The New Grilling Essentials

Seven grilling experts share their tips on taming the flame

Oh happy, smoky, bring-out-the-giant-tongs, never-leave-our-backyards day: Grilling season is here again. And though we love all the familiar rituals and simple pleasures of cooking outside, we're always open to learning a few new good tricks. Like how to grill a better burger—by keeping the meat itself off the grates. Or how a bit of gentle charcoal heat (and a bunch of compound butters and homemade chile sauce) can bring a seafood tower to new heights.

"Grilling is convivial," notes Edi Frauneder of New York's Edi & the Wolf. "There's something about this act of coming together over an open flame that just says vacation." Frauneder throws together a casually brilliant, crowd-pleasing, open-faced assemblage of pickled peaches and plums with burrata and arugula on top of homemade flatbread. It's a reminder that cooking with fire isn't just about big cuts of meat (though we've got ideas for that too) or who's got the bigger flames. Frauneder's dish is subtle, smoky, sweet, and tart. And like the rest of these inspired takes on summer grilling, it's exactly what we want to be cooking and eating right now.

Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Shawarma
Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Shawarma

Soak up the flavorful juices of these Mediterranean-spiced chicken skewers by resting them on grilled pita during the final stages of cooking in this dish from Ana Sortun, who uses yogurt’s natural acidity to tenderize tough cuts of meat. Get the recipe for Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Shawarma »

Grilled Oysters on a Bed of Salt with a bottle of Champagne
Grilled Oysters on a Bed of Salt

“You can grill any oyster you’d eat raw,” says John Finger of California’s Hog Island Oyster Co., “but bigger is better, since the longer they cook, the more they shrink.” Rules of thumb: Opt for Pacific over Eastern, and look for 4–5-inch shell size. Have your fishmonger shuck one before you buy; the meat should almost fill the shell.

Fennel Chile Rubbed Steak, Grilling
Giant Fennel-Chile-Rubbed Steak

This T-bone steak is grilled with a simple rub of ground fennel seeds, black peppercorns, and red chile flakes. Get the recipe for Giant Fennel-Chile-Rubbed Steak »

Seafood Tower, Grilling
Sean Brock's BBQ Sauce
Sean Brock's Secret Weapon

While Brock insists that store-bought barbecue sauce will work perfectly well, a homemade version takes very little time and you can customize it to your tastes or whatever it is you’re cooking.

Grilling, Grilled Sangria
Grilled Sangria

Whether it’s juicing grilled limes into margaritas, charring tomatoes for bloody marys, or making this reimagined sangria with caramelized fruits, grilling your drinks will add smoky depth to every sip. Get the recipe for Grilled Sangria »

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