The Art of Summer Grilling
by Jared Padgett
Art of Manliness
When it comes
to grilling, you will probably hear different recommendations from
each person you talk to. Some will tell you to use a gas grill only;
others will tell you that the briquette is the only way to go. Some
grill with wood chips; others use smokers. One thing we tend to
agree on though, is that fire makes a piece of meat taste so much
better than an oven or microwave can.
a lot of finesse. You usually wont get it right the first
time you try. It is a process, one you will always be trying to
perfect. Two main types comprise the right way of grilling.
Charcoal (bricks or briquettes) and wood (hickory or other choice
wood). I am not covering gas grilling, as I am of the school of
thought that frowns upon gas grills. I am most experienced with
briquettes, so this will be the method discussed here. Below are
some tips on how to use briquettes and on grilling artistry in general.
grill. If the grill has been used recently, the process begins
with clearing excess ash from the bottom of the grill. This will
allow better air flow. Also, if the grills themselves look like
they have a bunch of gunk on them from previous cooking, run them
under some hot water and scrub them down with some steel wool.
briquettes. The next step is to put the briquettes on the grill.
Note that there are two racks. The smaller one is at the bottom
of the grill, and holds the coals. The top one holds the food. Some
grills, like mine, have a smaller veggie rack that connects to the
lid and sits above the main grill. The various grill racks should
be apparent. The ideal amount of briquettes will cover the entire
surface of the bottom grill in one layer. Some overlap is okay.
Once you have enough coals on the grill, you need to stack more
on top of this foundation. Make sure the vents are open on the bottom
of the grill.
coals is an art. One wants to maximize the heat channeling through
the stack in order to get an even light. You want to build a tall
pyramid in the center of the grill. This will maximize efficiency.
Next, you douse the coals with lighter fluid. Some men, myself included,
enjoy watching the initial burst of fire upon lighting the coals,
so we coat them especially well with the lighter fluid. The idea
of the fluid is to encourage an even light around the base of your
pyramid. Make sure you squirt some of the fluid inside the pyramid.
This helps get the most flame onto the coals.
up! Once you have put in the desired amount of lighter fluid,
it is time to light it. Keep in mind you are building a fire, so
you want to start from the bottom on the opposite side from where
you are standing. This keeps you from burning your arm. Light around
the base of the pyramid, stand back, and enjoy the fire.
Back in the
day, coals took 45 minutes or longer to light. Kingsford, among
others, has come up with new ways of making the coals so they light
faster and heat more evenly. 25-35 minutes is a reasonable wait
for the coals to light. Keep in mind that the flame will burn itself
out in moments. This does not mean the coals did not light. The
idea of charcoal is to let the embers smolder. If you look at the
coals, you should see them turn white as they burn. You may even
see a red glow from inside your pyramid. This is good. Once most
of the coals are white, it is time to spread them out.
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© 2012 The Art of Manliness