A handful of fresh herbs on the coals of your grill or across the grates of a gas grill will infuse grilled meats and vegetables with a pungent, herbal smokiness. The effect is subtle and it might be more about aromatherapy for the cook than anything else — but the sense of smell such a huge part of how we taste and enjoy our food that I say we go for it.
The herbs tend to burn off fast, so put them on the coals along with the food you're grilling and then close the grill's lid right away to trap the smoke inside. Many grilling sites recommend soaking the herbs in water or putting them in an aluminum foil packet to prolong the smoking, just as you would for wood chips.
This is also a great way to use discarded herb stems or less-than-fresh leftover herbs that would otherwise be destined for the compost bin. Try experimenting with dry herbs and spices, like bay leaves and coriander seeds, too!
This post has been updated. Originally published 7/02/09.
(Image: Brian Holm/Shutterstock)