The Cheat’s Guide to Grilling

‘Tis the season! To be around friends and family, sharing joy and warm cheer over good food and drink. The chill in the air also calls for huddling over a warm pot or a grill, so put your aprons on, and dial your lovelies to come over; it’s the weekend before Xmas, so celebrations need to start pronto.
But a party calls for a lot of pre-event work—menu planning, buying, prepping, marinating, and more. Let’s make this easier for you. How about you choose your favourites, order, and receive premium cuts soaked in scrumptious marinades, so you can relax and grill at leisure. Pour the wine, pass the beers around; having a party was never so easy.
Whether you’re a pro or beginner, here’s a quick guide to grilling these juicy meats, to make your ‘do rank sky-high in the memorable party order of things. Also, you’ll need sides to go with those platters of seriously good grills. And a good party is never complete without a coordinated wine pairing, right?

Grilling Cheatsheet:
1) Start with the essentials: You’ll need:

  • A sturdy grill, whether portable or fixed, really basic or something fancy, this will be something you will spend the most time around. Buy a new one, or borrow from a friend or from one of those professional dealers.
  • Coal or charcoal briquettes
    • Lighting blocks (you may choose other stuff, but these are quite effective, especially if you’re just starting out)
    • Newspaper sheets and twigs
    • Tongs to place and flip the food
    • Oven mitts
    • A meat thermometer (not essential, but good to have around)
    • Plenty of plates and cutlery
    • A Kiss the Chef apron (really optional)
    2) Clean your grill: You want to start afresh every time. Here are Some tips

    3) Light up: A hands-on video to get things going.
    We Didn’t Start the Fire is mandatory grilling playlist material.
    4) Cook: Chicken is one of the easiest meats to cook, but grilling it for too long is unforgivable; no one enjoys dried-out, chewy drumsticks or legs. Too less time on the grill means seemingly cooked exteriors with raw insides. Both extremes are easily avoided, with the help of these tips and tricks.

    The cut of meat is important, as is the marinade and marinating time. Thanks to the excellent, pre-marinated selection, that part is already taken care of, so you can move on the next bit. A smart way to get on with things.
    Start with marinated chicken that is a little cool, if not exactly room temperature. Ensure the grill temperature is just right; you don’t want it very high, a medium range works well for chicken. 
    Cover the meat after a couple of minutes; this takes care of the coveted juiciness and thorough cooking right into the centre. Flip at regular intervals for even cooking. 
    Basting with a liquid is important; the point being introducing flavourful moisture to the meat, which is absorbed readily thanks to the heat. Even basting is the secret to many a delish BBQ. Baste with a sauce, or butter, or oil, or, as an experienced kebabwala from the street cart confides— a mix of oil, water and a squeeze of lime. 
    A nifty guide to grilling chicken can be found here


    The Sides:

    Mashed potatoes with any toppings are almost compulsory with grilled food. The fluffier, the better (butter actually). Try using sweet potatoes instead of regular, or a mix; both make for good accompaniments with grilled chicken. Mix in some chopped cooked bacon or a smoked cheddar and sliced chives, or feta and chopped parsley. Plenty of mashed potato ideas here


    Grilled flatbreads with cheese, even cheese garlic naan are excellent to wrap your succulent chicken bites. Try a roti warmed on the grill with zaatar and olive oil for an unusual option. 

    The grill and corn are the legendary black-and-yellow match made in heaven. Serve these chilli lime corn wheels, or throw a couple of cobs on the grill, and experiment with flavourings. Here’s how


    Salads are a great, fresh foil for the deep smoky flavours of the meat. An Indian-style kachumber is de rigueur; jazz it up with a fruity extra virgin and an orange and lemon dressing. Turn the roasted corn from above into a tasty salad


    A pasta salad is another super carb side toss it either with mayo or BBQ sauce.

    BBQing may be one of the few times red wine will not be askew when paired with chicken. A smoky, spicy chicken will stand up well to a bold Merlot or Malbec. A milder rosé will go agreeably with lightly flavoured grilled chicken. Look at a deep Zinfandel to serve with chicken grilled with BBQ sauce. For chicken with a full-bodied, bold dry rub, reach for a light Riesling.

    About the Author
    An incorrigible gastronome, Rupika V is on a perpetual quest to find the best food around, and will happily travel far to find it.
    Image Credit: Cover
    Image Credit: Grilling Cheatsheet
    Image Credit: Essentials
    Image Credit: Grill Charcoal
    Image Credit: Flame Ash
    Image Credit: Chicken Grilled
    Image Credit: Barbecue
    Image Credit: Mashed Potatoes
    Image Credit: Barbecue Corn
    Image Credit: Salad
    Image Credit: Tasty Salad
    Image Credit: Wine

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