My Grilling Set-Up – and a Weber giveaway!

My cooking takes a delicious turn in summer, moving from the Simple Bites kitchen to the backyard patio and the charcoal grill.

The patio is shady in the afternoon, and leads onto our sprawling back lawn where the kids play. I love being able to simultaneously grill dinner and jump in on their games, whether we’re tossing a football or slinging a frisbee.

When cooking out of doors, fresh herbs are within reach for meals like Sage-Scented Chicken with Grilled Lemon. The overflowing garden inspires dishes such as Grilled Zucchini Salad with Feta-Mint Dressing and Spinach Salad with Grilled Strawberries, Asparagus and Walnuts.

Today, I’m sharing my charcoal grilling set up and the outdoor kitchen space I frequent from May through October. Be sure to read all the way to the end for a Weber giveaway you won’t want to miss.

My Patio Grilling Set-Up

A Weber charcoal grill and a small outdoor workspace are all I use for grilling up a storm all summer long. I’ve seen those impressive outdoor kitchens, with the built in mini fridge and pizza oven, but I like my simple set-up.

I’ve organized a small outdoor kitchen around a salvaged enamelware sink with a reclaimed barn wood frame (that was a DIY project of summer’s past).  It’s a dry sink, meaning it’s not hooked up to plumbing, but it’s still great for washing veg and prep work. Any small table near the barbecue would work, however, so long as you have a place to set your marinades, seasonings and a few tools.

I keep pots of herbs on the sink so I remember to finish my dishes with torn basil or a sprinkling of mint. A few fresh herbs elevates grilled meats and fish, salads and sides, and adds an extra perfume to summer cocktails as well.

All images by Alison Slattery

Cooking with Live Fire

I’ve tried a few different barbecues and gas grills and find that I am truly happiest when I’m cooking over live fire. This must stem from my obsession with campfire cooking.

The charcoal grill is decidedly more domestic than an open campfire, but requires more effort than turning a knob on a gas grill. Personally, I love puttering around a grill and maneuvering the coals to get the right amount of heat.

My grilling equipment:

Grilling extras: Cedar Planks, Metal Skewers, Basting Brush, Meat Thermometer, Premium Grill Cover. These are nice to have, but not essential.

The Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter is really what turns up the heat in a short amount of time. It’s designed to quickly produce hot coals for cooking and is where I start the fire every time. Once the edges of the charcoal start to turn white – and the chimney interior glows red hot – I transfer them into the two char baskets to hold the embers.

The chimney also helps me eyeball how much charcoal to use. Filled to the top, it provides enough coals for me to grill an average family meal.

Lump charcoal or briquettes? Hardwood briquettes or Kingsford? This is something you’ll have to play around with to see what you like. Briquettes do burn longer than lump charcoal, but most of the time I am doing a quick grill (boneless chicken, fish, vegetables…) and don’t need much more than 20 minutes of fire.

I use mainly lump charcoal, which gives the food that fantastic clean wood aroma so desirable in live fire grilling.

I won’t get into the two-zone fire, measuring heat, tending the coals or any of the other live fire grilling tips and techniques because this post is just about my tools and equipment. Should you wish to learn more, however, I highly recommend Weber’s Charcoal Grilling: The Art of Cooking with Live Fire.

Grilling is such serious business, apparently! Really, though, if you want to get serious about grilling over charcoal, leave me a comment and ask your questions. If you like to putter in the kitchen, perhaps with a summer canning project or an epic baking bonanza, chances are you’ll also love perfecting the art of grilling.

Chicken kebabs, fresh Quebec corn, garden vegetables, and yes, even a wheel of Brie – throw it all on the grill and cook up a feast. Serve this with a pitcher of sangria or my raspberry rhubarb party punch and you’re all set.

The best part of life-fire grilling? When it’s over and we are sitting down around the table with friends, passing platters heaped with simple grilled food. For me, this is the highlight of summertime living. Psst! Watch for a few of these recipes to come soon to this space! Trust me, I wouldn’t leave you without the recipe for those grilled chicken and peach kebabs.


Thanks to my friends at Weber Canada I have an amazing giveaway today for my Canadian readers.

** This giveaway has ended. Congratulations to Cynthia G of Victoria, BC. A bit thanks to all who entered.**

One Canadian will win a Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill 22″! It’s exactly what I use, just a wee bit smaller (I rock the 26″) and you are going to love this beauty!

Guess what? The winner may pick the colour of the grill – choose between copper, green, crimson and black – and then it will be shipped straight to your door.

To Enter: Leave a comment on this post and tell me what is your favourite grilled meal to enjoy during the summer months.

Giveaway ends Tuesday, July 17 at 12PM EST. Winner will be selected at random and announced here on this post.. Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only.

Good luck to all!

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Leanna H says

    Cheeseburgers and grilled veggies.

  2. Grilled salad medley – zucchini coins, asparagus spears, small mushrooms, red onion and orange pepper finished with lemon, olive oil and fresh herbs along side Grilled Peach BBQ Saice and Pork loin.
    End the meal with grilled pineapple and homemade ice cream.

  3. My favorites to grill are, salmon. filet mignon and grilled veggies.

  4. I love making grilled veggies like zucchini and bok choi, with my favourite cedar planked salmon! P.s thanks for the giveaway opportunity Aimee and Weber Canada!

  5. I love grilled pork chops. Soooo delicious when their thick and juicy.

  6. I raise my own chicken, so that’s what I love to grill. You can do so many variations.

  7. I love grilling satay…chicken, beef and pork….served with peanut sauce.

  8. Adam Leroux says

    Grilled chicken and veggie skewers are our favourite! I wish BBQ season was year round.

