Grilling Glossary
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Grilling Glossary

Learn the lingo of a true grill master with this guide to grilling terms and techniques.

Baste, Brochette

Baste: To brush a seasoned liquid on a food to add moisture and flavor.

Brochette: The French term for kabob, or food cooked on a skewer.

Ceramic briquettes, Charcoal briquettes

Ceramic briquettes: Radiant materials compacted into a brick shape; used in gas grills. Ceramic briquettes don't burn completely like charcoal. Lava rocks and metal plates are similar alternatives.

Charcoal briquettes: Compacted ground charcoal, coal dust, and starch used as fuel in charcoal grills.

Charcoal grate, Chimney starter

Charcoal grate: The rack that holds charcoal in the firebox.

Chimney starter: A metal cylinder that holds hot coals, used for starting a fire.

Direct grilling, Drip pan

Direct grilling: A method of quickly cooking food by placing it on a grill rack directly over the heat source. Food is often cooked uncovered on a charcoal grill but covered on a gas grill.

Drip pan: A metal or disposable foil pan placed under food to catch drippings when grilling. A drip pan can also be made from heavy foil.

Dry smoking, Firebox

Dry smoking: A method of cooking food by placing it on a grill rack indirectly over the heat source with the lid down and vents adjusted. This allows the fire to burn, which creates smoke.

Firebox: The bottom of the grill that holds the fire or heat.

Flare-ups, Glaze

Flare-ups: Flames caused by fat dripping onto hot coals or lava rocks.

Glaze: To form a glossy, flavorful coating on food as it cooks, usually by basting it.

Grill basket, Grill rack

Grill basket: A hinged wire basket that is used to hold foods for grilling.

Grill rack: The latticework of metal rods that holds food on a grill; sometimes referred to as a grill grate or grid.

Grill wok, Indirect grilling

Grill wok: A large skillet made specifically for grilling. With its sloped sides and numerous small holes, it makes small pieces of vegetables, meat, or seafood easy to stir-fry on the grill.

Indirect grilling: A method of grilling slowly, to one side of the heat source, over a drip pan in a covered grill.

Kabobs, Kettle grill

Kabobs: Pieces of meat, poultry, seafood, and/or vegetables, threaded on a skewer and grilled.

Kettle grill: A round charcoal grill with a heavy cover. It usually stands on three legs and can be used for either direct or indirect grilling.

Lava rock, Marinate

Lava rock: This natural rock results from volcanic lava and is used as an alternative to ceramic briquettes in gas grills. It can be used many times, but eventually needs to be replaced.

Marinate: To steep food in a liquid mixture before it is cooked. Marinades add flavor to foods and tenderize certain cuts of meat.

Medium doneness, Medium-rare doneness

Medium doneness: For this doneness, the center of the meat should have a slightly pink to red color. The meat will be slightly firm and springy when pressed.

Medium-rare doneness: For this doneness, the center of the meat should have a bright red color and be slightly springy when pressed. This doneness is not recommended for veal, pork, or ground meats.

Medium-well doneness, Mop

Medium-well doneness: For this doneness, the center of the meat should have very little pink color and be firm and springy when pressed.

Mop: A mop is a thin liquid mixture made with spices or herbs to add moisture and flavor to foods while they cook.

Rotisserie, Rub

Rotisserie: The spit or long metal skewer that suspends and rotates food over the grill's meat source.

Rub: A blend of seasonings rubbed onto a food surface before grilling.

Skewer, Smoker box

Skewer: A long, narrow metal or wooden stick inserted through pieces of meat or vegetables for grilling.

Smoker box: A small perforated metal container placed on a gas grill's lava rocks or ceramic briquettes, or the grill rack of a charcoal grill, to hold wood chips and provide smoke.

Vents, Wood chips and chunks

Vents: Holes in a grill cover or firebox. When open, air circulates through, increasing the heat of a fire.

Wood chips and chunks: Natural wood materials added to a fire to impart a smoky flavor to food as it cooks. The chips are soaked in water, drained well, and added to a fire just before the food is put on the grill.

Originally published on, May 2008.