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100+ recipes for juicy grilled chicken, meats, fish, shellfish, veggies, and more

4 creative ways to grill

Take a grilled dinner party menu to a whole new level using a few unexpected tools


Prep & cooking tips
Photo by Lisa Romerein; written by Elaine Johnson

Prep & cooking tips

How to prep

You’ll look like a superchef (and have more bandwidth for guests) if you do all your prep for this meal before you fire up the grill. We’re assuming you’ll be using a standard gas grill—with a cooking grate about 1 1/2 by 2 ft.—or a 21-in. charcoal grill. If you have a bigger gas grill, you can cook some foods together to save time.

  • 2 hours before dinner is served: Start the bruschetta; serve it grill-side while you’re working on the next courses.
  • 1 hour and 15 minutes before dinner: Make the potato cake; when it’s done, keep it warm in the oven.
  • 20 minutes before dinner: Start grilling the chops. While they’re on, toss the salad. After dinner, cook dessert.
If you're using a charcoal grill

Here are a few tips for making these recipes work over a charcoal fire, which, of course, is trickier to control than a gas grill. We recommend using a grill thermometer (Dual Purpose Thermometer, $13;, so you can monitor the heat.

  • Cook the bruschetta on your first batch of coals.
  • Before you put the potatoes on, add 10 to 12 briquets; add another 10 to 12 halfway through cooking.
  • To cook the chops, build up the fire with about 30 briquets, then put the meat on.
  • When you sit down to eat the main course, add another 30 briquets to the fire—they’ll be the perfect temperature for dessert, which you can grill when everyone gets up to stretch their legs.


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