How Adding Herbs To Charcoal Could Transform Your Grilled Foods

The smells of summer are unmistakable — freshly cut grass, suntan lotion, and the smoky smell of a Weber grill. With long, sunny days so close within reach, it's time to dust off your barbecue tongs and polish up your grilling game with one hack that will transform your favorite grilled foods forever.

Using herbs is a great way to make a dish more complex with minimal effort. In particular, fresh herbs are great at doing this because they contain essential oils that help build delectable layers of flavor to any dish. In fact, Bob Vila swears by adding any herb from fresh rosemary to sage when grilling over charcoal to impart flavor and infuse delicate aromas.

Almost any herb can be tossed over a flame, but stick with fresh rather than dried. The Spokesman-Review explains that woodier herbs like rosemary, fennel, thyme, and sage are grilling superstars thanks to their robust fragrance and sturdy nature, but that doesn't mean that leafier herbs won't also do the trick. Tarragon, mint, basil, and dill also work. Just make sure to use them in moderation to avoid unnecessary smokiness.

How to add herbs to your grill routine

Adding herbs to charcoal is a super simple way to elevate your barbecued dishes. According to Bon Appétit, an easy way to amplify tastiness is by rubbing the meat with herb-loaded marinades or brushing grilled goods with herb-heavy compound butter.

While you could also place herbs directly on the foods you're grilling, the possibilities don't end there. You can wrap herbs and meat together in foil packages for a more potent infusion while soaking a bundle of herbs in water and then placing them on the grill (under a closed lid) will create a lighter herb infusion. For more creative ways to use herbs, you can tie a piece of twine around a bunch of sturdy herbs to make a savory basting brush, or even use rosemary sprigs as herbaceous skewers (via My Garden Life).

If herbs aren't your thing, there are still many ways you can infuse flavor into grilled meats, veggies, and anything else you've got on the grill. Bob Vila suggests that you start by rubbing your grill with raw onion and add citrus peels for a burst of zest. You can even create a do-it-yourself smoker by placing a pan of soaked hickory wood chips over the charcoal. Whatever you decide, rest assured that these aromatic grilling hacks will impress everyone at your backyard barbecue!