One of summer’s greatest pleasures is breaking out the grill and cooking a fire-kissed feast for your family and friends. In fact, you’ve probably been doing it all summer long, and chances are you have the basics down. But before you pack away the Weber for the season, learn to up your grill game for the final cookouts of the year – many of our recipes that are designed for your stovetop can be easily adapted to the grill with just a few small tweaks.
First steps first: Different ingredients need different types of heat. Makes sure you’re creating two distinct heat zones on your grill – one direct, and one indirect – so that you can cook multiple parts of the meal at the same time. On a charcoal grill, all you have to do is push the coals to one side; on a gas grill, don’t light all of the burners. Now you can grill, for example, the shrimp in our Ancho Shrimp Tacos over direct heat while warming the tortillas over the indirect heat, and everything will be ready at once.
This brings us to our next point, which is that not every ingredient that can go on the grill needs to be, well, grilled. If you’re working with small or fragile ingredients that will fall through grill grates, like the corn kernels and Fresno chiles in our Crispy Salmon Succotash, simply cook them in an oven (or, as the case may be, grill)-safe pan (cast iron or black steel work well) placed directly on the grates. Viola – the ingredients get that great smoky flavor, and you don’t have to worry about losing them to the flames.
Of course, some of our recipes are designed specifically with the grill in mind. Our Grilled Thai Inspired Ribs, which we created for Labor Day grilling, are a perfect example. A combination of direct and indirect heat is used to create a beautiful glaze bursting with the flavors of ginger, sriracha, and agave.
Whatever you’re cooking up in these last days of summer, remember to take care of your grill before retiring it for the season. Keep your grates clean with a stiff grill brush and some oil (tip: rub the cut-side of half an onion over the hot grates after a cookout session to remove any caked-on grit or grime), and always store your grill with the cover on to protect it from the inevitable elements once summer has come to an end.