One of the first rules of grilling

One of the first rules before putting a hamburger, steak or chicken breast on the grill is to have the heat at the proper temperature.

With a charcoal grill, that means to have a nice fire going 25 to 30 minutes prior to cooking. Remember to open all vents and place briquettes on the lower charcoal grate.

For a gas grill, turn the gas valve on and turn burners on high. Ignite as directed by the manufacturer. Close the lid and preheat the grill, usually with all burners on high for 10 to 15 minutes.

To judge the heat of the grill, carefully place the palm of the hand just above the grill rack and count the number of seconds it can be held in that position.

Here is an indicator from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook where information on grilling was obtained.

If the hand can be held over the grill for only 2 seconds, the temperature is gauged to be between 400 and 450 degrees, a hot temperature. The coals will be glowing and lightly covered with gray ash.

3 seconds, 375 to 400 degrees, medium-high heat, with glowing coals and lightly covered with gray ash.

4 seconds, 350 to 375 degrees, medium temperature, coals will glow through a layer of ash.

5 seconds, 325 to 350 degrees, medium-low, with coals that glow through the ash.

6 seconds, 300 to 325 degrees, low, coals burning down and covered with a thick layer of ash.

In charcoal grilling, if coals are too hot, raise the grill rack, spread the coals apart, close air vents halfway or remove some briquettes. For a gas or electric grill, adjust the burner to a lower setting.

If the coals are too cool, use long-handled tons to tap ashes off the burning coals, move the coals together, add briquettes, lower the rack or open the vents. For a gas or electric grill, adjust the burner to a higher setting.

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Darrin Young is grilling hamburgers and sausage in the photo with today’s story. This might be something he would barbecue – open-face cheese burgers served on slices of Texas toast, a Better Homes and Gardens recipe.


1/4 cup chopped onion

2 large poblano peppers, roasted, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

3 ounces Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, 3/4 cup

4 slices toasted Texas toast

Combine onion, poblano peppers, chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Add ground beef and mix well. Shape mixture into four 3/4 inch patties. Place on a tray; cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours. For a charcoal grill, grill on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 14 to 18 minutes or until 160 degrees when using a meat thermometer. Turn once halfway through grilling. Top with cheese during last minute of grilling. For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place patties on grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as for charcoal cooking.

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The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook for a glazed country rib, the meatier ribs. It has a tomato base, with molasses and chili powder and Worcestershire sauce.

Glazed Country Ribs

1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup cider or wine vinegar

1/4 cup milk molasses

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 1/2 to 3 pounds pork country-style ribs

For sauce, in a medium saucepan, combine ketchup, water, onion, vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder and garlic. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until desired consistency, stirring often.

Trim fat from ribs. For a charcoal grill, arrange medium-hot coals around a drip pan. Test for medium heat above pan. Place ribs, bone sides down, on grill rack over pan, or place in a rib rack and place on grill rack. Cover and grill for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until tender, brushing occasionally with sauce during the last 15 minutes of grilling. For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Adjust for indirect cooking. Grill as above, except place ribs in a roasting pan. Place pan on grill rack over burner that is off. Brush remaining sauce over ribs.

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Chicken barbecues up very tasty and has a fast grilling time. It is done to perfection in between 10 and 15 minutes, or at the internal temperature of 160 degrees. This recipe comes from the Family Circle magazine.

Grilled Chicken with Peach Barbecue Sauce

1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup peach preserves

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 small onion, chopped

1 large ripe peach, peeled, pitted and finely chopped

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

8 bone-in chicken thighs, about 5 ounces each

8 thin boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 4 ounces each

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Lemon and lime wedges

In a medium heavy saucepan, combine ketchup, peach or apricot preserves, vinegar, chopped onion, chopped peach and mustard. Simmer on low 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set up a gas grill or charcoal grill on medium-high heat for indirect grilling. Lightly grease grill rack. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Grill the thighs on direct heat, skin side down, for 5 minutes. Turn over and place over indirect heat; close grill and cook 10 minutes, skin side up.

Baste every 5 minutes with barbecue sauce and continue to grill, covered over indirect heat for 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

Baste chicken breasts with sauce. Grill over direct heat 5 to 7 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

Meanwhile, place any remaining sauce in a small saucepan and simmer 2 minutes. Serve chicken with remaining barbecue sauce and lemon and lime wedges for squeezing over the top.

Makes eight servings with 392 calories for a thigh and breast with sauce.

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