Fire up the Grill!

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

  • grilled vegetables
    Remember there are different types of charcoal and the type you use affects the flavor of your food.
    Photo by Adobestock/babsi_w
  • grilled vegetables
    Spice up fresh summer meals with the tantalizing flavors of grilled veggies.

  • grilled vegetables
  • 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.

Electricity, Propane, Natural Gas or Charcoal Grill

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

Technically speaking, grilling is the technique of cooking food over live heat. When you’re cooking with fire, there are two main questions you want to ask:

Where do you want the heat? There are two basic methods of grilling: over direct or indirect heat. You'll need to choose the method depending on the type of food you’re cooking. Foods that cook quickly — such as hamburger — need direct heat, where you’re cooking directly over the fire. Those that cook slowly — such as a whole chicken — need indirect heat, where the fire is off to one side of the grill or behind some kind of barrier, not directly under the food. Any recipe or cookbook you use should offer guidance about what to use.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters