Putting food to flame is an American summertime tradition—a ritual as old as man itself. And yet years of rubbery ribs, hockey puck burgers and moist-free chicken have left some of us fearful of lighting up. But no longer. We've assembled the best barbeque masters in the country for a week of tips, tools and techniques.
It's the grate debate. Purists will argue that charcoal is the only way to go, but it does take a little more time and prep work. If you want more control, perhaps a gas grill—which readies in ten minutes and offers steady heat—might be for you. Here are some options, no matter which camp you fall into.
Choosing a Grill
Pro: Distinct flavor and the chance to play with fire.
Con: Messy and more time consuming.
Cooking area: 269 sq in.
Weber One-Touch Gold, $120, at DrillSpot
Pro: Quick starting and consistent flame control.
Con: Large and expensive.
Cooking area: 634 sq in.
Brinkmann 5-Burner, $299, at Home Depot
Pro: Nimble enough to take to the game, beach or park.
Con: Less space means buying smaller steaks and cooking fewer burgers.
Cooking area: 192 (charcoal) / 225 (gas)
Charcoal: Notebook Portable, $48 at A + R Store; Gas: O-Grill 3000, $175, at Amazon
Sure, there are all sorts of artisanal hardwood lump coal options out there. But it's hard to argue with the lasting legacy of Kingsford's sure fire briquets. Just like Dad used to use. $28 at Amazon
Steven Raichlen, author of "The Barbecue Bible," and other grilling guides, recommends checking the coals' heat by "holding your hand about a half beer can high over the grate and counting."