Grilling shouldn't feel intimidating. Before you get going, here are some essentials to help you get you get ready to grill everything from burgers and chicken to veggies, salads and even dessert.
Recipe to Try: Pesto-Pork Pinwheels with Grilled Peaches
Gas grills, usually come in two- and three-burner versions but as long as you have at least two you can do the direct and indirect cooking methods we recommend for chicken. It's also useful if the grill comes equipped with a thermometer so you can easily monitor and control the cooking temperature.
For a charcoal grill, choose one that has a cover, top and bottom vents and a thermometer, all of which will help you monitor and maintain an even cooking temperature.
Recipe to Try: Garlic-Parmesan Hasselback Zucchini
Gas: Follow the manufacturer's instructions to light. Turn all burners to high, close the lid and let heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
Charcoal: Light your fire 20 minutes before you're ready to cook. Use a chimney starter (see Tools of the Trade, page 71). Place a balled-up sheet of newspaper in the bottom of the chimney. Fill with charcoal. Light the newspaper and burn until the coals are mostly white, about 20 minutes.
Gas: Adjust all burners for medium heat, 400°F.
Coal: Spread coals in an even layer, close the lid and adjust vents for medium heat, 400°F.
Gas: Shut off one or two burners and adjust lit burner for medium heat, 400°F.
Coal: Push coals to one side of the grill, and adjust vents for medium heat, 400°F.
Recipe to Try: Charred Cabbage with Buttermilk-Herb Dressing
Charcoal briquettes burn slowly and evenly but generate a lot of ash. Look for brands without any added fillers and binders, which can add unwanted flavors. Lump charcoal has the advantage of being made entirely of hardwood. These gnarly-looking and unevenly sized hunks of coal light easily and add a pleasant touch of smokiness that most briquettes don't produce.
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Once the grill is heated, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the hot rack right before placing the chicken on the grill.