If you follow me on twitter, you have seen my treasured 10 year old grill that I am nursing along year after year and will hate the day it completely falls apart. I admit it, there is a bond between a man (or woman) and their grill. Or maybe that is just me. 😉
This post, since it is a holiday weekend and many of us will be turning to the flame for dinner tonight, is both what I love to do but also a bit of a fishing post for your favorite best tips that maybe will help me become even better. Num!
So first things first. To me, gas is just not an option. I use real fire. I also hate lighter fluid so I use a charcoal chimney to get my bricks going before they to into my grill. My grill rack is fixed but I know some folks have no rack in the bottom (think barrel style) while others swear by a rack you can raise and lower. Does one work better than the other? You tell me but I just have two levels to place my items on if I need to get them farther from the heat plus I rarely fully fill my grill space so I can go to the sides if I need less direct heat.
Then there is a must for me. Applewood chips. I pre-soak mine in some beer and water. Some say that is not smart as you are steaming your grill items. I disagree as it is not enough to cause that but does extend the life of the chips yielding more smoke and flavor. What camp are you in on this step? Either way, I love strong smoke flavor. I have never got a grill with a built in smoker but when the day comes when my baby blue is gone to the recycler bin I may have to try one. Thoughts?
Next, let’s talk brats on the grill. I know there are those who boil them in beer then finish them on the grill. Yeah, not me. I split them when still mostly frozen and then again want to infuse max smoke flavor and this is the way I have found to do that. Then, I use a hamburger bun to use 1+1/2 brats to have more space for lots of onions and sauerkraut.
What about wings? We get hot sauce from Sam’s Club but beyond that I again want smoke. I am not a fan of breading on wings and they are OK in the oven. Sure, in a commercial fryer is good but the best way is hot and smoke and grilling them does everything I want.
Keeping the poultry theme going why not other chicken bits for all kinds of uses? Sure it is good as is with say sweet corn on the cob but there are so many sweet uses once the grilling is done. Cold grilled is perfect on a salad. Or, popping them into a quesadilla imparts nice smoke flavor into my Mexican goodness. Or, shredded in a chicken salad (inside a toasted pita bread) is shockingly fun. Lastly, ever had chicken soup with grilled chicken – it will change the way you think about soup!
I have already above shown you a shot of some Alaskan Salmon but one of my favorite ever choices is using sashimi grade tuna and giving them a strong smoke and sear on both sides to a medium well finish. This is so close to steak that even those who do not like fish love this when I make it – yeah it is that good.
Then there is what to do when you are allowing your protein to rest before eating. Why not use the perfect coals to grill and smoke some bacon. Ever had smoky bacon bits on your salad or baked potato? Or, making a breakfast omelet – with smoky bacon it is so much better. Having pre-grilled cold bacon in the fridge or freezer is never a bad thing and a great way to finish your grill time!
Another great breakfast idea is cooking breakfast sausage links on the grill about 1/3 of the way, just to impart that amazing grill and smoke flavor and then pop them straight into the freezer. This way you can gently thaw/finish cooking them however you want or include them in some other dish.
Then we have what can cause folks to rumble that is the best rub. Wet or dry. What do you use it on and do you use the same one on everything or to you mix it up. Do you marinate in liquid or olive oil. Oh this can be fun to see what folks like or love. My wife makes her own variation on Chef Ann Burrell’s pulled pork rub that we really enjoy on most things. And, since you can buy it in the airport, some Salt Lick rub or at least a pinch of it here and there is not all bad.
So here are my ideas for the perfect way to grill. I clearly love putting anything I can on the BBQ and hot or cold it works. What do you think. Like my ideas and what are your favorites I just must try. Please comment below – René