It’s summer, fire up those grills

Published 4:19 pm Tuesday, June 19, 2012

For guys there is just something about cooking on an open flame.

I’m sure it goes back to the days of Joe Cave Dweller who went out and killed a dinosaur and then carried it back home and cooked it over a roaring fire, while his adoring wife looked on in amazement. That’s one theory anyway.

Maybe it’s because working over the hot flame makes us sweat profusely, which must mean that we’re working extremely hard – much harder than say baking a casserole.

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Maybe it’s even more basic than that. Maybe it’s simply that guys like meat and we like fire, and combining the two just makes sense. That could be it.

Whatever the reason, there is deep in every man’s heart a longing to light up the grill and toss a big slab of meat on there. There’s a need to hear the sizzle, smell the smoke and feel the heat rise from the coals.

With summer upon us, you’ve no doubt already seen the plumes of smoke rising around town and smelled the familiar aroma of burning charcoal. Since grilling season is officially upon us, here are seven tips courtesy of the Eat Like A Man cookbook, that everyone should know before lighting up the ol’ grill.

  • Charcoal is ready when 80 percent of the coals are ash-gray.
  • If the fire gets too weak (you can hold your hand just above the grill for four or five seconds), try pushing the coals closer together. If it’s too hot (two seconds, max), spread the coals out and move your food to the edge. If the coals start to burn down and disappear, add more — but remember, that brings the temperature down, too.
  • A covered grill is a hotter grill. Food cooked in a covered grill tastes smokier. This is usually a good thing, but not always. Also, it’s easier to overcook food when the grill is covered. Why? Because you can’t see the food.
  • The resealable plastic bag was made for marinating.
  • Careful with tongs. Squeeze too tight and you squeeze the juice out. Same goes for maneuvering using a fork or knife.
  • The kebab was a wonderful invention. It’s like a whole meal on a stick. A kebab secret: If you want the meat medium-rare, pack it tight on the skewer. For medium-well, space the pieces out. Don’t forget that skewers get hot.
  • There is no fruit you can’t grill. Pineapples, bananas, cantaloupe, oranges, peaches — slice or cut in half, brush with melted butter and, if you want, brown sugar, and grill. There are few tastier desserts than grilled fruit.