The Secret to Sand-Free Beach Grilling

Rachel Tepper Paley
July 17, 2014

DO NOT DO THIS. Photo credit: Studio Lipov/StockFood

Grilling on the beach is wonderful in theory. In reality, winds kick up grains of sand and send them swirling this way and that. You might find that each bite of expertly charred fish also delivers a mouthful of grit.

There’s a way around this, says Andrew Field, the owner of New York City taqueria Rockaway Taco. Field knows a thing or two about beach grilling—not only is his taco stand located a few blocks from the ocean, but also he cooked surfside last weekend at event company Le Fooding's Beach Club at Rockaway Beach, where he whipped up cornmeal crostini sopes.

Field suggests fashioning a makeshift wind barrier to protect the grill from sand (unlike the sand-vulnerable grill in the picture above). Here’s how:

* Find a piece of cardboard that’s a foot tall and wide enough to wrap around halfway around your grill’s circumference.

* Wrap the cardboard in aluminum foil.

* Determine which way the wind is blowing; you’ll want to set up your barrier to shield against that direction.

* Secure the wind barrier to the grill with butcher’s string, “like you would attach an apron,” making sure that the uppermost part of the cardboard is five to six inches above the grill’s grate. "You want to continue the air flow, but you don’t want too much wind to blow out the fire… or blow sand in," Field explained.

Field’s other commonsense suggestions for sand-free eating include sipping drinks from a closed-lidded water bottle instead of an open cup, and making sure to replace the lids on your food containers. But perhaps his best advice? “Eat fast,” he said. Seems pretty fool-proof to us.