With football season on the horizon, the grill won’t be hibernating any time soon. That being said, it wouldn’t hurt having a few more men out there who actually know how to properly grill. While most of us are too proud to admit it, we could all use a little help when it comes to cooking with fire. So we’ve put together a quick grill guideline for some of the most popular meat that may cross your flame.

Burgers

Prep: The best way to make a great burger is to pick a high quality meat, something with fat and flavor. Honestly, the better the meat the less you’ll have to dress it up, and with burgers simplicity is key. Time for seasoning! Don’t get too excited. Keep this simple, unless you’reErnest Hemingway, a little salt and pepper is all you’ll need. Lastly, add that indent in the center of the burger to ensure it keeps it’s shape during it’s time on the grill.

Grill: Cook on high heat, lid up, and try to get them done as quick as possible. This will keep them from drying out and losing flavor. Another way you’ll lose flavor is by flattening them out on the grill. Yeah, it creates smoke and smells good, but that’s all flavorful juices leaving your burger! This isn’t about flare, it’s about flavor. Cooking time will vary depending on how thick you make your burgers, but it shouldn’t take too much longer than ten minutes. Flip once during that time, but not more. Make sure one side is cooked, flip, and wait for the other to be done. If you follow these simple steps your juices will be locked in tighter than Fort Knox, and you can serve them with confidence.

Pork Chops

Prep: If you really want to impress someone with your abilities at the grill, you need your pork chop… chops. While it’s easy to overcook this lean meat, you can actually have flavorful pork chops that are juicy. Step 1: go thick. Get around an inch thick chop, and leave that bone on there for some extra tastiness. To add even more delicious flavors, brine that hunk of meat. It will also give you some leeway when it comes down to how you grill it. Here are some brine recipes from Real Simple for you to try.

Grill: For the pork chops you will want to set your grill to medium heat, leaving an area to remain cooler. Sear the chops over the direct heat area for about 2-3 minutes per side. Afterwards, move the chop to the cooler section of the grill and cover. Let it grill for about 15 more minutes for it to reach medium. Let rest for 10 minutes before enjoying.

Squash

Prep: Fall provides a great array of seasonal harvests, including squash. They’re great grilling alternatives, but take a little extra time. To prepare you will first need to cut it in half and scoop the seeds out. After this is done, brush on a little butter and you are good to go.

Grill: After preheating the grill, place the squash over indirect heat and let them roast for about 45-60 minutes- checking for tenderness. Once roasted, they can be placed over direct heat to add some char and color if you want.

There are plenty of great vegetarian options in the fall. There is a pretty great list of ten options over at Serious Eats. They include recipes, instructions and tips on how to grill these fall time favorites. Definitely worth a look!

Ribs

Prep: Rinse your rack of ribs, patting dry with a paper towel. Remove the membrane on the underside of the ribs by sliding a knife under and pulling up until you can grab with a cloth. Now they are ready for their rub. There are plenty of rub options to choose from, but if you need a starter you can always trust that Bobby Flay knows his way around bbq. Rub all sides until they are evenly coated, letting the excess rub fall away.

Grill: Light one side of the grill and heat to medium-high temperature. Let ribs reach room temperature before placing on the grill. Stack your ribs on the unlit side of the grill, and cover while the sit for 40 minutes. Rotate slabs every 40 minutes, so top moves to bottom etc. Lower to medium heat and place ribs side-by-side over the unheated side of the grill. Add your sauce and grill uncovered for 30 minutes.

Salmon

Prep: Select skin-on salmon, the thicker the better. Leave the skin, but pull out any bones you can find. Rinse and pat dry before cutting your fish into serving sized pieces. Add a little lemon juice, olive oil and salt & pepper to your filets. Let them reach room temperature before grilling.

Grill: Bring grill to 550 degrees, placing salmon over direct heat, skin-side up. After five minutes or so the edges of the fish should pull away from your grill indicating it is ready to turn over. Cook on opposite side for 3 minutes to make fish medium-well. Use your turner to separate the fish from the skin, and leave the skin behind. Your fish should have a nice outer crisp, while staying flaky.

Steak

Prep: Steak, even when it’s bad it’s good. But when it’s perfect, it’s memorable. The obvious place to start is with a great cut. Without getting into each cut, here is a guide, and ask your local butcher for more assistance if needed. After you have your steak, trim the fat off the edges to prevent your flame from flaring up and burning sections of your meat. Season generously with salt and pepper on both sides.

Grill: You’ll want high heat, so make sure it is preheated before you place your steak.  Sear each side for 2-3 minutes before reducing the heat (move steak to indirect heat) to allow steak to cook through. To test if it’s finished, go by feel using this trusty method. After you take your finished steak off the grill, cover them in foil and let them rest 5 minutes before cutting into them.

Portobello Mushroom

Prep: To keep these caps moist and to add a little flavor you will need four extra ingredients. Take your mushrooms and place them in a resealable bag. Pour in some olive oil: you will need a little more than what it takes to coat all of your mushrooms. Now add salt, pepper, and about a tablespoon of minced garlic. Shake the bag up until the mushrooms are evenly coated, and then put them in the fridge for a few hours.

Grill: Set your grill to high heat. After it is preheated, place your mushrooms on for 5-7 minutes per side. Unlike some of the meats previously mentioned, continuously flipping your mushrooms is fine.

Chicken

Prep: Chicken breasts can be difficult due to their shape. Cook to long and you dry it out and burn the edges, don’t cook it long enough and the center is still raw. To fix this, you are going to want to pound your breast until it’s flat and even. Now, brine and shine. This will help add flavor, but more importantly it will keep them juicy. Let them soak for about 30 minutes.

Grill: While your chicken soaks, prep your grill to be medium-high temperature. As always keep an area of the grill unlit incase your chicken browns before it done cooking. The chicken will only need a couple minutes per side.

I do realize there are endless other options when it comes to grilling, but hopefully this will be a good start for your upcoming tailgate performances. The best part of grilling is enjoying the time with family and friends in the fresh air. But… mastering the grill comes in at a close second. Good luck, and good grilling!