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Grilling Tips: Heat, Cook, and Clean

Everyday Food, July/August 2006

Mastering the art of charcoal grilling is easy when you use these basic techniques.

Pile coals two or three pieces deep; they are ready when they have a red glow and two-thirds are covered in ash. Spread them in a single layer, leaving an area free of coals to create indirect heat.

Just before starting to grill, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using tongs, rub it over the grates (to prevent food from sticking). Place food on the grill; move to the coal-free area if it's charring too fast or to keep cooked food warm. Use tongs (not a fork) to move meat and avoid piercing it, causing the juices to run out.

It's much easier to clean a grill when it's still warm (but after it has cooled a bit), so try to do it after each use. Scrape the grates with a wire grill brush, then wipe them with an oiled paper towel.

Position the grill at least 10 feet away from anything that could catch fire. Remove excess fat and marinade from food to reduce flare-ups; if they occur, close the lid and vents to extinguish the flames. Wait 24 hours to dispose of ash.

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