Ted Reader, King of the Q originally posted this image
Getting all fired up!!
There is something inexplicably tantalizing to one’s taste buds when the gentle wafting aromas of a neighbours BBQ ride find their way into our olfactory senses. It’s almost instinctive the way we react to the smell of flesh cooking over an open flame. This is quite understandable seeing as this is one of the oldest documented cooking methods.
The word barbeque is a derivative of a Cariban word barbaquoa. The Carib’s at one time inhabited the southern Caribbean. The Arawak’s inhabited the northern islands. It was common to find barbaquoa Ararwak on a Cariban’s dinner menu. This influence came from the Caribbean to the Gulf and made its way through Texas into North American cuisine.
With the arrival of spring many people will be firing up the BBQ for another season of grilling. Regardless of the size and price that you paid for your BBQ a spring tune up is in order before you get all fired up.
First you should give your BBQ a good cleaning and inspect all of the components within it. The main cause of flare-ups and those nerve wracking explosive starts to your system can usually be traced to a blockage in the venturi tubes on your BBQ. Warning signs of a gas blockage include any of the following; the burner doesn’t light, the burner flames are yellow or you’ve lost an eyebrow during ignition.
Insects are attracted to the smell of gas and often will take up residence in the tubes used to carry gas from the tank to the burners. Using a venturi brush you can clean the bugs out of the venturi tubes. Similar to a bottlebrush, proceed with the venturi brush an inch at a time using it to pull the cobwebs out of the line. Otherwise you will compact any debris into the line.
Do a soapy water test on the gas line and its connectors to ensure there are no gas leaks. Repair or replace any defected parts that you may find. Any of the metal parts within the firebox can be cleaned with a metal brush this will ensure that all of the burner ports are free of debris. Do not make any modifications to your system.
Now fire it up, preheat your BBQ gently, as you do not need to re-temper any of the metal causing it to warp or bend. Use a damp cloth and set of long handled tongs to wipe the grilling surface. This will help remove excess dirt and metal bristles from your grilling surface. Now it’s time to get grilling!
Maple Bourbon Grilling Sauce
In a heatproof bowl combine
½ cup of real Maple Syrup
¼ cup of bourbon
1 tbsp. Vanilla extract
A pinch of thyme
A pinch of ground pepper
Generously brush the sauce over, beef, chicken, pork, salmon or veggies while your cooking.
Straightforward Grilling Notes…
First and foremost you need to recognize two important things. First do not leave your BBq when cooking. Secondly your BBq has variable temperature control dials, therefore you should not always have your BBq cranked on high.
Prior to grilling assemble all of the items that you will need to get the job done. Including a squirt bottle of water to put out any small flare-ups as well as a fire extinguisher for large flare-ups!
Cuts of beef to utilize are NY striploin, Ribeye, Tenderloin, or Sirloin. About 5-10 minutes prior to cooking the steaks lightly drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Cook steaks on a hot BBq. Do not keep flipping them or turning them. You will only need to touch your steaks five times when cooking them 1. Place steaks on hot BBq. 2. After the flesh has been seared and marked, give the steak a quarter turn. This ensures the lovely criss-crossed grill marks you get in restaurants.
3. Flip the steak over. 4. Repeat step 2. 5. Remove the steaks from the BBq.
This process is the same for chicken, lightly oil the chicken prior to BBqing it as this will ensure that the chicken will not stick to the grill.
For grilling fish, choose firm fleshed fish such as salmon, sea bass or tuna. For fish you will give everything a bit of oil, your flipper, tongs the BBq and the fish. This will allow you to cook the fish just like a steak. You also can cook the fish with the skin on it. Lightly oil the skin and cook it skin side down on the BBq. This technique will allow you to cook your fish without it breaking or flaking apart on the BBq.
For grilling veggies such as zucchini, eggplant and portabello’s lightly marinate the veg in olive oil with balsamic vinegar in a ratio of two-part vinegar to one-part oil. The veg do not need to be soaked in this mixture just a light drizzled will do.
