Chicago Tribune

How to grill steak to perfection — it's all about controlling the heat

Steak on the grill ranks as one of the best summertime meals ever. Heck, best meal ever, anytime, when cooked to perfection.

Learning to grill a steak perfectly takes practice, but it's worthwhile. I believe that if you can cook a steak, you can tackle nearly everything that cooks quickly on a grill - from beef steaks to chops, chicken, seafood and many vegetables.

Heat modulation proves the secret to good grilling: Use enough for flavor, perfect texture and browning, but not so much that food tastes burnt or acrid. Restaurant chefs, especially those who work over live fire, spend hours honing their skills. Most of us spend just a few minutes over the weekend tinkering with the grill. This season, if you do nothing else to improve your cooking, make setting up the grill properly your first objective.

For most quick-cooking cuts of meat, poultry, fish and vegetables, the best grilling is done by centering the food directly over the heat source - a method known as "direct grilling."

If you cook over charcoal, heat the coals with a chimney starter or electric starter. You'll need roughly 3 dozen coals to cook over medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes. After the coals

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