Eat & Drink

Grilling tips

Gauging grill temperatures

Most grilling recipes use terms such as “low,” “medium” or “high” heat rather than temperatures. The easiest way to judge grill temperature is to hold your hand 3 to 4 inches above the grate and start counting: “One Mississippi, two Mississippi,” and so on. The number you are at when the heat forces you to pull your hand away corresponds to the temperatures below:

2 to 3: High heat (450 to 650 degrees)

4: Medium-high (400 degrees)

5 to 6: Medium (325 to 350 degrees)

7 to 8: Medium-low (300 degrees)

9 to 12: Low (250 to 275 degrees)

Source: BBQ USA by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, 2003)

How to grill fish

Oil the grate using tongs holding a folded paper towel or crumpled ball of foil lightly coated with oil.

Marinate fish no longer than 30 minutes or it will get mushy.

Grill fish 10 minutes per inch of thickness

Source: Karen Adler and Judith M. Fertig, authors of Fish Shellfish Grilled Smoked (Harvard Common Press, $16)

Right-size tools

Stephanie Wilson of Kansas City, co-founder of the Slabs competitive barbecue team (, says it’s important to choose tools that are not too heavy. You need to be able to maneuver food around, and if tools are too heavy you can’t control them properly.

Also, make sure handles on tongs, spatula and the grill brush are long enough to keep your hands away from the hot coals.

Wooden handles are best, Wilson says, because they stay cool.

(The rosewood-handled tools pictured cost $15 each at Halls Crown Center.)