For today's fifth and final day of tips from Jame's Peterson's What's a Cook to Do?, a host of tips on grillingbecause you are grilling this weekend, aren't you?
Fire in the hole!
How to Clean a Messy, Caked-On Grill
Those of us who don't bother to clean a grill regularly often rationalize that if it's set over the hot coals for a few minutes before food is placed on it, any bacteria on the grill will be killed. But if you want your food not to stick to the grill and don't want to look like a slob, you'll have to clean it.
1. Lay the grill on spread-out newspaper, ideally outside.
2. Spray the grill with heavy-duty oven cleaner.
3. Let it sit for an hour; scrub it with steel wool, and rinse well.
4. Repeat as necessary.
How to Light a Fire for the Grill
You see them in most hardware, home, and garden stores as grilling season approaches. Along with the latest in grill models, stores now sell "chimneys," one of the cleverer inventions of the late 20th century. A chimney is essentially a metal cylinder with a few notches near the base in which to start a charcoal fire.
1. Fill the top part of the cylinder with charcoal. Stuff some newspaper in the bottom. Set the chimney in the grill base where you want the fire to, and light the newspaper with a match.
2. Leave the burning contraption alone for about 30 minutes and you'll find the charcoal all aglow.
3. Pour the coals out into the base of the grill.
How to Keep Food from Sticking to the Grill
To ensure that your food arrives intact on the plate and not shredded on the grill:
1. Before heating, start with a perfectly clean grill and spray it with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Some foods, especially seafood, can be coated with flour.
3. Make sure the heat of the grill itself is very hot before you put food on the rack.
Photograph from iStockPhoto.com