*Don't marinate your chicken or ribs in barbecue sauce or oil before grilling; the second you put that sugary-sauced meat over heat you'll have a flare-up worthy of a flamethrower.

* Flare-ups do occur, so keep a plastic squirt bottle filled with water on hand to control the fire. But don't overdouse the flames or you'll have a cloud of soggy smoke cooking your food.

* When you're barbecuing chicken, your only chance of getting crisp skin and juicy meat is to render the fat from the bird. Do this by starting the chicken skin side down over a moderate fire and cooking it slowly. Don't add the barbecue sauce too soon-- the skin will turn black in a matter of seconds. Wait until the food's almost cooked through, then brush with the sauce and finish over low heat, turning and basting.

* Make sure you use enough barbecue sauce. If it doesn't stick to your fingers when you eat your chicken or ribs, you didn't use enough sauce.

-- Dean Fearing