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Fire Up the Grill:12 steps to grill Like a Pro

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  1. Learn the difference between charcoal (pure carbon made from hardwoods) and briquettes (fine carbon compacted into a small brick). Charcoal, which gives off that barbecue smoke enthusiasts love, may burn faster than the briquettes, so keep that in mind when firing up the grill.
  2. Avoid the temptation to press down on your burger patties to speed up the cooking process. That just releases all the good juiciness, leaving you with a burger that’s dry.
  3. Don’t skimp on the charcoal. You’ll need a full chimney starter to fill up that grill.
  4. For delicate foods like fish, use oil on the grate or foil to keep it from sticking.
  5. Coals are ready for their close-up in the grill when covered in gray ash, not before.
  6. Spread out your coals or concentrate them to get different degrees of heat.
  7. Scrub the grill clean when it’s hot.
  8. Know the difference between a marinade, left, and a brine. Marinades use acids — like wine or lemon juice — to flavor and tenderize meat or vegetables. Brines are salt-water solutions used to moisturize, tenderize and flavor the meat.
  9. For small foods like scallions, use perforated aluminum foil to prevent them from falling through the grate.
  10. Perforated aluminum foil also works well for delicate foods like fish.
  11. Know the difference between barbecue (cooking meats on a low heat for long periods of time) and grilling (cooking meat and vegetables on a fast, high heat as shown in the photograph).
  12. Keep the grill closed to ensure an even temperature and that smoky flavor.
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