the grill for the first time, a celebrity chef -- known for his famous burgers -- offers some expert tips.
"There are two guys in the world. Guys who can grill and guys who think they can grill," says Food Network star Bobby Flay, who just opened his 15th Bobby's Burger Palace, located in Woodbridge, Va.
Taking some tips from his new cookbook, "Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction," Flay says don't go gang busters -- start off slowly.
"Don't do anything crazy. Break out your old reliables. Get some grilled chicken on there, get some rib-eye steaks, a few burgers."
Flay's golden rule -- let the grill do its job.
"Leave whatever you put on the grill, on the grill," he says. "Let it come away from the grill on its own. Because if you start messing with it and playing with it to see if it's sticking, that's when it begins to stick."
According to Flay, one rookie grilling mistake is to poke meat while it's on the grill. The poking results in letting out the juices, which makes the meat dry. Flay also says wait to slather on barbecue sauces until the last five minutes of cooking.
And a huge no-no: don't overcook food.
Flay says when in doubt, undercook because it can always be thrown back on the barbie. But once it's overcooked, there's no way to make it moist again.
If you want your fish or meat to stay juicy, never cut into it right after it comes off the grill. You have to let it rest so juices don't run out. Loosely tent foil over the food to keep it warm.
For smaller cuts, like fish and chicken pieces, Flay recommends allowing them rest for about 5 minutes. But give whole chickens and thick steaks 10 minutes or 20 minutes for a large roast.
For more tips on grilling and grill safety, click here.
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