Fire up the Grill!

Enjoy the fresh flavors of local foods with these simple tips for great summer grilling.

| August 11, 2008

  • grilled vegetables
    Spice up fresh summer meals with the tantalizing flavors of grilled veggies.

  • grilled vegetables

Isn't it nice to get out of the kitchen? Now is a great time of year to head outdoors and enjoy cooking on the grill. Grilling is simple, and it’s a great way to enjoy fresh ingredients, whether it's a juicy steak, fresh fish or vegetables straight from your garden. Whatever you have cooking, here are a few simple tips that can help you get the most enjoyment out of your summer grilling.

The Grill Itself

To get the most from your grill, here are a few things to consider before you start cooking.

Types of grills. Grills come in an astonishing variety of styles and price ranges, and can use several different fuels for their fires: electricity, propane, natural gas or charcoal. There are lots of recommendations out there for the best types of grills — here are a few from our sister magazine Grit. If you’re looking for a green choice, there’s a good case to be made for choosing a gas grill, because they rely on cleaner-burning fuels. (There’s a good discussion of these issues by the Green Guide, available here on the Grist Web site.) But whatever type of grill you use, spending some time with it and learning all about its quirks and special features is a surefire way to grill better food. And hey, what better time to start practicing than right now?

How charcoal affects taste. Cooking with charcoal is an easy way to give food the characteristic smoky flavor that many people associate with grilling. But it’s helpful to remember that there are several different types of charcoal and what type you use affects the flavor of the food. For a smoky flavor, you’ll need to use the more expensive charcoal made from hardwoods — or add wood chips to the fire’s coals. Some people also think using lighter fluid or instant-lighting charcoal briquettes adds undesirable flavors to the food. One way to avoid this is to use a “chimney” with your charcoal grill. This gadget lets you start a fire more quickly, and makes it easier to do without lighter fluid. You can even build your own.

Cooking and Heat


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