Sunday, August 01, 2021

More Grill and Outdoor Cooking Tips for All Year Round


A platter of grilled food makes a great centerpiece for any outdoor dinner. Photo by Pem McNerney/The Source

A platter of grilled food makes a great centerpiece for any outdoor dinner. (Photo by Pem McNerney/The Source)


Vegetables can sometimes be grilled right on the grate, if they are big enough pieces. For smaller pieces, a grill pan can be used. Photo by Pem McNerney/The Source

Vegetables can sometimes be grilled right on the grate, if they are big enough pieces. For smaller pieces, a grill pan can be used. (Photo by Pem McNerney/The Source)


A mix of seafood and vegetables can be grilled in foil packets. Photo by Pem McNerney/The Source

A mix of seafood and vegetables can be grilled in foil packets. (Photo by Pem McNerney/The Source)


Seafood with vegetables and some Old Bay, grilled in foil packets, make for a light and delicious summer dinner. Photo by Pem McNerney/The Source

Seafood with vegetables and some Old Bay, grilled in foil packets, make for a light and delicious summer dinner. (Photo by Pem McNerney/The Source)

While some of us save grilling for summer fun, there are many others who love to cook outdoors all year round, no matter the weather. There are also plenty of folks out there with strong opinions about charcoal briquettes versus lump charcoal and the right kind of seasoning to use on meat, and there is complete consensus on this point: never use a wire bristle brush to clean the grill. Read all about that below.

Also, here are some of our favorite grill recipes and tips from our archives, follow the links, or visit and search on the headline of the story:

• Use an instant read thermometer for chicken: Nibbles: Instant Read Thermometer

• Vegetable lettuce wraps with grilled veggies: A Feast with Friends, Prepared on the Grill

• Rack of lamb on the grill: Sunny and Mild and Time to Break out the Grill

• For burger bliss, maybe skip the grill: Ultimate Burger, Revisited

• Foil wrapped chicken enchiladas on the grill: In the Mood

• How to create the ultimate outdoor patio: Creating the Ultimate Backyard Patio

• Shrimp and scallop boil foil packet, bacon bourbon baked beans, and Michele’s Steak on a Stick: Celebrate the Fourth of July with a Backyard Barbecue

Here are some tips and tricks from our readers:


• Don’t use a wire bristle grill brush: “If you use a stainless steel or brass wire brush to remove stuck-on food from grill grates, be aware of this surprising downside: Small, sharp bristles can break off as you’re cleaning and get stuck to your grill’s cooking surface. The next time you grill, those stray bristles may adhere to food and be accidentally ingested. An estimated 1,700 Americans went to an emergency room between 2002 and 2014 after having ingested wire bristles in grilled food, according to a study published in 2016 in the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. One in four of those with grill brush injuries had to be admitted to the hospital.”—Mary Elliott, Madison, citing <URL destination="">Consumer Reports


• The kids got me a wood-fired Ooni pizza oven for Christmas, and it’s my favorite thing. So far, I’ve only used it for great pizza, but there are directions for roasting and smoking meat. I think it’s going to be my new outdoor cooker. Easier to clean than a grill. And you can clean up the fallen sticks from your yard to fuel dinner.—Colleen Shaddox, East Haddam


• We grill year round, as long as it isn’t torrential rain, an ice storm, or a hurricane. If we can get to the grill, we grill. We grill very simply. Proteins are seasoned with salt and pepper usually. I have a pork chop recipe I use often: We like to get really thick chops—over an inch—and brine them for 8 to 12 hours. We grill over direct heat until well seared then move off direct heat and cover the grill to finish them. Extra moist, very flavorful.—Ed Thereault, East Haddam


• I grill all year long, and use the smoker as well. I use lump charcoal, never briquettes, and never use lighter fluid. Use a stack starter with newspaper. You can add soaked wood chips on charcoal grills. Season all meats at least one hour before grilling. Try McCormick Montreal Steak or Montreal Poultry. That is a really good “during the week and had a long day at work” one. Sometimes a nice kosher salt and fresh ground pepper is all you need. Pork and beef can be seasoned the day before, and wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, put on a plate, and refrigerated. Bring steaks to room temperature before grilling to control the level of doneness.—Edwin Williams Bartlett, formerly of Guilford, now from New Hartford


• I love my Weber Genesis grill. I do mostly meat and veggies, but I also love stone fruit on the grill.—Lee White, Groton, food columnist for Shore Publishing and


• For the past 15 years or so my job at Thanksgiving was to do the turkey on my gas grill and making the gravy on the side burner. It frees up the oven for the side dishes, and keeps me out of the bustle of all that’s going on.—Charles Hedge, Deep River


• I have a Weber gas grill and two Weber charcoal-burning kettles. I barbecue year-round. The “quicker” items like steaks, burgers, sausages, and seafood are done on the gas grill, and the heftier meats (ribs, whole chickens, brisket, roasts) go in the kettles for slow, smoked roasting, usually in conjunction with various rubs. Kingsford charcoal works just fine for me, as it did for my father back in the 1960s. Here’s a simple recipe for grilled shrimp, Greek-style: 1 pound 16- to 20-count extra jumbo raw shrimp; ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil;and 2 to 3 tablespoons dried oregano. Preheat a gas grill for 10 minutes. Peel the raw shrimp and place in a mixing bowl. Pour the olive oil over the shrimp and mix with spoons until thoroughly coated. Alternately mix and sprinkle oregano over the shrimp until evenly distributed. Place the shrimp on metal or wooden skewers, piercing each shrimp twice on the skewer for extra stability. Grill the shrimp for 4 minutes on one side, then 3 minutes on the other side, turning carefully. Remove from grill and let cool for a few minutes. Serve with yellow rice or other aromatic rice. Serves 3 to 4.—Mike Urban, Old Saybrook


• I grill all year long. Always had a Weber. It’s the first thing I shovel out during a snowstorm.—Susanna Maresca Bakula, originally from North Haven, now from Madison


• I grill all year long. Our grill master has boots and a parka, or an umbrella and raincoat. Whatever the weather. Bacon on the grill is awesome for the weekends.—Catherine Flynn Donovan, Madison


• We grill year round, and are wimpy in that it’s gas. I use it to make hot pepper relish, which if I make it indoors, renders the house unlivable, so I’m forced outside. Outside of that, we’re pretty normal in our use. Too bad there aren’t any active colliers in Madison anymore, I guess that last ones gave it up in the 1920s...that would make for an unusual story. At least there are a bunch of their old abandoned fireplaces scattered through the woods.—Charlie Shafer, Madison


• A thick cast iron Lodge brand paella pan is essential for us! It lives out on the grill. We use it for smash burgers and anything else requiring a good sear. The advantage of grilling outdoors is, you can get cast iron pans screaming hot and not fill the house with smoke.—Alix Provence, originally from Madison

• A cast iron pan is good for cooking fish outside on the grill as well.—Lori Berg Schroeder, Madison


• We have a Simpsons collectible version of the large charcoal burning Weber. It’s over 20 years old. We use Kingsford charcoal most times. It always available and it always works well, lasts through some major grilling adventures...We use a metal starting chimney...People come from all over for my hamburgers...they are thick, made from good meat, with a sprinkle of Tony Chachery’s Cajun spices and deli cheddar. I also make grilled portobello mushrooms, marinated in minced onion, garlic, black pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes.—Lorain Ohio Simister, Clinton


• We don’t use our Big Green Egg in winter, but do regularly grill in our living room fireplace.—Stephen Davis, Madison

Pem McNerney for Zip06. Email Pem at

Reader Comments