Tips to help you perfect your grilled foods from meats to vegetables to poultry to fish.
- Steak. To prevent steaks from curling during cooking, cut a slit in the any remaining fat at 1-1/2 to 2-inch intervals.
- Test your coals to be sure they are hot enough for your steak. Do so by carefully holding your hand over the coals. You should be able to hold your hand there for three seconds.
Grill portobello mushrooms. Brush the mushrooms with a mushroom brush or wipe them with a dry paper towel. Next, brush them with olive oil. Grill the mushrooms cap side down, until tender. This should take about six to eight minutes.
Chicken. If you're watching your weight or cholesterol, you'll want to remove the skin from chicken. But don't do it until after it's grilled! The skin holds in the meat's natural moisture. Chicken grilled sans skin can quickly become dry and tough.
After barbecuing, sprinkle salt over smoldering charcoal to prevent embers from flaring up.
Open cans of beer placed around the perimeter of your yard will attract bees and yellow jackets away from a barbecue and away from your guests.
Grill baked potatoes. These are very easy to do on the grill!
- Scrub and dry the potatoes, then rub them with butter.
- Prick with a fork in several spots around the potato.
- Wrap the potatoes in foil and place them on the cooking grate. Cover and cook, turning occasionally, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Time necessary for cooking will depend on the size of the potato.
If you enjoy the skins and wish the to come out crisp, unwrap the potatoes and place them directly on the grill the last ten minutes of baking. If you would like to cut back on the cooking time of the potatoes, microwave them until tender and then place them on the grill the last ten minutes of baking.
Fresh vegetables are naturals for grilling. In summer, grilling because a fast, easy way to cook dinner. The key to tasty grilled vegetables is the marinating and basting mixture.
Most vegetables marinate well and you can adjust the mix according to the amount of vegetables you have on hand. Some of the easiest vegetables to grill are thick slices of eggplant, halved cooked artichokes, thin slices of raw sweet potatoes, quartered Vidalia or Maui sweet onions, halved cooked red potatoes and sections of corn on the cob.
Start preparing the vegetables by placing cut-up pieces in a freezer weight, plastic, self-sealing bag along with the marinade. Seal the bag and shake well to coat the vegetables evenly. Refrigerate the mixture (in the bag) at least one hour or even overnight if you wish. This guarantees that the vegetables will stay moist in the heat of the grill.
Give your grill five minutes to heat thoroughly; if using a gas grill, keep the flame at medium-high. A lacquer coated grill wok or grill pan works best for smaller vegetables such as mushrooms or onion slices that tend to slip through the grate. You may purchase a grill pan at any cooking store/department. It takes about five to ten minutes for vegetables to cook through. Even corn on the cob will cook fast over that intense heat. Remember to baste the vegetables to prevent them from drying out. Use the marinade from the bag and generously baste them every few minutes while cooking.
When barbecuing, place herbs on the coals to enhance the flavors of meat and poultry.
Outdoor Cooking Tips
- You can turn an old metal wheel barrow into a mobile barbecue. Punch 1/2-inch holes in the bottom and sides, lie with a layer of stones, and cover with charcoal. An old oven self can serve as a grill (don't use refrigerator shelves; they might contain poisonous cadmium).
- Season a new iron hibachi to prevent rust. First, check that there are no wooden parts. Then rub all surfaces with vegetable oil and set the hibachi on a baking sheet in a 250 degree oven. Leave for half an hour, turn off the heat and let the oven cool. Remove the hibachi and wipe off excess fat.
- To find out if the coals are hot enough to barbecue steaks, hold your hand an inch above the grill for a count of three. If the heat's unbearable the fire is ready.
- To prevent flare-ups when you barbecue, make a drip pan from aluminum foil and set it atop the coals under the meat.
- Another way to prevent flare-ups, spread lettuce leaves on the hot coals before you barbecue fatty meat (the outer leaves from the head you're using for the salad will do nicely). The lettuce will blacken but won't ignite.
- Don't forget that you can barbecue vegetables as well as meat. Wrap onions, corn on the cob, or sliced potatoes (all dotted with butter or margarine or brushed with barbecue sauce) in heavy duty foil. Grill onions and corn over medium coals for 30 minutes, turning often. Place foil wrapped potatoes directly on the coals for 45 minutes, turning once. Put chunks of zucchini or eggplant on skewers, brush with oil and grill for 10 minutes over medium coals, turning often.
- Flies hate basil so keep a pot of the herb close to the dining table. Crush a few leaves to release the oils. A bonus: Fresh basil leaves to chop on your salad.
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