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Grilling in the Park: How City Girls Can Barbecue

It’s no secret that I miss my grill from the suburbs. But even city dwellers have a couple options for achieving the authentic flavor of a BBQ dinner (including indoor grilling). Just because that grill isn’t on your back patio (if you have one), it doesn’t mean you can’t spend a sunny summer day grilling outdoors. We love living in Brooklyn, especially near the new Brooklyn Bridge Park — it’s an amazing public space that continues to get better every year. One recently opened feature is the Picnic Peninsula, which has a ton of hibachi-style grills and picnic tables. We’ve been trying to get there all season for a good old-fashioned city BBQ and finally made it happen this past week; the experience was one of our best this summer. I learned a few things my first time barbecuing on-the-go that you’ll want to keep in mind if you’re ready to plan your own city adventure.

Tinfoil to clean the grill
No need to invest in a grill-cleaning brush, especially if you don’t own a grill. But it is important to clean the grill before using it so that your food doesn’t taste like somebody else’s burned leftover bits. Try wadding up a piece of tinfoil and using tongs to scrape away any residue; you can also easily clean the grates by firmly swiping half an onion over them.

Charcoal chimney
A charcoal chimney is the easiest way to get your coals hot really fast. It’s a small tool that can be purchased for somewhere between $10 and $15, but it makes the process a breeze. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling like a BBQ-on-the-go professional when I set up my charcoal chimney. Such a cool tool is worth the small investment.

Easy-to-transport food
When it comes to the menu, keep it simple. The only prep I did was for my Marinated Veggie Kebabs, and everything else I grabbed at the farmers market: fresh corn on the cob, all-beef franks, hot dog buns, sodas and some delicious stone fruit. Everything should be easy to eat, too.

The best thing we had hands down was the skewers (and specifically the halloumi cheese on the skewers). Halloumi is a great ingredient for grilling because it’s one of the only varieties of cheese that can stand up to a grill. It tastes a bit like feta but has a more structure. When painted with olive oil and grilled, it gets charred on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside. We were all fighting over those last grilled cheese pieces!

While these tips were super helpful for my city BBQ, they also apply to beach picnicking. If the beach you’re headed to this weekend has community grills, take advantage of them and grill a delicious lunch or sunset dinner!

Get 100 ways to love summer, plus more grilling, side dish and picnic recipes and more from Cooking Channel.

Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes posts from Kelsey Nixon every Wednesday, and tune in to new episodes of Kelsey’s Essentials every Wednesday at 8pm ET on Cooking Channel. Find all the recipes from Kelsey’s Essentials here.

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