When the temperature outside reaches 90°, the last thing you want to do is put more heat into the house with a 350° oven. Turn to cooking your meal outdoors. Whether you choose charcoal or gas, outdoor grills are an all-in-one kitchen. Sear up a steak for the main dish. Roast your corn on the grill or add grill marks to chopped radicchio for an interesting texture in your salad. Grilled fruit makes a sweet and smoky dessert.

The debate about what kind of grill to use — gas versus charcoal — is often more heated than the coals themselves. Gas grills offer quick lighting, good temperature control and even heating. Charcoal grills, on the other hand, give food a distinct flavor and a chance to turn a cookout (or regular weeknight meal) into an event with piling the charcoal and laying and lighting the fire. Of course, there are also indoor grills, which come in handy when the weather is bad.

No matter what kind of grill you choose, here are some safety tips from

• Grills should be placed in a clear area with little wind, which will help prevent fires and provide a more even temperature.

• Bring an additional platter to the grill for cooked food. Cooked meat should not be placed on a plate that held raw meat.

• Trimming the fat from meat and putting a drip pan with the coals can help prevent flare-ups.

• Utensils with long handles will help prevent burns to your hands.

• Rather than using lighter fluid, start new coals in a separate can or on heavy-duty aluminum foil, then use tongs to add them one at a time. This will help hold the grill's temperature for a longer time.

• Sauces should be basted on at the end of the cooking process.

• Spray peanut oil on the grate before lighting the grill. It won't burn off the grates and makes cleanup easier.

Grilled Bread Pudding with Fresh Fruit

2 ripe peaches, pitted and sliced

1 pint raspberries

2 T. light brown sugar, packed

1/2 loaf brioche (about 8 oz.)

2 cups half-and-half

2 cups heavy cream

1 pinch salt

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

6 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

Confectioners' sugar

Toss together peaches, raspberries and brown sugar. Set aside to macerate. Preheat grill. Slice bread. Arrange on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. In a saucepan, heat the half-and-half, cream, salt and vanilla bean over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When cream mixture reaches a fast simmer (do not let it boil), turn off the heat. Set aside to infuse 10 to 15 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and granulated sugar together. Whisking constantly, gradually add the hot cream mixture. Strain into a large shallow bowl to smooth the mixture and remove the vanilla bean. Dip the toasted bread slices into the custard, and let soak until absorbed. Fold the mixture occasionally to ensure even soaking. Transfer the slices to the grill and cook about 5 minutes on each side. Serve warm or chilled, dusted with confectioners' sugar.


Grilled Fruit Kebabs

2 lbs. assorted fruit (precut into chunks), such as pineapple, mango, cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon

1/2 cup light olive oil

Ice cream

8-inch wooden skewers

Submerge skewers in water for 10 to 12 minutes. This will keep them from burning when grilled. Preheat a grill pan over medium heat. Thread fruit onto skewer, alternating types of fruit for a colorful presentation; fill the skewer no more than halfway. With a pastry brush, paint the fruit with a light coating of oil. Place skewers, a few at a time, in the hot grill pan. Turn occasionally until you have grill marks on all sides of the fruit. Serve with ice cream, if desired.


Grilled Corn

8 ears of corn

Unsalted butter


Preheat grill. Peel away the outer husk without actually removing it, remove the inner silky threads, then wrap the outer husk back around the ear. Soak the ears in water for 10 minutes, place on the grill and grill for 15 to 20 minutes. Brush with butter and sprinkle with salt.


Grilled Potato Salad

4 large Yukon gold potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick

5 T. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 T. grill seasoning blend

2 T. rosemary leaves, stripped and chopped

2 navel oranges, peeled and chopped

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

4-5 cups arugula, chopped

2 T. red wine vinegar

Place potatoes in large bowl and toss with about 3 T. extra-virgin olive oil, grill seasoning and rosemary. Grill potatoes 4-5 minutes on each side. While the potatoes are cooking, combine oranges and red onion and dress with red wine vinegar and some extra-virgin olive oil. Remove the potatoes from the grill to the dressed oranges and onions, toss to coat. When you grill potatoes, they will be slightly drier than when you use other methods of cooking. By adding the potatoes to the dressing while they are hot, they really will soak in the dressing. When ready to serve, add the arugula to the potatoes and toss to distribute.


Grilled Pizza with Ricotta and Pesto

12 oz. pizza dough

Flour, for rolling surface

Extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup basil pesto

2 cups ricotta cheese, preferably whole milk

4 T. freshly grated Parmesan

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prepare a medium-hot fire in your grill, or heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium heat. Roll the pizza dough into 8 small pizzas, each about 1/8-inch thick and 3 inches round. Lightly brush both sides of the pizzas with oil. Grill the pizzas over medium heat until the first side is nicely browned and firm to the touch, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn the pizzas over on the grill. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of pesto on each pizza, spreading it to the edges. On top of each pizza, spoon 4 teaspoons of ricotta cheese, in little balls. Cook the pizzas until the ricotta just begins to melt, 3 to 5 minutes from the moment you turned the pizzas. Sprinkle Parmesan over the top of each pizza. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve warm.


Marinated Grilled Steak

1 1/2 lb. flank steak

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Ground black pepper

1 cup balsamic vinegar

2 T. butter

Trim steak of excess fat. Rub steak with garlic and pepper. Place steak into a glass baking dish and pour vinegar over steak. Marinate steak for 20-30 minutes, turning the steak every 10 minutes. Remove steak from marinade and pat dry with paper towel.

Grill or broil steak to desired degree of doneness. Pour marinade into a saucepan and simmer over medium high heat until the liquid is syrupy. Add cold butter to syrup and swirl to melt butter. Slice steak across the grain in thin slices and serve with balsamic sauce.


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