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

Tyler Florence Is On Hand as Grill Masters Attempt to Break 30-Hour Marathon Barbecue Record

Hear from Tyler as he dishes on the grilling marathon taking place in lower Manhattan today.

The Veggie Table: Vegetarian Grill Ideas

When the grill gets fired up, it's usually to cook meat, but there are plenty of veggie-friendly recipes to cook on the grill; even the meat-lovers would agree.

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

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

VOTE: Star vs. Chopped Cocktail Showdown

This week, Guy Fieri and Aarón Sánchez are shaking up fresh spins on two favorite summer cocktails: the margarita and the mojito.

VOTE: BBQ and Burger Showdowns

This week, Star winners and Chopped judges are going up against their own cohorts in two meaty showdowns.

VOTE: Star vs. Chopped Grilled Fish Showdown

This week, Melissa d’Arabian and Marcus Samuelsson are serving up fresh, fuss-free grilled fish dishes. Whose makes the cut for your grill-out menu?

Calling for Rain? Bring the Cookout Indoors

Sometimes a rainy day can put a damper on your grilling or picnic plans. Don't cancel the party -- remember this tips for bringing your cookout indoors.

On TV

The Pioneer Woman

9:30am | 8:30c

Ayesha's Home Kitchen

10:30am | 9:30c

Ayesha's Home Kitchen

11:30am | 10:30c

Ayesha's Home Kitchen

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