Grilling is a universal word that means something to everyone. To me it means good times, good friends, and great food. Follow some of my techniques and tips, and I promise it will mean the same to you.

A powerful gas grill offers strong heat and even cooking. It provides consistent temperatures, low heat or high. Look for a grill that heats up fast, has a sturdy frame, and has porcelain-coated grates to keep the food from sticking. Lava rocks, briquettes, and steel plates are all good heating elements. Many grills offer extra features such as side burners, rotisseries, and refrigeration under the unit. All are great but not necessary to grill a great meal.

Gas grills are more expensive than charcoal and can be had for as little as a few hundred to as much as several thousand dollars. Some of my favorite manufacturers are Viking, DCS, Weber, and Char-Broil.

When shopping for grilling utensils, keep it simple. Don't spend your money on 100 different gadgets that promise to make you an expert griller. You will become great with practice. Here's what you need, and it isn't much.

Those fancy long-handled grilling "tools" are extremely clumsy. You need to get intimate with your grill and those long handles don't allow you to get close enough. Kitchen tongs are perfect for turning meat and poultry because they won't puncture the meat, which allows precious juices to escape and dries out your meat.

A sturdy spatula is ideal for turning fish, burgers, and quesadillas. It allows you to get underneath the food and carefully turn the whole thing over, without it falling apart.