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Summer and grilling go together perfectly, but perfect grilling is something else again. Certainly we all have our visions of an ideal backyard meal: handsomely crosshatched steaks, burgers charred on the surface but moist in the center, fish that absorb the flavor of wood smoke without sticking to the grill. And just as certainly we've all had our barbecue disasters. The culprit is usually the same: a one-size-fits-all approach. Cooking over a bed of red-hot charcoal is great for a T-bone, but try it with brisket or short ribs and you'll wind up with a mouthful of shoe leather. Fiery jerk seasoning does wonders for chicken, but it will obliterate the delicate flavor of a veal chop. Each of the 10 recipes that follow begins with a different grilling staple, then pairs it with the kind of heat, seasonings and condiments that work best Once you master the art of tailoring your techniques to your ingredients, you're on your way to a summer of perfect grilling.

Steven Raichlen is the award-winning author of several cookbooks. Many of his grilling tips can be found on his Web site, barbecuebible.com. 
Published June 2001
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