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Grilling is synonymous with Father's Day (though we're not sure why), and every Father's Day sale includes some reference to grilling or grilling paraphernalia. We're going to buy in to the mysterious relationship between father figures and barbecue by talking tips and techniques with Stuart Meyer, CEO of the National Barbecue & Grilling Association. He shared some choice pieces of wisdom with us.

1. How to tell if your meat is ready.

You don't need to use a thermometer or knife, just do the manual doneness technique. Press your thumb to your index finger, and use your other hand to feel the pad of your thumb. It should feel like a rare or medium rare steak. Your thumb and your middle finger: a medium steak. Your thumb and your ring finger: a medium well-done steak. Your thumb and your pinky: a well-done steak. See below for a demonstration.

2. Leave your meat (mostly) alone.

Meyer said puncturing or cutting your grilled meat too much is bad.

"The juices are going to leak out, and you're going to end up with dry pieces of meat."

Let your meat rest after you've taken it off the grill in order to lock in the juices. And for the go-to burger patty, make sure you don't press down on it too much.

3. Get your prep work done ahead of time.

Nothing is worse than having meat sizzling on the grill and having to run in and out of the house looking for those tongs.

4. DIY smoker

Meyer also said if you're ready to move from grilling to the more advanced smoking techniques, you can retrofit your existing charcoal grill by buying some off-set smoker pans "to create on one side of the grill your fire, and then on the other side of the grill is where you can place your meat."

And have fun with it. As Meyer said, "Barbecue and grilling is love. It brings us together, it connects us... it's a big part of our American culinary history."


So don't stress out about it too much and use your barbecue as an occasion to bring your loved ones together.

And if you want to impress them, Meyer challenges the most adventurous grillers to try a smoked pork shoulder recipe by six-time world champion barbecue pit-master Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson.

We want to know what you barbecued this weekend. Leave us a comment below.