Sunday, August 7, 2011

The King of the Season - the Barbecue

     One of the greatest things of summer is outdoor grilling. From the humble little Hibachi to the tricked out outdoor kitchens, nothing beats the taste of food fresh off the grill.

Mine, looking very well used

     Here are a couple of tips just to help you enjoy your outdoor cooking all summer long.

   Never start your gas barbecue with the lid down, that's how people blow themselves up. You would think it's a no brainer but I can't tell you the number of times I've seen that big ball of flame and the lid thrown back. And the slightly singed cook with that bemused look on their face. Really??

     If possible, always have a back up tank. There is nothing sadder than running out of gas midway through cooking, I know. Learn from my mistakes.

     Clean the grill before you cook, every time. Food sticks to a dirty pan, why wouldn't it stick to a dirty grill?

     Now that it is clean, brush it lightly with a bit of oil on a paper towel. It helps prevent sticking and scorching. Do not use non stick sprays when you have your grill on. You are asking for trouble. Ferd does it all the time and I'm just waiting for the explosion one day.

     Start cooking on a hot grill, always preheat. You are searing the food like you would pan sear indoors. A cold start guarantees your food will stick like crazy.

     Wait until your food is ready to turn before you flip it. If it is stuck to the grill chances are it isn't ready. Give it a minute and try again. It should release from the grill fairly easily if it is clean. People mangle what they are cooking by trying to pry it off too early.

     Have a spray bottle of water handy to damp down those inevitable flames. It works like a charm.

     Don't overload the grill, it makes it hard to rotate the food so it cooks evenly. I'm guilty of this one, I never seem to learn.

     Pay attention. Another one I'm guilty of. Hamburger, pork, chicken, steaks: all have a fair amount of fat that renders out when you're cooking. Very flammable. Reduce your heat, have that spray bottle handy and pay attention. I have served blackened chicken a number of times just by not paying attention. LOL

     If you are cooking on indirect heat, great way to cook chicken and pork, make sure you clean out the grill after. The fat that renders out sits on the bottom of the barbecue just waiting to ignite. I ruined one by not making sure it was kept clean and once it starts to burn it is next to impossible to put out. The barbecue got so hot it melted the dials in the front. Funny now but not at the time.

     Do you have any tips? Pass along your favourites and we can all enjoy the summer just a bit more... and safer. Take care and happy grilling.

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Thanks for your comment, I hope you enjoyed your time in the "Kitchen".