Getting Fired Up for the Weekend

More than half of grilled America likes the same old stuff on those grates year after year, as Candy Sagon reported this week. It's all about dogs, burgers and steaks.

John O'Donnel grills
My father, John O'Donnel, all decked out for grilling, circa 1968.

I've got a proposition for you: Let's give some love to the jewels of the sea, which are simpler to prepare than you think.

Here are three easy ways to approach seafood -- even at the last minute -- on the grill this weekend:

Here are three easy ways to approach seafood -- even at the last minute -- on the grill this weekend:

1) Consider the grill basket, available in a variety of sizes, whether you're taking on a whole fish or a large steaky hunk of halibut or mahi mahi.

Preparation doesn't need fancy flavors; in fact, sometimes, salt, pepper and olive oil is all you need. Herbs stuffed inside a whole fish impart lovely flavor (check video link above) as do fennel and leeks.

Whatever you do, it's a good idea to grease the basket exterior, be it oil from a spray can or using a brush. This helps minimize sticking.

2) For shrimp or fish kebabs, skewers are the way to go.
What's the difference between wooden or metal skewers? It doesn't really matter, so go with what makes you happy. Wooden skewers need to soak in water for about 30 minutes before using, though, so they don't catch on fire while cooking.

3) Plank it
Grill salmon the way it's done in wild salmon country (Pacific Northwest and Alaska), using a wooden plank. It's as simple as getting your hands on an untreated piece of cedar, alder or oak, which are sold at your local hardware store, cookware stores, and now even the supermarket.

Little seasoning adornment is necessary, as the wood lends intense flavor to the fish. To keep from catching fire, the plank needs about 1 hour of water-soaking time and gets placed over indirect heat on the grill.

I plan to experiment with my new plank next week, with a full report, but for now, check out the basics of fish planking in a video from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (QuickTime player required).

Grill Gadgets: Are They Worth it?

Have a look at some of the latest toys for the grill, in an
interactive guide
from last week's Sunday Source. I'm digging the curved kebab skewer, which looks like fun for guests.

Otherwise, I'm not big on buying tools I don't need. I like having a few pairs of tongs (but please, not the extra long kind that always seem to twirled by men..I know, I'll probably get raked over the coals for that one...oh, sorry for the grill pun...) and one of those silicone brushes for a final touch of extra marinade. Compared to those old-style pastry brushes which tend to get caked up with marinade, the silicone brushes wash really well.

So, tell me, What are some of your tried-and-true grill gadgets? Share in the comments area below.


Getting Fired Up

If you're keen to expand your grilled horizons, take a look at a fun piece that ran last year in New York magazine. Featuring grilling menus from seven different countries, it's a global guide for getting your grill on. Check it out for ideas for inspiration.


And now it's time for a little grilling trivia....Drum roll, please...

How many U.S. households own a grill?

81 percent

And by the way, are there really people out there who aren't satisfied with just one grill?

That would be 22 percent of all grill owners.

How often does a typical griller grill during the summer?

A whopping 22 times

Gas or charcoal - which is more popular?

65 percent of grill owners have a gas grill ; 37 percent do the charcoal thing.

And the one burning question everyone wants to know - who does more grilling, Brutus or Olive Oyl?

Brutus remains the keeper of the flames (62 percent men vs. 35 percent women).


Source: Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, State of the Barbecue Industry report, 2005


Have a delicious weekend!

By Kim ODonnel |  June 2, 2006; 10:08 AM ET Flames
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More pics please.

Posted by: Ms. B | June 4, 2006 6:48 PM

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