With Independence Day comes lots of grilling, chilling, friends, and fireworks which means now is the perfect time to get your grill ready for fun and flavor with these can’t miss grilling tips.

Successful grilling calls for a clean cooking space, the right amount of heat, and marinating techniques that can’t go wrong With that, Stephen Coe, nationally recognized, award-winning chef, owner of the New England-based Lobsta Love Food Truck, who is known for beating Bobby Flay at his own game on Food Network’s “Chopped: Beat Bobby Flay” and is also a four-time Chopped champion, shares his expert tips to make your 4th of July grilling experience one for the books!

First, let’s get your grill ready for Fourth of July success. When prepping a grill, Chef Coe, has a few grill hacks that will get your cooking space clean, oiled up, and ready for action.

How to Clean Your Grill

  1. Start by preheating the grill to about 400’F for about 15 minutes.
  2. Once the grill is hot, place a bit of canola oil and a rag, then rub down the grates and any other service that will be touching food. Canola oil works perfectly for this because it has a high smoking point which allows you to use it on hot surfaces without leaving behind a bitter flavor on the grates.
  3. Next, give the grill grates a good brushing before cooking to stay on top of any leftover debris. The last thing you want is bits of debris on freshly cooked meat.

CHEF TIP: After cooking on hundreds of styles of grills, Coe, who is host of the Food Network show Dangerous Eats, has become a big fan of using heavy-duty nylon style grill brushes that are bristle-free. These style brushes get into all the right places and clean well without leaving behind any metal pieces.

Grilling Tips for Getting the Best Fire For Cooking

If you have a charcoal style grill, Coe recommends using a briquette style charcoal over the classic charcoal. The reason is, it’s chemical-free and made from real wood.

From there, Coe likes to add a few woodchips that have been soaked in water as the wood chips add a little extra fun smoke flavor. #ChefsKiss

Dmitry Lobanov / Shutterstock

How To Prepare Your Meat: Spices and Marinades

Unmarinated Meat:

When prepping an un-marinated steak, Coe explains your best bet is to keep it simple by using a nice semi-coarse salt and pepper, and a hint of dry garlic.

  • For the Salt: Pink Himalayan, kosher
  • For the Pepper: Szechuan peppercorn, a tri-peppercorn blend.

For the Dry Rubs:

Once you are comfortable with grilling, “Dry rubs are a great way to “spice” up your meats,” Coe says.

However, you want to be careful not to have the grill on too high. “This will allow the rub to add the flavor without burning,” he explains.

How to: Pull your meat out and add whatever seasoning or rub you like and let it rest for about 20 minutes. This allows the protein to warm up and temper itself. Coe feels this allows the protein to accept the rub better offering a better flavor profile and cooking experience.

Dry Rub and Marinade Recipes from Chef Coe

Dry Rub Base for Ribs:

  • ½ cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp n Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Ground Mustard
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Celery Salt
  • ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • Cajun Dry Rub
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper (ground)
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes

Mix ingredients and apply to the meat.

Coffee, Chili, and Cocoa Rub

  • 2 tbsp Coarse Salt
  • 2 tbsp Instant Coffee
  • 2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tbsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tbsp Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Coriander (crushed)
  • 1 tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • ½ tsp Cayenne

Mix ingredients and apply to the meat.

Citrus Spice Rub

  • 1 tbsp Lemon Powder
  • 1/2 tbsp White Pepper
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp Onion Powder
  • ½ tsp Dried Basil
  • ½ tsp Dried Oregano
  • ½ tsp Dried Parsley
  • ½ tsp Paprika

Mix ingredients and apply to the meat.



Chef Coe likes to marinate meat for at least 24 hours. This allows the marinade to set into the protein and add the desired flavor.

Chef Coe’s Go-To Marinade

  • ½ tbsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • ⅓ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ⅓ cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • ⅓ cup Soy Sauce
  • ⅓ cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Wholegrain Mustard
  • 3 cloves Garlic (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/3 cup pineapple juice

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and begin to marinade.

Chef Coe’s Chimichurri Marinade Fit For the 4th

(This recipe makes about 2 cups)

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 red jalapeño, finely chopped
  • 8 roasted garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more
  • ½ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped oregano
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Mix all ingredients in a bow and begin to marinade.

A Must-Know Marinade Hack: A marinade can be reused at least one time as long as the marinade has been properly refrigerated. As soon as you are done applying the marinade, place it in the refrigerator.

Stephen Coe grilling outdoors
Stephen Coe

The ‘Don’ts’ of Grilling

We’ve all made grilling mistakes, but not this year, with these Grilling Tips for!

  • Don’t Have the Grill on Too Hot – This causes the items to burn rather than cook. Instead, cook items slow and low.
  • Don’t Keep Touching the Food – Put food on the grill and let it cook, once you see the color starting, then you turn.
  • Don’t Cut the Food Items Right Away – It is good to pull the protein off the grill and let it rest. Letting the protein rest keeps in the juices and the flavor.

Here’s How to Successfully Grill a Fish

If fish is on the menu for the 4th, following these tips will prevent your fish from sticking to the grill while cooking it perfectly.

For a successful fish grill, Chef Coe encourages you to make sure your grill is hot, clean, and greased. “This will allow you to achieve great grill marks without overcooking the fish and making sure that it doesn’t stick.” He says. Plus, those grill marks can offer a confidence boost for the one cooking it.

Great Fish for Grilling

Not all fish is grill-worthy – For the best outcome, choose Swordfish, salmon, halibut, bass, grouper, mahi, snapper, lobster, trout, shrimp, and scallops.

Keep these fish away from the grill: White flaky fish such as cod and haddock.

Stephen Coe grilling indoors
Ed Nute photography

If You Don’t Have an Outdoor Grill, Try These Countertop Grills Designed for Small Spaces

Just because you don’t have a grill (or even a backyard) doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy “grilling in” on the 4th. Have a look at these indoor grilling units that won’t break the bank.


Proctor Silex Compact Grill

Proctor Silex Compact Grill

This easy-to-use grill, cooks and grills food quickly and easily and is a perfect addition to the home, office, or apartment so you can enjoy the delicious taste of outdoor grilling any time you want.

$21.99, at Target.com

Proctor Silex 2 in-1 Panini/Grill

Proctor Silex 2 in-1 Panini:Grill

This sandwich maker doubles as a grill that’s great for cooking burgers, chicken tenders, and vegetables to perfection, without taking up a lot of space. Perfect for 4th of July Cooking!

$33.99 at Target.com