For cedar planking… Make sure that when you purchase your planks that they are untreated. Also you must soak the planks for at least two-three hours prior to cooking with them.
When using skewers in grilling, make sure you soak them for an hour prior to using them, as this will prevent them from catching fire. Use your imagination here, try soaking your skewers in brandy, apple juice, or soy sauce. As your food cooks the skewers will impart flavors into the food.
You can also utilize rosemary sprigs as skewers, or grape vines as your skewer and these will also impart flavors into your food.
Cedar Planked Pickerel with Goats Cheese Crust
The mild flavor of pickerel works best for this recipe, however it will work with snapper or wild pacific salmon. Other cheeses to try would be Brie or Feta.
3-4well soaked cedar planks
2-4kg fresh pickerel fillets, with the skin on
1-cup goats cheese
6 green onions minced
1-2 tbsp. fresh thyme chopped
Juice of one lemon
1 tbsp. course ground pepper
Olive oil for brushing
Preheat your BBQ on High, rub lemon pepper into flesh of fish. Combine cheese onions, thyme and pepper in a mixing bowl and mix well. Season with salt to taste. Use mixture to form a crust on the flesh side of the pickerel fillets.
Place cedar planks onto the BBQ grill and close the lid. In about 3-5 minute the planks will start to smoke and make a cracking noise. Carefully open the BBQ lid as there will be a fair bit of smoke. Brush some olive oil onto the planks, using an oiled metal spatula, transfer the pickerel; fillets to the cedar planks, skin-side down. Bake for 5-7 minutes and your crust is golden. Remove pickerel from BBQ and serve immediately with lemon wedges.
Basic BBQ Secrets
There is something inexplicably tantalizing to one’s taste buds when the gentle wafting aromas of a neighbours BBQ find their way into our olfactory senses. It’s almost instinctive the way we react to the smell of flesh cooking over an open flame. This is quite understandable seeing as this is one of the oldest documented cooking methods.
The word barbeque is a derivative of the Cariban word barbaquoa. The Carib’s at one time inhabited the southern Caribbean. The Arawak’s inhabited the northern islands. It was common to find barbaquoa Arawak on a Cariban’s dinner menu. This influence came from the Caribbean to the Gulf and made its way through Texas into North American cuisine.
Now I’m assuming that everyone has completed a spring tune-up on their BBQ’s prior to the start of the grilling season, as I recommended in my article “Getting All Fired Up!!” So now it’s time to get down to the business of grilling.
To become a BBQ pro the rules are as follows. Pre-heat your Q to around 400-500 °f
Do not leave your BBQ until the cooking is done. This means that you must gather everything that you will need and have it in arms reach. This includes any of those frosty beverages you may need to get the job done right. Prior to grilling assemble all of the items that you will. Include a squirt bottle of water to put out any small flare-ups as well as a fire extinguisher for large flare-ups.
Secondly your BBQ has variable temperature control dials; therefore you should not always have your BBQ cranked up so high that you run the risk of re-tempering it’s steel construction and charring your own flesh let alone your dinner.
Lastly for basic grilling techniques, leave the lid of your BBQ open so you can see what’s going on. Keep the lid closed when preheating your Q. The lid assists in protecting the BBQ’s fire bowl when not in use or for advanced grilling techniques such as smoking and roasting.
For grilling fish, choose firm fleshed fish such as salmon, sea bass or tuna. For fish you will need to give everything a light coating of oil, your flipper, tongs the BBQ and the fish. This will allow you to cook the fish just like a steak without it sticking to the grill. You can cook the fish with the skin on it, simply cook it skin side down on the grill. These techniques will allow you to cook your fish without it breaking or flaking apart on the BBQ.
Keep in mind that you can BBQ anything. With proper use of techniques bread, pizzas, cheese, desserts and shellfish can all be barbequed