Nothing says, “Warmer weather has arrived!” like a backyard barbecue.

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Nothing says, “Warmer weather has arrived!” like a backyard barbecue. But before you break out the spatula and turn up the propane, there are some basic rules to follow when preparing your outdoor meal. Here are four mistakes to avoid when grilling steak.

Never grill straight from the fridge. Allow the meat to reach room temperature before you begin cooking. Just take the chilled steak out an hour early, place on a roasting rack, and season with salt. You can pick up a rack for as low as $6. Buy it here.

Speaking of salt, it’s always important to use the right kind. Avoid standard table and iodized salts. Anything with a fine grain has a tendency to over season your steak. Instead, sprinkle on medium grain sea salt to compliment your grilled beef. Buy a pound of kosher sea salt for $12 here

Even the best backyard chefs should use a thermometer, since temping by hand is rarely reliable. You can find one for as low as $10 at Walmart. Buy it here. Experts also recommend metal cake testers. Just place one in the steak for five seconds and touch it to your lips or wrist. Cold means rare, warm indicates medium-rare, and so on. Order a pack of six for only $8. Buy them here.

When prepping your grill, be sure to avoid charcoal briquettes. These, along with lighter fluid, can add unpleasant flavors to the meat. Switch them out for natural hardwood lump charcoal. Not only do they add a more satisfying flavor, it’s also a more natural way to grill. Pick up a 15-pound bag for $13 here.

These four easy tips will ensure tastier steaks and happier guests at your next barbecue!

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