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Plan the Perfect Barbecue

Chef and restaurateur Frank Ostini teaches a “BBQ Bootcamp” in California for wannabe grill masters. He shares his secrets for grilling up a great summer barbecue.

Yes, you should prep all your veggies. Chopping, steaming and boiling can all be done ahead of time. The veggies can be grilled early and kept warm in a 200-degree oven. But, most importantly, grill your meat last.

You may need to create a checklist. Do you need to buy ice? Do you have extra space in the refrigerator or enough cooler space? Most importantly, make sure the drinks you’re serving are at the right temperature when guests arrive.

Be sure your grill is clean. Burn off old grease with a new fire, scrape it with a wire brush and re-season the grill with fat or oil. It’s important to have a hot bed of coals or wood fire—which can take 30 minutes to heat up. Using gas? Make sure you have enough.

Baste your food while grilling, or marinate it overnight, but season as you grill. A basic seasoning mix is: two parts black pepper, one part onion powder, two parts white pepper, five parts granulated garlic, two parts cayenne pepper and five parts salt.

Remember that grilling is a very simple operation. It’s important to start by using high-quality ingredients, and with a little ingenuity, you can grill almost anything.

Plan the Perfect Barbecue
Tip

When planning your barbecue, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommends not mowing your lawn the day of the party—it can stir up pollen. Check the pollen count the day of your party: You’ll find ZYRTEC®’s forecast tool here.

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