Get Your Grill On

Summer is the season to fire up the grill and enjoy meals outside. These essential warm-weather wine and entertaining tips ensure your next alfresco meal is a sizzling success.

• Don’t be afraid to put a slight chill on your red wines. Just pop the bottles in an ice bucket for about 10–15 minutes before serving.
• For the carnivores in your family, make sure you have plenty of go-to barbecue wines on hand, such as Australian Shiraz, Argentinian Malbec and California Zinfandel. Remember to stock up on Provençal rosé and some crisp Spanish whites to go with lighter fare.
• Stemmed glasses might be a no-no on uneven surfaces, but when it comes to wine, choose flat-bottomed glass tumblers over plastic.
• Cloth napkins aren’t too extravagant for a picnic and they won’t blow away. Avoid paper plates, too—it’s difficult to cut meat on them.
• For hard-to-grill foods like flaky fish or small pieces of chicken, a grill basket is indispensible.
• Use foil bags or several layers of tightly sealed heavy-duty foil to steam vegetables and side dishes over the flame.
• Make salads ahead of time and store them in closed containers with tight-fitting lids. Add dressing just before serving to avoid soggy greens.
• A desirable marinade contains acid (think wine or lime juice) for tenderizing; something sweet, like brown sugar or honey, for crisping the outside; and a bit of heat, such as cayenne pepper or jalapeño.
• Invest in the right tools. A long-handled barbecue set keeps you safe from the fire. Use a long, sharp knife to slice flank steak, and carve on a wooden cutting board with a well around the rim to catch the jus.
• If using a gas grill, check the propane level before you begin. Have an extra tank for backup, just in case.
• Before lighting the grill, lightly rub the cooking grates with olive oil, and don’t start cooking until the grill has reached the desired temperature.

Published on May 21, 2012
Topics: Food, Grill Tips, Wine and Food Pairings
About the Author
Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen
Entertaining and Lifestyle Editors

Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen are Wine Enthusiast's Entertaining and Lifestyle Editors. DeSimone tastes wine from Israel and the Mediterranean Basin, while Jenssen tastes wine from Eastern Europe, including the former the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Both co-authored Wines of California, Wines of the Southern Hemisphere, and The Fire Island Cookbook. Wine educators and presenters, both gentlemen serve as frequent guests on national and local television. Email: mikeandjeff@wineenthusiast.net



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