  9. anything that comes off a charcoal grill is fantastic. I love kababs with roasted charred pepper onion and tomato salad.

  10. Linda Murray says

    Just discovered smash burgers and always love grilling vegetables on the bbq. BBQing seems to bring out the best flavours in home cooking and we love it so much .

  11. Steak with red peppers and zucchini on the side

  12. Kimberly says

    Love grilling veggies but the family favorite are kebobs – scallops and/or prawns with red onion and cherry tomatoes – Yum! Also love grilled fresh pineapple – great dessert. Cheers:)

  13. josianne wilson says

    there is nothing better than grilling fresh salmon with shrimp and then what is there to say about a grilled chicken!!!

  14. Chicken hearts brochette dosed in a fresh chimichurri sauce.

  15. Love everything cooked on a bbq!! Charcoal grilling certainly throws it back to my childhood. I’ve been meaning to gear up to get back to it. This would be a sweet win!

  16. Janice Toutant says

    Love polish kielbasa, summer squash, and potatoes grilled together.

  17. I love a big fat juicy grilled steak!

  18. Grilled veggies and marinated pork tenderloin, and I really want to try a grilled pizza!

  19. I really love grilled maple salmon. Also, pork chops for some reason! I have so much to learn about grilling!

  20. Grilled vegetables mmmmm And grilled salmon with maple glaze! Our barbecue « died » this spring…. it’s been so long since I’ve grilled anything at all! ???

  21. With an out of commission BBQ, I am missing the grill when it comes to my ginger lime chicken thighs with cilantro. So delish!!

  22. Catherine says

    I love grilling just about everything, but my very favourite might be simply grilled bread. I’ve been thinking about switching to a charcoal grill recently, thanks for the great post!

  23. I love grilling veggies and chicken souvlaki. Also love pizza on the grill.

  24. Aimee, you know I’ve gotta work on my grilling game! I’ve been trying to grill more regularly this summer and our current favorites are salmon and pork fillet. I love grilling asparagus and corn too! I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed to win that cool Weber grill because we need to upgrade ours, too!

  25. I enjoy grilling chicken to top a spinach salad with fruit.

  26. You can’t beat a great grilled burger in my opinion. Runner up would be salmon filets.

  27. Grilled homemade burgers with the bun and veg toppings grilled right alongside them. Also grilled sliced zucchini finished with balsamic. Grilled fruit skewers are on my list to try this year! Outdoor cooking is such a great way to switch up meals.

  28. Jennifer Taylor says

    Pork butt – low and slow! Or pizza!

  29. My favourite thing to grill is veggies and chicken kebabs and half an avocado with olive oil and salt and pepper!

  30. Tracy Dowds says

    Grilled halloumi skewers with vegetables!

  31. Andrea R says

    I love grilled kebabs and potatoes!

  32. A whole head of cauliflower and tofu steaks!

  33. Right now it’s grilled wild salmon with baby potatoes and zucchini strips right out of the garden!

  34. Pizza is the meal my family looks forward to most during grill season ! Probably because mom cooking pizza in five minutes is a quite the show. We laugh. We learn. We feast. It’s beautiful.

  35. I love making Greek style shish kebab, I just skewer the chicken and put veggies like onion, cherry tomatoes, zucchini in a grill basket (to reduce the prep of skewering everything), lightly grill the pitas and serve with homemade tzatziki. Our gas grill was spent 2 summers ago and we’ve been grilling on a camp fire since. Would love to try a charcoal grill, it’s much easier to cook when you don’t have to bend over to cook at ground level. Looking forward to some of your grilling recipes- I love the simplicity of summer meals, cooking outside and plucking edibles straight out of the garden.

  36. I love grilling chicken satay, steaks and fish. Gas grills are easier, but charcoal tastes better in my opinion.

  37. Turkey burgers and grilled veggies.

  38. A standard in our household is marinating a mixture of grilled vegetables, whatever you have. I put a splash or two of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I pair this with pork shishkabobs. I have a simple Chinese five spice and hoisin sauce mixture and voila! Add garlic bread, grilled naan or not. The good thing is my 2 year old loves the meal as much as we do! I pre cut the pork tenderloin in 1 inch cubes and freeze equally sized bags according to my recipe. This makes for fast prep.

  39. Allison MacDonald says

    That grill is a beauty! My favourite thing to grill are skewers with a variety of marinated meats and veggies. You can do such a lovely variety so there’s something for everyone. And my vegan sister can enjoy veggie skewers so she’s not left out! 🙂

  40. Anne Marie says

    Marinated flank steak with a ginger garlic soy marinade. So good! Love the crispy end bits you get. And grilled veggies, particularly peppers.

  41. I enjoy grilled bell peppers in the summer.

  42. Cheeseburgers, corn, garlic scapes and onions for grilly goodness!

  43. Steak is always my favourite

  44. Kimberley says

    I make a grilled tomato, nectarine and corn salad with a basil lemon vinaigrette! (So lovely with grilled shrimp!)

  45. Jennifer Culek says

    I do everything from burgers to whole chickens.

  46. Alicia V says

    We love veggies grilled on the bbq.

  47. I love to grill veggies and add feta to them warm with a simple balsamic reduction and a few herbs. Delish!

  48. Stary Cook says

    Nothing better than grilled foods.
    My favorite is Pork chops, corn on cob or hamburger.

  49. Saniel Underwood says

    Read all through blog post only to find out only open to Canadian residents. Oh well good info on grills

  50. I love BBQing chicken with my family’s marinade, and veggies as well.

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