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12 ways to prepare the perfect barbecue

One of the joys of summer is firing up the grill and enjoying the warmth of cooking outside. We have recipes for that.

Here are 12 of our favorite grilling techniques and tips for hosting the perfect barbecue, whether you’re a grilling expert or just getting started.

How to Grill a Pizza

Almost nothing handles the job of making pizza at home quite as perfectly as a grill-safe pizza stone blown onto the surface of your grill.

With a grill-safe pizza stone, you can get that charred, crispy crust you usually only get with professional pizza ovens. A closed grill lid helps replicate the ambient heat of a real pizza oven and brings you the magic of cheese just browned and bubbling. The relative accuracy of a gas grill means it is better suited to this task than charcoal. Here’s our ultimate guide to making the perfect pizza on the grill every time.

Prepare the perfect Juicy Lucy Burger

Smashburgers. Fancy thick burgers. Bacon burgers. The variations of burgers are endless. But you can’t beat a Juicy Lucy burger for its messy and delicious simplicity.

Minnesota has the tip of the hat for creating this genius burger hack: stuff and cook the cheese right inside the beef, and you’re left with the ultimate gooey cheeseburger.

But although the recipe is simple – beef, salt, pepper and cheese – it takes some time to master the technique. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll reach burger nirvana. Here’s how.

How to grill lettuce, fruit

How to grill your lettuce

Although the overwhelming majority of grilling cookbooks feature tight shots of glistening meat on their covers, you don’t need to limit your outdoor cooking to carnivorous activities. You can also use your grill to add flavor to vegetables, fruits, and even your favorite cocktail. Here’s how.

Prepare the perfect grilled salad

This recipe started like many other great dishes: by accident.

We were shooting two separate food videos for Southern Kitchen’s social sites. (Did you know you can follow us on TikTok?) While filming, I realized that the two recipes I was making – grilled Caesar salad and chimichurri shrimp skewers – would be a perfect pairing if put together. Even better, you can do it almost entirely on your grill. Here’s how.

How to Toss an Oyster Roast

Seafood roasts are part of the landscape when you live near water. But away from coastal regions, these large format celebrations are less common. It’s time to change that.

Few meals can boast the relaxed conviviality of a classic oyster roast or crab boil. It’s joyful and messy work, taken together in pursuit of delicious oceanic morsels. And there is almost always beer.

Oyster roasts, which require no claw snapping or tearing, are probably the most civilized seafood feast. The grill does most of the work. Your only job is to eat. Here’s how to throw yours away.

Chicken under a brick

A whole chicken, cooked until juicy and crispy-skinned, deserves a place among the best comfort foods in the world.

A hot grill can crisp a skin well, and a spoon or butterfly chicken "under a brick," reduces cooking time and helps your bird roast more evenly.

A hot grill can crisp a skin well, and a spoon or butterfly chicken “under a brick” reduces cooking time and helps your bird roast more evenly. No more dry breasts.

Baking a chicken under a brick means weighing it down so that the body is relatively flat. While you can use literal bricks (wrapped in foil, please), we prefer using a clean, heavy skillet. Here’s how.

Grilled Mexican Street Corn

Popular in Mexico City, this grilled corn on the cob gets its richness from a mayonnaise coating, which helps the salty cotija cheese stick to the surface of the cob.

Grilled Mexican Street Corn

It’s perfect for a side dish as is, but you can also chop the kernels off the cob, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, and use the resulting salad as a topping for hot dogs or tacos. Get the recipe here

How to make braaibroodjie

Braaibroodjie is South Africa’s answer to the grilled cheese sandwich. The name roughly translates to small barbecue sandwiches. During a traditional braai, they are grilled over an open fire and served at the end of the meal.

Any white bread, especially a small, square one, will work. We recommend Mrs. HS Ball’s Chutney in any flavor, including peach, for the spread. Get the technique.

Grilled eggplant salad

If you’re growing eggplants this year, chances are they’ll start fruiting. Chances are you’re also wondering what to do with all those eggplants.

Salad of grilled eggplant and summer figs

Wonder no more. Eggplant is surprisingly versatile, but we think it’s best suited to high-heat preparations. Roasting the eggplant directly over the embers until it crumbles into a smoky sweetness is a pro move. Master this technique, and you are almost on your way to baba ganoush.

We also love this grilled eggplant salad with summer figs, which can be made vegetarian by skipping the ham. Get the recipe.

Nopales cooking over high heat in Oaxaca.

Grilled salsa and nopales

Want an authentic flavor of Oaxaca this weekend? Try these recipes for grilled salsa roja or nopales, which are an integral part of any true Mexican barbecue, according to recipe developer and chef Luis Martinez. Get the recipes here.

How to Grill Tomatoes

The natural sugars in tomatoes caramelize beautifully on a hot grill. Add a hint of grill smoke and you’re in umami heaven.

Medium-sized tomatoes like roma, cut in half, hold together best. Toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and grill them on a well-oiled medium grill. Use a metal spatula to gently flip them over.

Arrange the grilled tomatoes on a platter and sprinkle them with fresh herbs, feta and a little balsamic. Or blend them in a food processor with roasted garlic, chipotle, cilantro and lime juice for a delicious salsa. Find more cooking techniques here.

Mackensy Lunsford is the Food and Culture Storyteller for the USA TODAY Network’s Southern Region and the Editor-in-Chief of Southern Kitchen.

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