Using firewood in your Weber grill is one way to build a hot fire for grilling at this year’s Memorial Day cookout.

It’s Memorial Day weekend, and if all of the marketing folks on the internet and television have anything to do with it, you should have a new wardrobe, including red, white and blue boat shoes, and you should replace your picnic table or patio table or where ever it is that you are going to enjoy a cookout with loved ones.

You are going to have a cookout with family, aren’t you? Or your neighbors?

And by the way, you also should have bought new patio furniture to stay up with the latest design. (What? That stuff we’ve had for 20 years isn’t good enough?)

There have been enough recipes presented to me online I couldn’t believe it. And there are some I might actually try, once I weed through all of the content.

“Top 10 recipes you should grill now!”

“Super-fast recipes for your grill out.”

“The last Memorial Day grilling recipes you will ever need.” (What, am I going to die come Tuesday?)

Aside from all of the pharmaceuticals that have been advertised for my advancing age, we have advisories coming our way to make sure we’re wearing enough sunscreen for the first holiday of summer and being safe in general.

There was one that came my way via THE Ohio State University that warned me about spending too much time at the grill because I was either going to get burned by the sun or burned by the grill because I was drinking too much while standing at the grill. OK, that wasn’t exactly it. They were talking about addiction and carcinogens from grilled foods.

Well, I have an affinity for cooking outdoors and drinking beer but I think it’s too late in life to stop me from either. I know, moderation, moderation.

Maybe not for the grilled food. But they want me to alter my cooking habits so I don’t put too much char on the meat, thus possibly putting cancer-causing elements in the food.

They suggest cooking kebabs, which cook faster and therefore would be less likely to have those charred bits. Well, last weekend I made kofta and definitely made sure there was some char.

Which brings me to the various recipes that made it to my inbox stressing the use of hot coals or the perfect heat on my gas grill so I could get … the proper char.

Perhaps the most interesting email I opened was from Mark Bittman, a former long-time New York Times food writer who now has his own gig, a website, newsletter and numerous cookbooks, even one that just came out that’s totally vegan.

But that hasn’t stopped Mark from firing up the grill and cooking off some chops or steaks or other delectable meat.

So, with his 10 grilling recipes for this holiday, Mark shares in his newsletter a photo of a Weber kettle grill with some logs, as in firewood, lighting up. Big honking chunks of wood. The stuff you would throw in your fireplace.

I haven’t tried that technique, but it certainly looked interesting. And I’ll bet it would provide lots of char and smoke and other bad things.

And once the coals burn down, the fire would probably be excellent for making S’mores.

Has there ever been anything published about S’mores being bad for you if you flame up your marshmallow?

Have a happy, healthy Memorial Day, friends.

michael marturello is editor of the The Herald Republican. He can be reached at

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