Celebrate the longest tradition in human cooking history. Grilling was first mastered more than 100,000 years ago when early hunters and gatherers roasted meat (and possibly veggies) over hot embers of wood and charcoal. Even today, barbecuing is still considered America's favorite way to cook during the summer months — which some say is year-round in Southern California. Grilling a variety of meats and vegetables is easy and versatile, and there’s no question that the subtle smoky smells add both flavor and character to any dish.

Getting Started

Open vents in the bottom of the grill. Place charcoal briquettes on an area equal to the space the food will occupy, with an additional 2 inches on all sides. Liquid starter, solid fuel blocks, and electric charcoal starters are some of the methods you can use to start your barbecue. When the coals are ash covered and no longer flaming (about 30-45 minutes), spread them in a single layer, keeping them close together to keep them hot. For subtle flavor, consider adding water soaked hardwood chips directly to the charcoal fire, or place some moistened sprigs of herbs directly on the coals or on the grill near the food.

Coal Temperature Guide

HOT - Coals are barely covered with gray ash

MEDIUM - Coals glow through layers of gray ash

LOW - Coals are covered with a thick layer of gray ash


Marinades add unique flavors and textures to grilled meat. A marinade is a highly seasoned liquid used to give flavor, and in some cases tenderize tough cuts of beef. Marinades usually consist of liquid such as water, fruit or vegetable juice, or oil, which is combined with seasonings and herbs

For tenderization, meats need to be marinated for at least 6-8 hours. For flavor, marinate meat for at least 15 minutes or longer.

Allow ¼ to ½ cup marinade for each 1 to 2 lbs. of meat.

Always marinate in the refrigerator.

When basting the meat with a sauce, brush on during the last few minutes of grilling to prevent it from burning.