Summer has officially started and whether you're at home with family or planning a socially distant evening with friends, it's time to get outside and fire up the grill.

With the right equipment, some seriously simple and satisfying recipes and expert tips you can master the grill in no time.

PHOTO: A grill is seen here in this undated stock photo.
STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images
A grill is seen here in this undated stock photo.

The tools:

  • A charcoal or gas grill
  • Substitute:
    If you don’t own or have access to a grill, use a grill pan.

    PHOTO: A grill pan with seasonings is seen here in an undated stock photo.
    STOCK PHOTO/Shutterstock
    A grill pan with seasonings is seen here in an undated stock photo.

    Note: Grill pans are a great investment if you crave that charred taste or Instagram worthy grill marks. But, if you don’t want to purchase one feel free to heat up a cast iron skillet instead.

  • A grill brush
  • Metal tongs
  • Skewers
  • A sheet pan and wire cooling rack
  • A cutting board
  • Digital thermometer
  • Aluminum foil
  • Large platter
  • PHOTO: Meat and vegetables cook on a charcoal grill in an undated stock photo.
    STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images
    Meat and vegetables cook on a charcoal grill in an undated stock photo.

    The ingredients:

  • Fresh produce: peppers, corn, summer squash, asparagus etc. Check out the full list of what's in season and why it's important to shop local in tandem with the harvest calendar.
  • Proteins: Steak, chicken, pork, seafood; hearty fish like tuna and halibut, shrimp, lobster.
  • Oil: Light, high smoke point oil (vegetable, canola or avocado)
  • PHOTO: Grilled corn on the cob sits on a platter in an undated handout photo.
    STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images
    Grilled corn on the cob sits on a platter in an undated handout photo.

    The method:

    Celebrity chef and restaurateur Alex Guarnaschelli shared her top tips for taking on the grill.

    1. Know your heat zones. "Your grill has different areas, and some are hotter than others. Cook the start of your foods in the hot zones and the more fragile ones where there is less heat," Guarnaschelli said.

    2. Don't over saturate ingredients with oil. "While your instinct might be to coat your food heavily with oil so it doesn’t stick when you grill, the oil drips down and "flames" the food which doesn’t always taste so great! Make sure there is enough oil to coat, but not too much."

    3. Add a sprinkle of sugar to fruit. "When making grilled or roasted fruits or oven-dried tomatoes, add a thin layer of powdered sugar before cooking to enhance the color of the foods as well as adding a touch of wanted sweetness."

    Bonus Tips:

  • Use a light oil with a high smoke point like vegetable or avocado oil on items that can burn easily.
  • Bring meats to room temperature before cooking to bring out more flavor.
  • Season everything.
  • Lightly coat the grates of the grill with oil especially when working with veggies, because the more delicate flavors can quickly develop a strange and bitter taste if you drench them in oil first.
  • Make sure to properly dry any proteins that you want to develop a nice crust on. Wet ingredients will make for a smokey sizzle when the condensation hits the heat.
  • Marinades with sticky or sweet ingredients should cook in a medium heat zone so that it does not burn or stick.
  • Portion out marinades to use the same ones with multiple proteins or veggies. Just don't use any leftover marinade after it has touched raw meat or fish.
  • Timing your grill. Separate the high heat fast-cooking ingredients from low and slow cooking ingredients so that everything is ready and hot at the same time.

  • Recipes:

    Alex Guarnaschelli's grilled hanger steak with salsa verde

    PHOTO: Grilled Hanger Steak with Salsa Verde
    Courtesy Alex Guarnaschelli
    Grilled Hanger Steak with Salsa Verde

    Steak, cooked to perfection and topped with a fresh salsa verde, is simple and has an impressive presentation.


    2 tablespoons Canola oil

    One 2-pound piece of hanger steak, trimmed of any sinew

    1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

    6 medium Brussels sprouts, minced

    1 tablespoon capers, coarsely chopped

    1 large clove garlic, minced

    1 tablespoon Dijon (smooth) mustard

    1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

    Kosher salt

    1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes


    Preheat and clean the grill.To make the salsa verde:

    In a large bowl, mix the parsley, Brussels sprouts, capers, garlic, mustard, vinegar, and olive oil with a generous pinch of salt and the red pepper flakes. Whisk to blend. Add the vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil.

    Whisk to blend. Taste for seasoning.

    Note: This salsa can be made the day before and left overnight to “rest” so the flavors meld together before serving.

    Season the steak salt and use a pair of metal tongs to gingerly place the steak on the hot grill. Cook over high heat, 3-4 minutes, without moving. Rotate the steak halfway and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Turn the steak over and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, longer if you want more cooked steak. Remove the steak and allow it to “rest” on a flat surface, 10 minutes. I count 8-10 minutes for medium rare, depending on thickness.

    Slice the steak and arrange on a platter with the salsa on top.

    Alex Guarnaschelli's grilled ginger chicken skewers

    PHOTO: Grilled Ginger Chicken Skewers
    Courtesy Alex Guarnaschelli
    Grilled Ginger Chicken Skewers

    Skewers make everything easier and are kid-friendly. Make it a group activity by enlisting helping hands to assemble the skewers.

    1 pound chicken tenders (about 8 pieces), cut into 11/2-2 inch pieces and skewered, 3-4 pieces per skewer
    Kosher salt
    1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    1 tablespoon grated ginger
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

    Preheat the grill.
    Make the ginger mix:
    In a small bowl, stir together the ginger, olive oil and cider vinegar. Coat the chicken liberally with the ginger.
    Place the chicken skewers on the hot part of the grill a few inches apart. Crowding them can prevent the meat from charring and browning as all the steam escapes from the meat as it cooks.
    Cook them on one side until nice and browned, 3-5 minutes, then turn on the second side and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes until cooked through. Remove them from the grill. (Serves 8)


    Celebrity chef Gordan Ramsay shares his top tips for grilling the best burgers.

    Check out his full recipe and burger-making secrets here.

    Food Network's grilled zucchini with basil vinaigrette.

    PHOTO: Whole Grilled Zucchini with Basil Vinaigrette.
    Food Network Kitchen
    Whole Grilled Zucchini with Basil Vinaigrette.

    2 medium zucchinis
    1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
    1/4 cup minced fresh chives
    Kosher salt


    Preheat an outdoor grill to medium heat.
    Put the zucchini on the grill and cover. Cook, turning every 5 minutes, until slightly charred all over and tender when poked with the tip of a paring knife, 15 20 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
    Meanwhile, combine the basil, oil, vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch slices, arrange on a plate, drizzle with the vinaigrette and sprinkle with the chives.
    Recipe reprinted courtesy of Food Network Kitchen.

    Charred Vegetables

    Peppers, onions and scallions are perfect veggies to toss on the grill and get a nice char on the skin and cook until tender. Add to salads, blend up in sauces or serve on their own as a side.

    Blistered peaches with honey

    PHOTO: Dan Churchill's grilled peaches with pepper honey and mint yogurt.
    Genius Kitchen
    Dan Churchill's grilled peaches with pepper honey and mint yogurt.

    Make something sweet with a healthy twist that will wow any crowd after an already impressive meal. Check out chef, cookbook author and "Feast with Friends" host Dan Churchill's recipe here.

    Editor's Note: This story was originally published on July 4, 2019.