A Handy Guide to Great Grilling
By  gud177  Date Posted: Dec. 12, 2013  Hits: 507   Rating:  (3.1) votes 22  Word Count: 940
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Types of Grills
You can cook food over a wood fire built in an open pit, but most people appreciate the convenience of a modern barbecue grill. The most sophisticated grills allow you to adjust the heat by turning a knob, and even the most basic have adjustable racks so that you can place the food at the right distance from the fire.

Charcoal: Fueled by charcoal briquettes (pillow-shaped blocks made from hardwood charcoal) or natural hardwood charcoal chunks, these grills are relatively inexpensive. The simplest is the Japanese-style hibachi, a small cast-iron grill just right for a pocket-size patio. For more ambitious grilling, choose a large covered "kettle" with adjustable vents. In between is the versatile uncovered grill, sometimes called a brazier. Look for a charcoal grill made of heavy-gauge metal; the legs should be sturdy and positioned to keep the grill stable.

Gas: Today's popular gas grills, fueled by bottled propane or natural gas, can be as easy to light and control as your kitchen stove. They are available with a variety of options, including electric ignition, fuel gauge, extra burners (for simmering sauces or side dishes), warming racks, and storage cabinets. Some have porcelain-enameled cooking grids for easy cleaning. Gas grills may be grand enough to cook two dozen burgers at a time or to smoke a whole turkey. You don't sacrifice that delectable barbecue taste, because the firebox of a gas grill contains ceramic "briquettes" or lava rocks (made of natural volcanic rock). Meat juices dripping onto these hot "coals" produce a savory flavor.

Electric: The latest thing in grilling is the electric barbecue. Like gas grills, most electric units have artificial briquettes for authentically smoky flavor; these may be removable, so you can also grill indoors, smoke-free. There are large electric grills to use in the backyard (within reach of a grounded electrical outlet), as well as tabletop models for small families and for all-weather indoor use.

Other Equipment
Cooking over hot coals calls for some specialized tools, and there are also optional gadgets to consider for easier grilling of fish, kabobs, etc. Here are the basics, plus some extras.

  • Grill topper: If you often grill delicate foods such as seafood and vegetables, you'll want a grill topper — a perforated metal sheet or mesh screen that provides a nearly smooth surface for grilling. Food is less likely to break up or fall through, and you can virtually "stir-fry" cut-up foods over the coals.
  • Grilling baskets: Another option for delicate or small foods; there are classic fish-shaped baskets (which hold whole fish), as well as square and oblong baskets with long handles to hold kabobs, baby vegetables, or fish fillets. Once the food is inside and the basket is clamped shut, you can turn the entire thing at once — easy!
  • Tongs: Better than a fork for turning foods, because they don't pierce the surface and release juices. Barbecue tongs should have heatproof handles and rounded ends that won't cut into the food.
  • Spatula: Use a long-handled one with a heatproof handle for flipping burgers and moving food around on a grill topper.
  • Skewers: Long metal skewers are a must for kabobs. Choose skewers with flat shafts rather than round ones; food will be less likely to slip or turn as it cooks.
  • Basting brush: A heatproof handle and a long shaft are two definite brush requirements. Natural bristles will stand up to the heat better than synthetic ones.
  • Instant-read thermometer: This handy tool is about the size of a medical thermometer but made of metal. Insert it in food, and the dial at the top will give you a reading in seconds.
  • Grilling mitts: More serious versions of oven mitts, these are longer, to protect more of your arm, and better insulated, to protect you from higher heat. Heavy suede mitts are excellent.
  • Water spray bottle: The kind used to mist plants, adjusted so that it emits a narrow stream to quash flare-ups.
  • Brass-bristled scrub brush: Use this to clean the grill rack. It helps to remove the rack as soon as you've finished cooking, wrap it in dampened newspaper, and soak the whole thing with a hose. When you unwrap it, burned-on food will be softened. (Another time-saver: Line the firebox with heavy-duty foil before you grill.)

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