Got quite a surprise when gearing up for this assignment. It was the first time we’d uncovered the grill since winter. I don’t know if you remember last winter. You know — the one that started with 7 feet of snow and ended with 7 feet of ice? Well, during one of the last storms, a hunk of that ice slid off the roof of the back of our house, bringing down the second-story gutters on top of our storm door, which was frozen open because the canvas awning had been obliterated by a previous storm. We were so concerned with the marred siding and ruined gutters, door, awning and exterior lighting, it never occurred to us to check out the grill, which had stood in grim witness to the entire affair. I removed the cover to cook food for us all to enjoy on Memorial Day only to find that the left steel shelf had borne the brunt of the falling ice as well — and it’s not covered by insurance. (emoji: Frowny face.) So I had to cook using only the right shelf and the top of the deck railing as staging areas for raw meat, empty dishes, utensils, hot mitts and my beverage. (emoji: Frowny face with tears.) Somehow, I soldiered on and was rewarded with some of the best grilled meat I’ve ever made. Seriously. The Rosemary Grilled Pork Loin was definitely one of the best grilling recipes I’ve ever tried, and my son gobbled up the Steaks in Garlic Lime Marinade (Palomilla, a Cuban dish) so fast I only have a vague memory of them. And I’ll tell you this: I’ll never grill meat again without 1/4-inch thick Spanish onion slices brushed in olive oil, salted and peppered and left to char on the side. Five things I learned: 1. I don’t know how your store sells pork loin. Mine (Orlando Brothers Golden Dawn in Conneaut, Ohio) sells them 6 or 7 pounds and longer than my arm. I’ve never bought one because I find them intimidating. But I needed one for this. Well, I needed half of one. I figured I could figure out how to cut it in half and put the other half in the freezer. Now I’m glad I did because that means I can make this delectable piece of meat again. The butterflying was fine, to the extent that wrestling a 3-pound hunk of raw pork with both hands so I could saw it — almost — in half can be considered “fine.” I felt like I needed a shower and change of clothes, but I lived. By the way, “butterflying” means to slice lengthwise so you can open a piece of meat like a book. Then, for this recipe, you need to do it again to both sides so you can pack in the lovely delicious rosemary spread/marinade stuff into three places. Don’t worry if you accidentally cut all the way through the meat in spots. Unless you have mad knife skills, this is an awkward job. You’re going to be tying this thing back together with butcher’s string before cooking anyway, so it will cook fine. 2. By the way, you need butcher’s string. And, yes, you really need it. Without it, the meat will swell along the three lengthwise cuts and won’t cook evenly. You need to tie it together every couple of inches to force it to keep its shape. Butcher’s string is also sometimes called “kitchen twine.” Mine is about 1/8 inch thick and cotton, and I was a tad worried that it would burn on the grill, but, after you tie it, this is marinating for several hours, so the string will be soaked with liquid. Also, the meat is cooking indirectly, meaning not over the flame but on the opposite side of the grill from the fire, so it wasn’t a problem. Just remember to remove the string before serving. It’s a little tough to chew and I don’t know what your belly will make of it. 3. When the recipe says “Set up the grill for indirect grilling,” that means turn on the burners (or light the coals) on one side of the grill and scrape down and oil the grate on the opposite side. You’re just using the heat from the fire to cook, like an oven. This is a grilling technique often used for larger cuts of meat that need to cook more slowly than, say, a hamburger or chicken thigh that can be cooked directly over the flame. The recipe also called for placing a drip pan under the grate where the meat will be cooking. I couldn’t find anything suitable that would fit, so I didn’t do that. Remember, if you’re using a charcoal grill, to add 10 to 12 fresh coals after an hour of cooking. Be careful how much you open the grill. Obviously, you have to check that there’s not a flaming inferno under there, but you want to keep it closed as much as possible to keep the temperature even. 4. As for the Steaks in Garlic Lime Marinade (Palomilla), it’s a traditional Cuban dish that uses a thin steak cut from the bottom round, according to recipe writer Steven Raichlen. You can also use sirloin steaks, but make sure they’re thin, no more than ½ inch thick. 5. The garlic-lime marinade is what Cubans refer to as “adobo,” which in this case includes garlic, salt and pepper, cumin, lime juice and olive oil. By the way, both of these recipes recommend making the marinades in mortar and pestle, crushing the ingredients into a paste and working in the liquid. Sorry, not sorry. Too much work. That’s why God gave me a $12 mini-chopper. ROSEMARY-GRILLED PORK LOIN Total time: 3-5 hours; prep time: 10 minutes; marinating, 2-4 hours; cooking time: 60 to 90 minutes; serves 4 6 cloves garlic, peeled 1 bunch fresh rosemary, stemmed (about ¼ cup leaves) 1 tablespoon coarse salt (kosher or sea) 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 boneless pork loin roast (2½ to 3 pounds) Combine the garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper in a mortar and pound to a smooth paste with a pestle, then work in the oil. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, combine all these ingredients in a food processor or blender and process to a smooth paste. Using a long, sharp knife, cut the pork loin roast almost in half lengthwise. Open the meat as you would a book, and cut a lengthwise pocket into each side, starting and ending about a ½ inch from each end and cutting almost all the way through to the other side. Spread half of the herb paste over the surface and in the pockets of the opened-out roast, then bring the sides back together so the roast is in its original shape. Using butcher’s string, tie the roast in four or five places and spread the remaining herb paste over the entire surface of the roast. If desired, loosely cover the roast with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator 2 to 4 hours, letting it come to room temperature while you preheat the grill. Set up the grill for indirect grilling, and preheat the grill to medium. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Place the roast on the hot grate. Cover the grill and cook the roast until well browned on all sides and cooked through, 1 to 1½ hours. When tested with an instant-read meat thermometer the internal temperature should register 160 F. If using a charcoal grill, you’ll need to add 10 to 12 fresh coals to each side after 1 hour. Transfer the pork roast to a cutting board or platter. Let the roast rest for 5 minutes, then remove and discard the string. Cut the roast into thin crosswise slices and serve. — adapted from “The Barbecue Bible: Over 500 Recipes,” by Steven Raichlen STEAKS IN GARLIC LIME MARINADE (PALOMILLA) Total time: 1 hour; prep time, 15 minutes; marinating, 30 minutes; cooking, 15 minutes; serves 4 4 cloves garlic Salt and freshly ground black pepper ½ teaspoon ground cumin ½ cup fresh lime juice 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 4 (6- to 8-ounce) beef steaks, such as bottom round or sirloin, no more than ½-inch thick 2 large onions, cut crosswise into ½ inch slices Combine the garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper and the cumin in a mortar and pound to a paste with a pestle. Work in the lime juice and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to form a smooth paste. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, combine these ingredients in a blender or food processor and process to a smooth puree. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and/or pepper as necessary. The adobo (marinade) should be highly seasoned. Spread half over the steaks and let marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Set the other half of the adobo aside. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Brush the onion slices with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and arrange them on the hot grate. Place the steaks and onion slices on the hot grate. Grill the steaks until cooked to taste, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare, basting them with remaining adobo. Grill onions until nicely charred, 3 to 4 minutes per side, seasoning them with salt and pepper. Transfer steaks to plates or a platter. Let stand 3 minutes and serve with onions on the side. — adapted from “The Barbecue Bible: Over 500 Recipes,” by Steven Raichlen — Jennie Geisler can be reached on Twitter: @ETNGeisler.