Grill Like a Pro
This method works on a grill or in the oven (preheated to 500º F).
1. Carefully pull back the husks, keeping them attached while exposing the kernels.
2. Gently pull out the silks by hand.
3. Wrap each ear's husks back around the kernels and carefully twist the tops closed.
4. Place the corn on a medium-hot grill (or on the oven rack) for 20 to 30 minutes. Turn the ears occasionally so the corn roasts evenly; take care not to overcook. (If the fire is very hot, soak the corn in cold water for 10 minutes before grilling.)
5. Use tongs to remove the ears from the heat. Wearing oven mitts, remove the husks. If you like your corn charred and smoky tasting, baste the husked ears with olive oil or butter and put them back on the grill or under the broiler briefly before serving.
Making a great hamburger is a perfect excuse to go cheap at the butcher counter. More fat in the meat means more flavor, so skip the high-priced extra-lean sirloin and buy regular ground chuck instead. (Much of the fat drips out during cooking, anyway.) After grilling, the regular ground-beef burger has only 13 more calories and two more grams of fat than the lean burger, but it is much more moist and flavorful.
1. Take 1 pound of ground beef and, handling it as little as possible, gently shape it into patties (the meat strands should still show).
2. For medium to well-done burgers, grill the patties over a medium-hot flame for 4 to 5 minutes per side, turning only once.
Flavoring Your Fire
Topping coals with hardwood chips, such as hickory, oak, apple, or cherry, adds old-fashioned barbecue flavor to food.
Charcoal: Place about one cup of chips that have been soaking in water for one hour on each mound of charcoal, then cover the grill. For prolonged cooking of a brisket, turkey, or other large piece of meat, add fresh charcoal and chips every hour.
Gas: Most high-end models have a separate smoker box―a metal tray or box that holds chips directly over a burner. If your grill is equipped that way, add the chips and run the smoker-box burner on high until you see smoke.
If you don't have a smoker box, make your own smoker pouch following these steps:
1. Place one to two cups of soaked wood chips on a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
2. Make a pouch, folding over the edges twice to form a seal.
3. Poke a few holes in the top with a pencil or knife to allow the smoke to escape.
4. Place the smoker pouch under the grate and directly over one of the burners. Run the grill on high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to the desired temperature.
Keeping Meats Juicy
The best foods for grilling are fatty ones because they stay juicy over high heat. Fish and chicken, because they are so lean, tend to dry out on the grill.
- Avoid cottony fish by cooking it with fruit or lightly brushing it with olive oil.
- To keep chicken from drying into jerky, leave the skin on while it cooks. (Perching it on a can of beer helps, too.) The skin is a protective jacket, and almost none of its fat is absorbed by the meat underneath.
- Another way to keep the juices in fish and chicken is to use only tongs or a spatula for turning. Don't stab them with a fork. Save that for rescuing those hot dogs that have fallen into the fire.