Off the Grill

Photo by Len Villano.

At our house, cooking on the grill is a year-round enjoyment. When the weather tries to stop us, we pull the grill to the edge of our open garage door and cook out, even on the snowiest days of winter. There are few rules to grilling; truly almost anything can be cooked on the grill.

Here are a few grilling tips I’ve learned over the years:

• Always clean the cooking grate before heating the grill. A wire grill brush works best.

• Charcoal grilling gives a smokier flavor but does take longer to heat up. Gas grilling is more convenient and emits less pollution.

• For extra flavor, use Cherry or Apple wood smoking chips. Be sure to soak them in water for several hours beforehand.

• When using charcoal, ditch the lighter fluid and use a chimney starter.

• Allow enough time for the cooking grate to heat up.

• Direct or Indirect: Direct cooking is best for foods that cook quickly. This is when the food is placed directly over the heat. Indirect cooking is when you have the heat on one side of the grill and the food on the other. This is best for foods that take longer to cook.

• A good sear on each side will improve flavors and keep the insides juicy.

• Use a digital thermometer to get the perfect temperature.

• Allow food to rest for a few minutes; do not cover food, as it may become soggy. Resting allows juices to redistribute evenly.

Sherman Burgers

1 lb. ground beef or turkey

1 egg

1½ tablespoons breadcrumbs

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 clove garlic

½ teaspoon pepper

pinch of salt

chopped onion (to taste)

Combine all ingredients with a fork. Finish mixing by hand and separate into four patties. Cook on heated grill for six to eight minutes per side. Add cheese and cook to desired doneness. Finish with your favorite toppings and enjoy!