“Just like trying to get more miles per gallon out of your car, you want to get more meals per log out of your grill,” says chef Michael Chiarello. Here, he tells how to create every course of a fantastic dinner during a single grilling session.
Food & Wine
Updated June 27, 2016
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Making the Most of Your Grill
Barrel Grills: Barrel grills offer the most real estate and versatility, but you can also use a large kettle grill or a hearth to cook with live fire.
Using a Skillet: Cooking in cast-iron pans eliminates the need to run back and forth from the grill to the stove.
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Controlling the Fire
Never cook over flames, only red-hot embers. “When I got my first big restaurant review, the critic said the chicken tasted like creosote,” recalls Chiarello. “We had cooked it over flare-ups.” Keep an accessible area off to the side of your grill where you can build and feed your fire.
You need patience—and lots and lots of fuel (10 pounds per hour)—to slow-cook large roasts, like this pork shoulder. But the meat is delicious, and you can use all that waiting time to grill the rest of the meal.
“While you’re grilling, bury some onions and eggplants in the coals,” Chiarello says. “You can make baba ghanoush, or save the vegetables for later to moisten burgers and meatballs.” You can also ember-roast beets and carrots, scraping off their skins with a knife just before serving.
Chiarello grills berries over high heat until they burst, then uses them as a topping for buttery, caramelized toasts. A perforated grill sheet or basket will prevent berries and other small foods from falling through the grate.