Thou shalt not overcook thy meat. This is, as I was saying in my last epistle, one of the most fundamental commandments of the Barbecue God, and probably the one that man in his ignorance and imperfection has broken most often. When you're a guest at a barbecue, and your host asks you how you would like your steak cooked, do not answer, "medium," "medium well," or, God forbid, "well done." This is blasphemy, pure and simple. The meet and right response is: "Medium rare, of course," or, "Bloody, please." And if you are the host and one of your guests asks you to overcook his steak, do not compound blasphemy with heresy by acceding to his request. Simply follow the time-honored example of master chefs the world over and serve the steak medium rare.
The question of how long to cook other meats is a thornier one, particularly with respect to poultry. It saddens me to think how much of the chicken I've eaten in my life has been overcooked. The desire to avoid hospitalization for salmonella poisoning, while understandable, is no excuse for heresy. Get an electronic meat thermometer with a transmitter that allows you to monitor the chicken's progress. Stick the thermometer in the meaty part of the thigh, making sure it's not touching the bone. A whole chicken will need to cook between two and three hours, depending on the temperature inside and outside the cooker; pieces vary and will need to be closely watched. Which brings me to another commandment: Thou shalt remove the chicken 5 degrees before it reaches its indicated doneness. Have faith and resist the temptation to cook it longer — it will keep cooking after you remove it from the grill, and it will be perfectly done when you serve it. This commandment applies not just to chicken, but to all meats.