Too Many Cooks

Too Many Cooks: Our Memorial Day Grilling Tips

May 24, 2013

You'll be hearing from the staff at FOOD52 every week in Too Many Cooks, our group column in which we pool our answers to questions about food, cooking, life, and more.

Adam Rapoport's Steak 

For those of us in the Northeast, summer has felt like the flakiest of friends. We keep expecting it, we receive its intermittent text messages with promises of grabbing drinks in the sunshine and walking to the beach -- and then it never shows. But this weekend, rain or shine, we're going to grill like we mean it. In anticipation of Memorial Day, and in an effort to peer pressure summer into arriving, we're asking:

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What are your most essential grilling tips?

We want to hear from you, too -- share your grilling wisdom in the comments!


Lauren: I started using a grill basket for small veggies so they wouldn't fall through the slats. It makes me very happy.  

Christina: Always have a cold drink in your hand. Oh, and rosemary makes everything better.

Will: Sear meats first and then let them cook slow. Cook veggies slow, then sear them off. Plan ahead. Use fresh herbs.

Beatrice: Flip the burger only once, and don't smash it with your spatula -- that releases all the delicious juices! 

Amanda Li: Form burger patties larger than the bun. Also make an indent in the middle, otherwise you get pyramid-shaped burgers.

Karl: Set up grilling zones for searing and cooking (high and medium on a gas grill, or charcoal pushed to one side). And I like the way William described searing and grilling versus grilling and searing! Finally, brush the grill with oil before putting anything on there.


Bryce: Grilled fruit makes the best dessert. 

Lauren: Totally, Bryce. With vanilla ice cream. 

Stephanie: I'm definitely on the grilled fruit bandwagon. Grilled watermelon is the greatest.

Sarah J: You can use aluminum foil as a makeshift grill basket. It also helps to keep the grill clean and the meat and vegetables separated.

Kenzi: Step one: remember to buy a grill or something resembling one for fire escape. Step two: buy off neighbors with ribs, so your landlord doesn't find out.

Marian: Bringing along a large block of tofu is a sure-fire way to make friends at a barbecue.

Merrill: Always cook on a clean grill to prevent sticking/burning -- if you don't have a wire brush, just use a wadded up piece of tin foil and some tongs.

Kristen: If you're using a chimney starter to light the coals, don't wait until the top ones are totally white to dump them out and start grilling -- your fire will die faster than you expect. If some of the top coals are just starting to turn white at the edges, you're good to go -- and they've still got fuel to burn.  

Sarah S: Always remember that grills are excellent tools for making s'mores.

Tell us in the comments: what are your most essential grilling tips? And what will you be making this weekend? 

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • aargersi
  • Kenzi Wilbur
    Kenzi Wilbur
Marian Bull

Written by: Marian Bull



aargersi May 24, 2013
You know those onion goggles you bought awhile back? Those also work for keeping the smoke from the grill out of your eyes. Lacking those, use your dive mask. And garden gloves to protect your hands from heat. Rest assured you WILL be laughed at in this get-up.
Kenzi W. May 24, 2013
Ha, this is great. Do what you need to do, right?