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A TOUCH OF GOURMET                
THE TASTE OF HOME                 
 
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       TASTE-TESTED RECIPES FOR SUCCESSFUL MEALS AND ENTERTAINING
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GRILLING…
It’s Not That Difficult!

 

I have been grilling for years.  Way back when, I used charcoal.  I had one of those cool charcoal grills that allowed you to crank the charcoal closer or farther away from the food, reducing the need to worry about how hot the coals were before one started cooking.  I used newspaper and a charcoal chimney to get the coals started, eliminating the need for petroleum starter (ewww), and speeding up the time it took for the charcoal to get to cooking temp.  Life was good!

Then I married, and hubby felt that I really should start using a gas grill.  Not wanting to argue about the “little” things, I conceded.  We first bought a Weber gas grill that had three separate burners (a key and good decision).  To date, all of our gas grills have used propane tanks.  When I retire, I will retire to a place where it makes sense to install a grill that uses natural gas.  For now, we keep a spare propane tank on hand, because I get rather annoyed when the propane runs out in the middle of grilling some wonderful dish.  Hubby’s job is to replace the empty tanks and hook them up to the grill after one runs out.  It’s good to assure that your spouse has a role in the process!

I am currently using an MHP gas grill, a significant part of which is guaranteed for lifetime.  It has a much higher BTU than the Weber that I started with but only two separate burners.  I think I prefer the flexibility of the three options on the Weber, but, overall, I’m pretty happy with the MHP.  The key takeaway for readers of this article:  your gas grill must have at least two separate burners. 

OK, whether using gas or charcoal, one thing is key:  very few things that are grilled over high heat end up being tasty.  Food is so much better if grilled low and slow.  (You’ll see recommendations for “low and slow” with barbecue, as well.  In my view of the world, the big difference is that, with barbecue, low is really low and slow is really slow…)  There is something to be said for searing certain meats before they are cooked through (a nice thick steak or a nice thick pork chop are good examples), but I don’t have much use for direct, high heat cooking of anything.  By searing, I mean that you cook each side of the nice, thick piece of meat over high heat for about two minutes before moving the piece to a low temperature side of the grill.

If you are grilling or barbecuing, one thing (IMHO) is certain:  you need a cover for your grill.  Without one, you are relegated to cooking with a much higher temperature than is good for the food. 

OK, so lesson 1:  whether charcoal or gas, give yourself at least two heat sources.  One really hot and one not so hot.  With charcoal, you can either accomplish that by how you arrange your coals or, as I did, with a crank that moves the charcoal closer or farther away. 

Lesson 2:  Use the really hot side of things simply to provide warmth to the lower side of things, where you will place your meat. 

Lesson 3:  Cooking veggies?  So many choices.  Corn on the cob?  If they have husks, soak them in water, and cook them on the low side of the grill.  No husks?  Then wrap them in foil…and cook them on which ever side of the grill is free (low or high).  Either way, turn frequently.  Monitor more closely if you are cooking over high heat.  Expect that, under either method, it will take roughly 30 – 45 minutes total for the corn to cook. 

Baked potatoes?  Best done (IMHO) on the low side of the grill but very close to the high side.  Turn a few times.  Give them at least an hour.  Maybe longer. 

Sliced veggies?  Zucchini, potatoes, onions (sweet preferred), carrots (sliced lengthwise, please), asparagus (OK, not sliced), etc., etc.   Make them about 1 inch thick.  Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with chopped, fresh herbs (my favorites, rosemary and/or thyme, and always a little salt and pepper).  Place on the low side.  Time will vary by veggie.  So watch, check, and flip, as appropriate.

Lesson 4:  Sauces

Most sauces involve something that includes a sugar product.  Just know that they are a last minute addition to anything grilled.  By last minute, I mean last 5 – 10 minutes and always over the low heat side of the grill.

If you want your meat to be moist, there are all kinds of opportunities for brines or mopping sauces.  Some brine recipes include sugar…dangerous on a grill, so be careful.  Mopping sauces usually don’t involve sugar and do a lovely job of helping keep moisture in your meat while they cook on the grill. 


 

 

 
 
             

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