In grilling, as in life, timing is everything. Here’s a basic timetable that will help you get your grill lit, your food marinated and cooked, and your guests fed-without your having a nervous breakdown.
1. Twelve hours to 1 hour before you plan to serve, immerse the food in its marinade or rub it with its spice mix.
2. Set the table.
3. Prepare the drinks and side dishes.
With a Charcoal Grill
1. One hour before you plan to start cooking, soak wood chips or chunks, if you are using them, in cold water to cover.
2. Light the charcoal 30 to 40 minutes before you plan to start cooking.
3. When the coals blaze red (after 15 to 20 minutes), dump them out of the chimney starter and spread them over the bottom of the grill. I like to rake the coals more thickly on one side than the other, so I have a high heat and low heat. Let the coals burn until they are covered with a thin layer of gray ash, 5 to 10 minutes more for high heat. Now the fire is ready for grilling.
4. Clean the grate with a wire brush, and oil it.
5. If you are using wood chips, drain them well and toss them on the coals. Put the food on the grate, and grill. If you will be indirect- grilling for an extended period, light a second batch of coals in the chimney starter after 45 minutes (about 15 minutes before you will need them).
6. After the food is cooked, don’t forget to clean the grate again with the wire brush.
With a Gas Grill
Follow the procedure described here, preheating the grill for 15 minutes. If you are using wood chips, place them in the smoker box. Keep the grill on high until the chips begin to smoke, then lower the heat as needed.
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