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BBQ ideas for a group

Josh Ozersky is a James Beard Award-winning food writer, B-list food personality, and noted polymath and deviant. The founder of Meatopia, he will answer all your questions on meat, food, food writing, relationships, restaurants, or cooking. He is also available for private tutorials.

I'm terrible at grilling everything but my wife doesn't seem to notice and makes me do it a lot. Can I get some help, here?
Jason Ballenger, Memphis, TN

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If you really hate it, Jason, just do it as badly as you can and she will relieve you of your duties soon enough; trust me, this trick always works, in all situations. But if you want to get better at it, I would suggest the following five-point plan and then point you to a book. You can also email me directly with any questions or problems you might be having. That's what I'm here for.

► Plan what you want to do ahead of time. No rushing or bugging out.

► Oil everything and shower it with kosher salt before you grill it.

► Get the grill good and hot. Don't move things around too much.

► Pay attention. Grilling is not like baking. You can't walk away.

► Make sure you tell your wife how good it is, and how pleased you are with it, when you do a good job. Even if she's totally indifferent to food, she likes you, and will care that you care. She may even pay attention to what she's eating.

Do all that, and buy a copy of BBQ 25, by Adam Perry Lang, which is a great introduction to grilling and barbecuing. You'll be fine.

I'm barbecuing this weekend, and my girlfriend's whole family is coming over, including all of her brothers. Can you give me a killer grilling move that will show everybody that I am the effing man? They are all total carnivores, and I don't think that just cooking burgers or even steak will really get me much "meat cred, " as you call it.
Vladimir Jankovic, South Bend, Indiana

Try this: burn some hardwood or lump charcoal down to gray embers, and then cook the meat directly on them. I did this last week with Alon Shaya at King and Duke in Atlanta with some leftover steak slices. It's amazing how much wood flavor you get into the meat, and, even more amazingly, how little ash sticks to it. If they aren't impressed by that, give up. Or bust out the meat glue.

What are your recommendations for grills in budget, intermediate and high-end categories?

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