Let’s Start With The Grill

The type of grill you choose will depend on your preferences. A gas grill is easy to use but more expensive than a charcoal grill. Some say that a charcoal grill gives you more of that smoky barbecue flavor.

Once you have selected and purchased a grill, place it in an open area, away from buildings or trees, and out of the wind.

The Essential Utensils

The best utensils to use when barbecuing are long-handled tongs and brushes. This will prevent you from getting burned. Other handy tools include a spatula, a fork, a knife, and an instant-read meat thermometer.

Grilling Meats and Vegetables

When grocery shopping for a barbecue, always choose the meat last and store marinated meat in the refrigerator within an hour after you bring the meat home. For maximum flavor, marinate the meat for a few hours before the barbecue, preferably overnight. However, different kinds of meat should never be mixed in the same marinade and should be kept in separate, sealed plastic bags in the refrigerator. Take the meat out no more than an hour before the barbecue, and always keep the meat covered and in a cool place.

For variety, try barbecuing Italian sausage or kielbasa. Grilled fish is delicious – the best ones to barbecue are salmon, halibut, sea bass, trout, and swordfish. And why not throw a few shrimp and scallops on the barbie? (When using wooden skewers for seafood kebabs, soak the skewers in water for 20-30 minutes to prevent them from burning on the grill.) You can even barbecue lobster for a luxurious dining experience.

Before you start barbecuing, spray the grill with non-stick vegetable spray. This will make it easier to clean up later. When using a charcoal grill, spread out the coals so you will be able to maintain an even temperature under the grill. Or you can spread one layer of coals on one-half of the grill and two layers of coals on the other half. On the side of the grill with only one layer of coals, you can grill vegetables or meats that must be cooked all the way through. Over the double layer of coals, you can sear meats at a higher temperature. Let the coals heat up for at least half an hour before grilling. For flavor, you can add wood chips or herbs to the coals. Test the temperature by placing your palm about five inches above the grill. If you can feel the heat that high, the grill is ready.

Place the food 3/4 of an inch apart on the grill. To prevent flare-ups, remove as much fat as possible from the meat and add a drip pan under the grill. Use a spray bottle of water or apple juice to shoot down rising flames. The apple juice will also add flavor to your food. Add any barbecue sauce to the meat in the last 10-15 minutes of cooking. Since salt draws out moisture, be sure not to sprinkle any salt on your meat until just before you are finished barbecuing. If at any time you need more heat under the grill, start heating coals separately in a can or on heavy-duty aluminum foil. Then you can add the coals, one by one, to the fire under your grill. Please be careful and use your tongs. Never add lighter fluid to lit coals or you could get some nasty burns.

The Clean-Up

If you have a gas grill, simply burn off the grill for 10 minutes. If you have a charcoal grill, use a wire brush and warm soapy water to clean up after the barbecue.

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