Grill Master!

Independence Day is almost here! The 4th of July is summer’s best celebration and with it comes the dream of every host… to master the grill. To grill up the best hot dogs, burgers and steaks so that not only are these masterpieces the talk of the party, they’re the talk of the whole year! Okay, I admit, it’s my dream, too. So, my friends, I’m here to help you make it happen. Today we’re talking grills, grill prep and fool proof ways to wow your kids, your friends, your kid’s friends… and anyone else lucky enough to walk into your backyard!

And no matter what kind of grill you’re using, make sure the meat is room temperature before grilling. This allows the meat to cook evenly.

Tools of the Trade – Charcoal & Gas Grills



First, start with quality charcoal, like hardwood, which is long-burning and aromatic. Use just enough lighter fluid to get a fire going without saturating your coals. Then let the coals burn until white-hot and all traces of lighter fluid have burned away.

Five pounds of charcoal is enough to cook 8 to 10 pounds of steaks, or enough to  serve 12 to 16 people, so don’t be tempted to overload the grill with coals.

When the coals are ready, place the grill on top and allow it to heat up (about 30 minutes). Oh, and make sure you give a good scrub with a grill brush – the cleaner the grill, the less likely the meat is to stick.

Now you’re ready! Place the steaks directly over the coals and leave the grill uncovered. After 2 minutes of grilling, rotate each steak 45 degrees. This will sear the meat and make it look – and taste – seriously gourmet.

Grill another 3 minutes, then flip the steaks and grill an additional 3-5 minutes for meat about 1-inch thick. This will produce medium-rare steaks. For medium, add 2-3 minutes of cooking time on each side. Flip the steaks only once, turning with tongs. Make sure not to use a grill fork to move steaks – this will puncture the meat and allow the delicious juices to drop into the grill, drying out your beef.



For gas grills, close the lid and turn up the heat to high. Allow about 20 minutes for the grill to heat evenly.

Lay the steak away from direct flames; as the meat cooks, fat will drip down and cause the flames to jump up and burn the steak. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, depending on how you like it, then rotate 45 degrees and cook another 2 to 3 minutes to give the steak fancy diamond-patterned sear marks. Flip the steak and repeat the process on the other side.

How do you tell when the steak is done? Try pressing down on the meat with your tongs. Rarer steaks are softer than well-done ones.

Have fun adding different cheeses, onion, tomato, even kale to your burgers. Now, tie on your best grill master apron, throw the hot dogs, burgers and steaks on the grill and party the night away!

What’s your proudest grilling moment?



Photo credit: iStockFlickr/NathanF
Gourmet Dad
  • Jun Alapag

    i had a 4th of July dinner outside of my job coach’s big yard up on the mountains of Santa Clarita near Six Flags Of Magic Mountain. boy, yes it was getting oh so hot up there, i stood the nigh overnight.

  • Leslie Barnett

    maybe not quite a grill, but my proudest moment was when I wrapped some lovely fresh salmon with vegetables in foil and allowed them to cook in the foil on the grill (lid shut). They turned out yummy!!

  • Simplysandi

    I am still a novice on the grill, but my goal is to conquer it this year. I have a small gas grill, and just made a pizza on it this week. It turned out awesome!

  • Dean McDermott

    Awesome, sounds like you are well on your way! Would love for you to share a picture of the pizza if you have one!

  • Dean McDermott

    Wow, must’ve been a great view of the fireworks!

  • Dean McDermott

    That’s a great idea – and, hey, if it’s on a grill, it’s grilling, right?