Gas or Charcoal? Beef, Chicken, or Seafood? It’s Grilling Season

One of the things I love about grilling is its simplicity. Preheat, cook, enjoy, with very little cleanup. And then there’s the fun factor.

Folks who say they don’t like to cook often say they love to grill.

Is it the live fire, the sizzle as meat or seafood hits the hot grate, the pleasant smoky aromas, standing outdoors with a cold drink in one hand and a set of tongs in the other, or a feeling of freedom that comes with cooking in a place other than the kitchen?

It’s probably a bit of each, but one thing is certain – grilling season arrives with the summer.

To my Dad, grilling was pretty much a year-round affair. I can still recall watching him stand outside on our back deck in the snow, wearing a heavy coat, fur hat, and leather driving gloves, carefully monitoring a thick, juicy steak on the grill.

Like father, like daughter, I’ve done a bit of wintertime grilling in the snow, but it’s in June that Randy and I bring out the grills and set them up for the summer.

Folks who say they don’t like to cook often say they love to grill.

My first grilling experience was using a tiny hibachi grill on my apartment deck when I was in nursing school. After a hard week of studies and clinical rotations, grilling a steak or chops over a charcoal fire was relaxing.

Years later, I still feel that way each time I light the charcoal in our large Weber grill or preheat one of our gas grills.

Outdoor cooking continues to evolve and home cooks have tremendous choice in cooking methods. The invention of the Weber grill in 1952 by George Stephen was only the beginning of what has now become a race-to-the-grill. After portable gas grills were introduced, home cooks could choose quick convenience over charcoal flavor, and for years, gas grills seemed to dominate the market, especially as outdoor kitchens became popular.

The Green Egg challenged that trend when cooks once again embraced charcoal grilling, but now the pendulum is swinging back as new brands such as Hestan introduce high-end gas grills with dual fuel gas ranges in stylish colors.

But, no matter which cooking method one prefers, summer’s grilling season has arrived. Grill masters rejoice!

For a quick dinner after a day of summertime fun or when gathering in the backyard with family and friends, my savory recipe for Beef Skirt Steak Fajitas will make your mouth water. A simple seasoning mixture heightens the flavor of the meat and vegetables, and the entire meal cooks on the grill, including the tortillas.

Grilled Beef Skirt Steak Fajitas

1 lb. beef skirt steak, trimmed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large green bell pepper, rinsed
1 large red bell pepper, rinsed
1 large yellow bell pepper, rinsed
1 large sweet onion, peeled and trimmed
1 package flour tortillas
1 lime, rinsed and halved

Preheat the grill. In a small bowl, stir together salt, cumin, onion powder, and black pepper. Season the meat on both sides with some of the seasoning mixture, reserving a small amount for the vegetables.

Cut the peppers in half, remove core and seeds, and slice them into strips. Cut the onion in half, and slice each half crosswise into ¼-inch thickness. Sprinkle the remaining seasoning mixture over the vegetables and toss gently to mix. Remove the tortillas from the package and wrap them in heavy foil.

When the grill is hot, transfer the peppers and onions to a grill basket and cook them over high heat, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes.

Place the meat on the grill, cook 4 minutes, and turn it over. Cook 3 to 4 minutes more until it is medium rare. Remove the meat from the grill, squeeze lime juice over the meat, and set it aside to keep warm. Place the foil-wrapped tortillas on the grill to heat, give the vegetables a final stir, and remove them from the grill.

To serve, slice the meat into long, thin strips. Spoon meat and vegetables into hot tortillas, fold them in half, and enjoy.

Yield: Eight servings

Christy Rost

Public television chef Christy Rost is the author of three cookbooks and a longtime resident of the Park Cities and Preston Hollow. For additional recipes and entertaining tips, please visit or follow her on Facebook and Twitter @ChristyRost.

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