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Ready, Set, Grill  
By Dian Thomas

If you have lived in the Snow Belt, you are most likely ready to get out the grill and fire it up for some delicious meals. Whether you grill meat or vegetables or even pineapple, you can't go wrong. Here you will learn some of your options so that as soon as it warms up you can clean off your grill or pick up one that will have you saying, “Ready, set let's grill!”

There are a variety of commercial grills available for the would-be outdoor chef, and that's what most people turn to when they are ready to do some outdoor dining. There are many different grills to choose from, probably the most popular being the gas grill. But don't let that make your decision for you; with a little bit of reading you should be able to find the grill that will precisely suit your needs.

And if you're on a tight budget, don't worry. We'll also show you how you can improvise with some common household items and create your own grill.

Hibachi

A hibachi is a small charcoal grill, and its size is its biggest advantage. Because it's so small, the hibachi will allow you to grill on your patio, at the beach or in the woods. Most hibachis are made of cast iron. They come in various sizes so you can determine just how much room you'll need to do the kind of cooking you plan. But keep in mind that because of the hibachi's small size, meals will be limited to a few people.

Open Brazier

The open brazier is a very popular type of commercial cooker consisting of a grill suspended over a shallow bowl for coals. It can be found in several sizes, is usually lightweight, and has wheels on the legs for easy moving. You'll want to look for one that allows you to move the grill up and down to regulate the heat.

You'll find it is excellent for cooking flat pieces of meat such as hamburgers, fish, chicken and steaks.

Kettle Grill

This grill allows the chef to barbecue larger pieces of food than other charcoal grills; in fact, the lid allows it to function much like an oven. Dampers on the top and bottom of a kettle grill can be opened to raise the temperature of the grill or closed to lower it. Cooking with the lid on gives a more uniform temperature and cooks food much like a Dutch oven would.

Gas Grill

Gas grills are quickly gaining popularity because of their convenience. The gas grill eliminates the need to build a fire and the need to wait for the coals to heat up before you cook anything. That means you can start barbecuing just minutes after you turn it on.

Gas grills have the advantage of easily controllable, consistent heat which makes cooking easier. And because they don't use charcoal, there isn't any mess to clean up. The most common units use bottled gas; others use natural gas. While most gas grills are large patio units, there are portable units available as well. A gas grill generally costs more than other units, but if it is used frequently, the cost will even out.

“Fried” Chicken Fingers

Here's a “fried” favorite that is actually cooked on a grill. This makes for a healthier meal without losing any of the flavor.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder, optional
4 to 5 chicken breasts, skinned, boned and cut into strips (called “chicken tenders”)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
In a paper sack or 1-gallon plastic self-sealing bag, add flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Dredge chicken in seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Dip chicken pieces in beaten eggs, one at a time, then coat with bread crumbs. Shake off excess.

Heat the grill and brush with oil. When hot, place chicken fingers on grill and cook 5 to 8 minutes, until golden brown on each side. If pieces are too small and grill slots too wide, place a strip of pierced, oiled foil on the hot grill and lay chicken on the foil to cook Serves 4 to 6.

   
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