This weekend, as we celebrate July 4th, millions of Americans will take to the grill (84%, in fact). And according to the 25th annual Weber GrillWatch Survey, more women than ever before (25% of us) are taking control of the tongs when it comes to grilling outdoors.

This number is up from 20% last year, and 15% in 2009 – and the highest percentage since Weber started fielding the survey a quarter century ago.

“Grilling is 10% skill and 90% the will to grill.”

Since more and more women are taking the grilling reigns, we wanted to know what it takes to be a bonafide backyard pit master. So we turned to “America’s Female Grilling Expert” – Elizabeth Karmel, founder of Girls at the Grill – and asked her to give us some simple and easy tips to get our grill on.

The ABCs of Grilling by Elizabeth Karmel

Accurate instant-read meat thermometer takes guesswork out of testing for doneness.
Burned barbecue is bad barbecue.
Close lid while cooking.
Direct cooking method.
Extinguish flare-ups by closing the lid—never use a water bottle.
Fuel. Make sure you have enough charcoal or your gas tank is full.
Grey-ash covered charcoal means you’re ready to cook.
Have fun.
Indirect cooking method.

Just grill it. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and the food is ready to grill.
Keep the grill clean by using a brass bristle brush to clean the cooking grates.
Locking long handled tongs are much easier to use than traditional BBQ tongs.
Make sure your “mess is in place.” Be organized.
No dishes to wash!
Olive oil. Put a thin coating on everything before grilling.
Pre-heat your grill.
Questions? FAQ’s.
Rest. Let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Salt, use only Kosher or sea salt.

grilled veggies
Turn only once halfway through cooking time.
Use barbecue sauce only during the last 20 minutes of cooking time.
Vents. Keep them open to keep the fire burning.
Wash your hands and wash platters between raw and cook stages to prevent cross contamination.
X marks your spot at the grill. Don’t be afraid to wield the tongs.
Yummy juices. Keep them in the food – choose tongs instead of a fork.
Zucchini. Grill foods beyond corn and potatoes – all veggies taste better when grilled.

More About Elizabeth

Elizabeth KarmelOften referred to as Queen of the Grill, Elizabeth Karmel is a nationally respected authority on grilling, barbecue and Southern food. She is the Executive Chef of Hill Country Barbecue Market in NYC and Washington, DC, and NYC’s Hill Country Chicken.

As a sought after media personality, Karmel writes for, and is frequently featured in an array of national magazines from Saveur to Better Homes & Gardens, and appears regularly on all three network morning shows. She writes a bi-monthly column for the Associated Press called “American Table”. She is also the author of three acclaimed cookbooks, the designer of an innovative line of outdoor cooking and kitchen tools.

Elizabeth started Girls at the Grill to share her passion for outdoor cooking with girls (and any willing guy) everywhere. The site provides easy instructions, lifestyle information and recipes for everything from classic cookouts to gourmet grill meals. Elizabeth shares her knowledge and enthusiasm every week through the free GrillNEWS newsletter she sends to members of the website’s LadyBug Club.

You can follow her @GrillGirl and on Facebook.