Let’s Get Grilling — Simple Scratch Cooking

Related To:

Sweet Cola Ribs

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

Memorial Day signaled the unofficial start to summer, so it’s only natural that the next part in The Good Cook series should be about grilling and barbecuing. Here’s a quick primer to get you started.

Direct Heat vs. Indirect Heat: The first thing to think about when grilling is how long your food will take to cook and that all depends on what you’re making. Quick-cooking items like sausage links, steak and shrimp cook best when placed directly over the heat source (i.e., flame or hot coals). This is called direct-heat cooking.

Brisket and ribs, on the other hand, need a long cooking time to become tender, so you want to use an indirect cooking method. This simply means the coals are piled, also called “banked,” on one side of the grill, or just the outer gas burners are turned on. The food is placed on the rack, away the flame or hot coals, and cooks from the radiant heat. It’s akin to turning your grill or barbecue into an oven. With this cooking method, you’ll also need to keep the grill closed to maintain a consistent cooking temperature.

Gas vs. Charcoal Gas Grills: Gas grills are easy and require little maintenance for cooking, provided you have enough fuel in the tank. Open the lid, turn on the propane tank and light all the burners according the manufacturer's instructions.

True barbecue enthusiasts swear by charcoal cooking, which infuses a distinct smoky flavor. Charcoal grills require a bit more maintenance, so you have to plan in advance before setting out to cook. To get the barbecue going, begin by using a chimney starter piled with briquettes. Place some crumpled newspaper under the chimney starter and light it using a long butane lighter. Briquettes are ready to be dumped into the grill when they're covered with a white-gray ash. If you’re using an indirect-heat cooking method, you’ll need to add a few more briquettes to the pile every hour. Add them to the outer edges, then move them to the center of the pile once they ash over.

Don’t forget to preheat. The same way you’d preheat a skillet for direct cooking, or an oven to make a roast, you must do the same when grilling and barbecuing. Gas grills heat up in about 10 minutes. Charcoal fires take a little longer, so give yourself at least 20 minutes for the coals to reach that white-ash stage.

Now that you’ve got these tricks of the trade, it’s time to put them to the test. Here are a few my favorite grilling recipes from Food Network's archives to get you started:

Grilling Basics 03:26

Be a grillmaster with tips for grilling over direct and indirect heat.
Keep Reading

Next Up

Grill Veggies Right

Hot Tips From Food Network Kitchens' Katherine Alford: You don't need a special basket to grill vegetables.

Take 5: Cool Hot Dogs for Memorial Day

Whether you’re planning a killer cookout for Memorial Day or just a meal for your family, hot dogs are definitely one of the easiest crowd-pleasers to get on the grill. That said, we think it’s time to take things beyond ketchup and mustard. Make your franks extra special by dressing them up with these themed toppings.

Recipe of the Day: Bobby Flay's Margherita Pizza

Just six simple ingredients are all you need for this margherita pizza that's made directly on the grill and ready in just 20 minutes.

Memorial Day Treats - Catch Us On TV!

We appeared on Good Morning America Health to talk about healthy grilling and prepping some deliciously fresh dishes. Here are the recipes we made.

How to Set Up a Grill: A Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these steps to set up your grill correctly and safely.

Grilled Sardines With Garlic Walnut Sauce — The Weekender

If you've long wanted to try grilling whole fish as well, don't delay. Make Bobby Flay’s Grilled Sardines With Garlic Walnut Sauce this weekend.

Turkey and Blistered Green Chile Burgers — The Weekender

Topped with melted cheese and sauteed peppers and onions, this Turkey and Green Chile burger is tender and juicy, and just screams "cookout."

Dressed-Up Hot Dogs — Weekend Cookout

Skip traditional ketchup and mustard, and dress up your hot dog with bold, flavorful toppings with cookout-ready recipes from Food Network.

Summer Showdown Finale: All-Star Labor Day Cookout

All summer long, you’ve voted for your favorite Food Network Star winners or Chopped judges in head-to-head matchups of their best grill-out dishes. Week after week, it was a tight race, and with the start of September just around the corner, it’s finally time to reveal the Summer Showdown winner.

On TV

The Pioneer Woman

9:30am | 8:30c

Girl Meets Farm

12:30pm | 11:30c

The Pioneer Woman

1:30pm | 12:30c

Chopped

3pm | 2c

Chopped

4pm | 3c

Chopped

5pm | 4c

Chopped

6pm | 5c

Chopped

7pm | 6c

Chopped

8pm | 7c

Chopped

9pm | 8c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Chopped

10pm | 9c

Chopped

11pm | 10c

Chopped

12am | 11c

Chopped

1am | 12c

Chopped

2am | 1c

Chopped

3am | 2c