Most commercials will tell you that grilling is “man’s work,” with dad wearing an apron and a chef’s hat as he tends the burgers and dogs cooking over an open flame. I have a completely unsubstantiated theory as to why this is: Men don’t want women to know how relatively easy it is to work a grill.

If you’re completely new to the world of grilling, check out these sites for an introduction:

Get familiar with grilling basics courtesy of Elizabeth Karmel, creator of Girls at the Grill. The site offers a Grilling 101 for newbies along with a mess of tips and strategies and recipes.

You can also watch webisodes from Grill Grrrl Robyn Lindars, who preaches “healthy, simple, and creative meals on the grill.”

Once you feel comfortable working the flames, open yourself to the possibilities of what you can grill—salad, seafood, vegetables, fruit, lean meats, and poultry. Heck, even pizza!

Where you can have the most fun is with marinades and rubs. The acids in marinades help tenderize the meat while adding flavor. As a rule of thumb, you can let chicken or fish marinate for about 30 minutes, while thicker cuts of meat can stand 4 hours or more. Pick up premade marinades at the store—I’m a huge fan of Trader Joe’s Soyaki—or find fun recipes like pirate marinade or this spiced-yogurt marinade online. Or play around on your own—the basic components are generally: oil/fat, acid, spices and/or herbs.

Rubs, on the other hand, add flavor and texture and form a delicious crunchy crust. A dry mix of salt, pepper, dried herbs, and spices, rubs can be done right before cooking (but if you do it in advice, you’ll get more flavor). I’ve had success with Bobby Flay’s rub, (but I half his salt).

And one of the best uses for a grill is making dessert. You can start with grilled fruits—pineapple, nectarines, peaches, watermelon, strawberries are all amazing when grilled—whose natural sugars caramelize over the open flame, creating an even sweeter taste. My favorite is grilled pound cake with berries and whipped cream, but these grilled peach and pound cake kabobs might be a close second.

What are you waiting for? Get fired up and start grilling.




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