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.