Our advice? Go easy on the salt and heat.
PORK RIBS: 1 tbsp each smoked and sweet paprika, brown sugar; 1 tsp each salt, onion powder, dry mustard, cayenne, cumin.
ELK TENDERLOIN: 1 tbsp each juniper berries, dried sage leaves; 1/2 tbsp peppercorns; grind all.
LEG OF LAMB: Steve Raichlen's Mediterranean Barbecue Rub (4 oz, $13; grilling4all.com) is a primo ready-made.
The only bad thing about grilled fish is grilling the fish. It tends to stick, fall apart, and generally ruin your best taco intentions. The solution? Cut a lime, an orange, and an onion in half and rub them over the grill. That's Mark Alberto's secret. And the owner of Sayulita Fish Taco, in mainland Mexico's trendiest surf town, may be better at it than anyone else on the Pacific coast. Brush the fish with a mix of olive oil, fresh garlic, onion powder, cilantro, serrano chile, and a dash of salt and grill over medium heat. "Well-cooked fish looks opaque and should be moist," says Alberto. "It should have just lost its translucency." Finish the tacos with cabbage, mango salsa, and two lime wedges. "Sounds so good," Alberto says. "I'm heading out now to make three or four."
No More Kebab
Fruits and vegetables cook at different rates, so grilling on a skewer will leave you with pulpous tomato and raw pineapple. Instead, use low heat and follow these directions. VEGETABLES: Slice firm stuff into large, flat pieces about half an inch thick, brush with olive oil, and throw directly on the grate, about five minutes per side. Grill tomatoes whole, two to three minutes. FRUIT: Slice firm items like pineapples half an inch thick, brush with butter, and grill five minutes per side. For softer fruits, like bananas, go with slightly underripe and grill entire halves.
Cart + Drum = Awesome
With modern grills reaching NASA-level complexity, there was bound to be an engineering backlash. You're looking at it: This 55-gallon-drum-and-shopping-cart cooker will feed a crowd and showcase your handiness. Here's how we made ours.
1. Cut the basket off the cart and halve the oil drum with a plasma torch. (Every man should own one.)
2. Use the mesh from the basket to create a coal bed, grilling surface, and all-important bun warmer.
3. Are you kidding? Call a pro welder, like we did. Watch our video of the process at outsideonline.com/grill.
Tips from Kansas barbecue legend Jeff Stehney, whose restaurant, Oklahoma Joe's, is always full, despite being located in a gas station:
1. 200275 degrees.
2. You want to smoke the tough, fatty muscles. Use brisket and ribs, not chicken breast or steak.
3. Barbecue sauce is a condiment, not an ingredient.
4. Wood chunks are better than chips. Use them, especially mesquite, sparingly. And if a tree bears fruit, you can smoke with its wood.