To most Americans, the grate (the metal grilling rack) is the most important part (or at least the defining part) of a barbecue grill. So you may be surprised to learn that in many parts of the world-from Turkey to Japan to India-grills do not have grates and the food is cooked in midair, as it were, directly over the fire.
Ground meat kebabs, like Indo- nesian satés and Persian lula, do particularly well without a grate, because the meat tends to stick to the metal bars. Many Indian tandoori dishes are covered with a chickpea batter that also tends to stick to the grate, as does the miso glaze so popular in Japanese grill joints.
The easiest way to achieve this effect on an American-style grill is to place two, flat 1-inch-thick bricks or paving stones or pieces of metal pipe on the grill grate, far enough apart so that the ends of the skewers can rest comfortably on them. Place the skewer ends on the bricks the food will be suspended above the grate and should be fully exposed to the heat.
If you’ve ever wrestled with ground meat kebabs sticking to the grate, you’ll find this simple technique a revelation.
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