Grate for Grilling :)
I am pretty sure that Texans would love to think that they invented grilling. While I am pretty sure they did not, I would not be surprised if Texas was not responsible for some perfecting. In all likely hood, the grill would have been one of the earliest ways to cook. We have come from spit roasting over an open fire to the propane grill. Oddly enough, grilling is heavily associated with the summer (seems a little counterintuitive to stand around a 300 degree fire in 100 degree weather, but I guess that's why there is beer). I think grilling is for the whole year, but there is something to be said for not turning on the oven or stove in our wickedly hot Texas summers. On that front, the crock pot or slow cooker would also be perfect for the summer.
I would like to provide a few thoughts on grilling here. First off-the charcoal chimney. This is an amazing tool for the grill. Top of the line models are under $30 dollars. My $20 Webber one has been around for about 5 years and I can't imagine it not lasting for at least another five. This tool requires coals (put in the top of the chimney), newspaper (put in the bottom of the chimney) and an incendiary device (matches or lighter). Just light the newsprint at the bottom. Newsprint works best. The heavier the paper is the harder it is to keep it burning. The holes at the bottom and up the sides of the chimney allow plenty of oxygen through to keep the flames stoked and to get those coals good and hot in about 10-15 minutes. As the coals begin to get grey, dump them into your grill.
When I grill, I try to cook the entire meal on the grill. It brings a similar flavor to the meal, and lets face it, if you use charcoal you might as well get as much as you can out of your time investment. Those coals have a limited life span and temperature peak—you might as well cook as much as you can. I like grilling corn on the cob, asparagus, broccolini, tomatoes. jalapeños wrapped in bacon and stuffed with cheese.
There are a few tricks that will be helpful in a great grilling experience. The fat content of what you cook will determine how much flare up you get. This includes marinades. If your asparagus is dripping olive oil directly over a flame, it is going to flare up. If you are cooking a ribeye over the hottest part of the grill, it is going to have some char. I like carbon and I think it is a legitimate and valuable component to the flavor profile of grilling, but I do like to keep it in check. If you are going to grill fattier steaks like ribeyes, I recommend using indirect heat by putting them outside of the area of the coals. In the case of grilling veggies, I recommend those goofy baskets. I hate seeing delicious green beans getting burnt to a crisp after they fell through the grate.
Lubrication is also a vital player in your grilling. Even if what you are grilling has oil or fat, get more oil on your grate. You want to do it after it has heated up, so that the grate absorbs the fat.
Seafood, other than shellfish, may need a basket. Flaky fish will come apart. One way to combat this is to grill your fish with the skin on. It brings structure and I feel like it adds flavor. But shellfish just need the kiss of the flames. You can even grill mussels and clams. Just wait till they open and do not spill the liquor they leave in their shells.
I hope these tips are helpful and bring some great grilling this summer.