The New Grilling Essentials

Seven grilling experts share their tips on taming the flame

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 »Michael Turek

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.

The "Grill Everything but the Burger" Brisket Burger
The "Grill Everything but the Burger" Brisket Burger
The all-brisket patty for this burger—from San Francisco's Wes Rowe, a pop-up burger slinger—is grilled, but in a cast-iron pan over the flame.Michael Turek
Grilling, 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.Michael Turek
Grilling, Grilled Oysters
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.Michael Turek
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.Michael Turek
Seafood Tower, Grilling
Grilled Seafood Tower
Besides salt, you can use seaweed or sand to form a bed for any shellfish on the half shell. For a rustic, low-country feel, pile your fish into a multi-tiered galvanized metal server like this one by Benzara.Michael Turek
Grilling, Smoked Ribs
Char-Smoked Baby Back Ribs
Grilling then smoking these ribs gives them an intense crust and soulful flavor.Michael Turek
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.Matt Taylor-Gross
Pickled Stone Fruit and Burrata Flatbread
Pickled Stone Fruit and Burrata Flatbread
A light vegetarian lunch, or even savory summer dessert, the sugary pickling brine in this recipe helps the peaches and plums caramelize on the grill.Michael Turek
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.Matt Taylor-Gross
Grilling
Transform Your Grill into a Smoker in Four Simple Steps »
Multi-task
One appliance, many uses.
Michael Turek