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Summer Grilling: Great Tips for Success

Updated on July 8, 2011

Tips to Grill like a Pro


Charcoal

1) Place newspaper beneath the charcoal and set fire to that. As the flames go up through the charcoal they will light it quickly and evenly.

2) Do not use the coals until they are all gray.

3) When cooking pieces of meat that take a long time pile the coal to one side of the grill and cook the meat on the other side using the indirect heat. When the grill is covered it will form an oven that will cook the meat evenly without burning it.

Hamburgers

4) Cook them on the hottest part of the grill so the get a good crust.

5) Before cooking them make a dent in the center of each burger so the edges are thicker than the middle. This will prevent that rounded burger look.

6) Never press the burgers down while you are cooking them. you want the juices in your mouth not in the fire.

Chicken

7) Boneless chicken breast may be cooked on the hottest part of the grill, but legs and thighs should be cooked with indirect heat, either with the coals in the middle and the chicken surrounding them (my favorite) or off to one side of the grill opposite the coals.

8) To test for doneness place a meat thermometer in the thickest piece. The temperature should be 160-165°F. You may also cut into the thickest piece and the juices should run clear. If you are a real pro, though, you'll take each piece off as it gets done so the smallest pieces won't overcook.

9) Apply any sweet sauces during the last 5 minutes of cooking so they don't burn.

Steak

10) Cook on high heat and fast. A 3/4 in steak will take 5 minutes per side for medium rare.

11) Let the meat come to room temperature before grilling (this goes for all meats).

12) Let the steak rest for 5 minutes once it comes of the grill so the juices redistribute.

Vegetables

13) Use a grill basket for small pieces so they don't fall into the fire.

14) Grill mushrooms whole or halved. Grill summer squash or eggplant in 1/4 to 1/2 in slices. Half brussels sprouts and par boil them before grilling.

Kabobs

15) Use flat metal kabobs so the don't slide when turning.

16) Soaks bamboo skewers for at least 30 min before use.

17) Cut each item the same size, and put items that have similar cooking times together.

Seafood

18) Cook seafood fast especially shrimp.

19) Make sure fish is well greased, and use a large spatula to turn it. Be gentle with fish.

20) Don't marinade sea food over night in acidic marinades. This will start the cooking process chemically.

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