Direct v/s indirect heat
The most important grilling lesson is that of what to grill. The second most important question is what type of heat to use. If you use direct heat, you need to place small, quick cooking items like burgers, directly over the fire. In the case of indirect heat the fire is lit under a part of the grate. Slow cooking food like a rib rack can be used on indirect heat. You need to cook them under a cover so that the flavor is retained.
Flavoring the fire
The secret to robust flavor is the wood chips which are used, not the grill master. The wood chips deliver a smoky flavor to all manner of food items, and even quick cooking items like shrimp can be flavored in a short span of time. Here’s a list;
- Apple: best with poultry and pork, this is a sweet and fruity pick.
- Hickory: it is a traditional rich, southern flavor, and it can stand up to pork chops, ribs, lamb and poultry.
- Mesquite: it is primarily used in the Southwest, and items like beef, poultry and salmon taste great with it.
- Oak: this mild and woody scent is a great match with fish, pork, beef and shellfish.
At least 15 minutes before grilling, you should soak a handful of chips in water, or better still use apple juice and beer. If you have a gas grill, put the chips in a small and disposable aluminum panel or a soaker box. The grill should be preheated and the pan should be placed in a burner, below the grate. For a charcoal grill, you should add a handful of soaked chips to the burning coals just before grilling. You can start cooking as soon as you see smoke.
- Basting Brush: long handled, 12 inches long, makes for easier glazing and application of sauces.
- Chimney Starter: for charcoal grills. The best way to start a charcoal grill without lighter fluid.
- Disposable aluminum pans: used to transport food to and from the grill.
- Instant read thermometer: makes sure that steaks are perfectly done.
- Spring loaded tongs: use these in place of a fork to turn food.
- Stiff wire grill brush: it is essential for removing stuck on food from hot grates.
- Wide spatula: used to flip fish or burgers.