We’re big fans of Porter Road, but can you blame us—with quality condiments a great burger can’t be far behind.

We chatted with Chris Carter, the co-founder of Porter Road, a fellow Special Sauce enthusiast and quite the meat maestro, to get us geared up for grilling season. Here’s his simple tips to make it the best (and tastiest!) summer yet.

Chris Carter

Chris Carter, co-founder of Porter Road

Do: Use high quality meat. Just because you’re cooking outside, it doesn’t mean you should skimp on the ingredients. Starting with high quality products means you’ll already have a great, flavorful base on which to build an epic spread.

Don’t: Use a grill fork. Ever. Piercing the meat allows moisture to escape from your cuts, so hang up your grill forks, and invest in a simple pair of tongs.

Do: Create two heat zones. One very hot area for searing, and one slightly cooler for roasting, and warming.

Don’t: Stress about flare-ups. If the flames are getting high, shut the lid. Fire needs oxygen, so closing the lid and vents will help the flames die down. Remember to ‘burp’ your grill when you open it back up — meaning you want to crack it a few inches and pause, before opening it all the way.

Do: Start hot dogs and sausages over low heat. When you hit the high heat, water in the links expands quickly and can cause the casings to burst. Start over low heat to allow natural casings time to slowly expand, then finish over the flames.

Don’t: Squish your burgers. Keep the moisture in the meat where it belongs. If you like an extra thin and well-cooked patty, use a griddle pan!

Do: Top your burgers and dogs with quality condiments. You’ve got a great grill, quality meat, and have done everything right up to this point. Don’t waste your efforts by dousing your burgers and hot dogs with sub-par sauces.