While not all chefs prefer charcoal over gas (Tom Mylan makes a pretty convincing argument for gas grilling), the majority do. That’s because grilling over charcoal infuses the meat, fish or vegetable with a delicious smokiness that you just won’t get if you’re using a gas grill.
If you’re worried about working with unruly charcoal, brush up on your skills with this quick video from Jonathan Waxman. Then get to grilling these wonderfully smoky dishes.
1. Chicken-and-Seafood Paella
“A real paella is infused with smoky flavor,” says chef Seamus Mullen. “Which is why traditional Spanish cooks almost always make the dish outside over a large fire.”
2. Barbecued Brisket and Burnt Ends
Ten hours on the grill with a slather, a rub and a mop give this brisket an extraordinarily robust flavor.
3. Smoky Barbecued Chicken
This amber-colored chicken is incredibly delicious thanks to an overnight marinade, a spice-and-sugar rub, a sweet-sour mop and four hours on a charcoal grill.
4. Turkey Breast Escabeche with Onions Poblanos
Grilling spice-rubbed turkey over charcoal adds a fabulous flavor.
5. Charred and Smoky Belgian Endives
In this incredibly easy recipe, endives are brushed with olive oil then grilled until they are lightly charred and super-juicy.
6. Ember-Roasted Baba Ghanoush
Take advantage of the hot coals by cooking whole eggplants and onions directly on the embers while other parts of the meal are grilling on the grate.