By Danielle Walsh, Bon Appétit
Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer. In the food world this means burgers, hot dogs, chicken, steaks, ribs, and veggies cooked on a grill.
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But you shouldn't just haul out the Weber from the garage and dive into this like so many limes in so many Coronas. Preparing for grilling season isn't like getting ready for a rapture that never happens--there is real life flavor at stake. We have less than a week. Let's go!
Here's an easy three-point checklist from our Test Kitchen to make sure your first summer lunch is well done (meaning medium rare).
1) Clean the Grill: Most likely the grate has a bunch of last year's gunk clinging to it. Get rid of it! You can do a little oven cleaner action on the grate: Remove it from the grill, spray it, scrub it down really good, and give it a thorough rinse. Light a fire under it as a final step--just let the fire burn out, and you're ready to go. If you have a gas grill, clean out the holes in gas tubes (or even replace the tubes), as many get clogged, leading to uneven cooking. You can do this with a wire skewer or a strong toothpick.
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2) Stock Your Pantry: Meat has a lot going for it unadorned, but a good spice rub (hey, like this one) takes it to a transcendental level. Our ideal grilling pantry is equipped with kosher salt, Maldon sea salt, whole spices, dried chiles, some brown sugar, and a spice grinder. Some Asian sauces--like soy, oyster, and chili garlic--are great too. Don't forget fresh lemons and limes, olive oil, and tons of fresh herbs.
3) Pick Out Some Recipes: Luckily, we've got over a hundred--like Cheddar Burgers With Balsamic Onions And Chipotle Ketchup, Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Kebabs with Aleppo Pepper (pictured), and Grilled Corn on the Cob with Chile and Lime.