Summer is here and it’s time to grill. If you haven’t fired up your grill yet, I’m sure you will soon because the fourth of July is coming up. We’ve been using our grill almost every weekend since early in the spring. It gets alot of use since we love grilled foods so much. My husband and I have been using a charcoal grill ever since we moved in together in college. Back then we used a very inexpensive tail-gait grill on our apartment’s tiny deck.
Even though a gas grill is much more convenient, we’ve stuck with a charcoal grill. I love the smoky flavor that charcoal gives. To make grilling with charcoal easier, we’ve found a few shortcuts. First, I always clean the grill, but don’t take a really long time on it. I use a metal grill scraper, wire brush and a little soapy water to clean up the grates. Next I almost always use Kingsford Matchlight brand charcoal. I know it has “chemicals” but it’s quick and easy. If we have time, sometimes we do buy natural briquettes and use the chimney starter.
I pile up charcoal briquettes in a mound in the middle of the grill and then light them. After they have completely ashed over, if I’m using direct heat to sear steaks or cook hamburgers or hot dogs, I leave the briquettes the way they are. If I want to use indirect heat to cook more slowly and at a lower temperature, I move the coals to one side or to the edges of the grill, depending on the size and shape of the meat. With indirect cooking, you don’t want any hot coals directly under the meat.
To prevent meats from sticking, I keep a small rag close by and a small bowl of vegetable oil. I dip the rag in oil, squeeze out or dab off any excess and lightly brush the grill grates before putting the food on the grill. When you do this be sure not to have the rag dripping with oil, or use a basting brush dripping with oil, because it will cause a flare up in the fire.
After grilling is done, I make sure to later that night or the next day, take a water hose to spray out all the ashes from the burnt coals. If you don’t do this and the ashes sit in the grill and get wet with rain water, your grill will rust out much, much quicker.
Shown above: Italian Sausage Turkey Burgers.
Here’s a slideshow of our Best Summer Burger Recipes for Grilling.
Now the grill’s all fired up, check out more of our favorite grilled foods for summer.
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