It’s grilling season! Here are a few tips to improve your technique.
Charcoal can be tricky but doable if you know the secrets. So for one pound of meat cooked with the direct-heat method (smack over the fire), a good rule of thumb is 30 briquettes. For the same amount of meat using slower indirect heat, you’ll need about 50 briquettes.
Pile your briquettes in a pyramid. About 20 minutes after lighting, your charcoal should be about 70 percent covered in ash with a faint glow. Spread the charcoal out to extend at least an inch beyond the edges of the food to be cooked.
A time-honored method to determine temperature: hold your hand palm down over the fire about six inches above the coals and count in seconds how long you can comfortably hold your hand there:
5 seconds: 200-300 degrees Fahrenheit
4 seconds: 300-350 degrees Fahrenheit
3 seconds: 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit
2 seconds: 375 and above Fahrenheit
Don't forget a good set of spring-loaded long-handled tongs for turning meats. Also, a sturdy wire brush is absolutely necessary to clean your grill racks and a long-handled spatula will serve you well. Keep in mind that different sizes of basting brushes come in handy. If you are going to be doing kabobs, skewers come in metal, wood and bamboo varieties and wire baskets are great for grilling vegetables.
Here's to good weather and happy grilling!