I'm never more delighted than when I get invited to a barbecue cookout at a friends house, not only because it's the way of cooking that I prefer but also because it's a great opportunity to have a chin wag and a glass of pop with folks that I maybe only get to see once or twice a year.
I'm really fortunate to be part of a great bunch of lads, one group from my school days and another set from university and everyone gets on really well together. We all live in different areas of the country so itís difficult to keep the contact and a barbecue cookout in the summer sure helps. It keeps all the kids outdoors as well which saves on the clearing up!
Friends for over twenty years, barbecue parties every summer yet still no one can cook a decent grill. I'm delighted to attend but as I turn up my eyes suddenly dilate with horror seeing chicken wings dowsed in flames and worst of all, one of my friends expecting me to eat them!
It's probably no wonder that as soon as I turn up I wrestle the tongs off him and get the whole food rack far away from the grill for a good 15 minutes and let everything settle down.
The flames appear because the coals are not ready, fat starts to drip and up it goes! The more flames, the more fat and the more fat, the more flames. Food black on the outside, raw on the inside. Have you been there? Well here are my recommendations so that you never have to go there again.
Whether it's a charcoal or gas barbecue grill it's all about patience and the preparation of the coals. In a gas grill, the flames heat up the lava bricks and it's the bricks that radiate the heat to cook the food so the simple tips for gas:-
1. Give it time and gas on full whack to get the coals up to temperature.
2. When the coals are hot and you're ready to cook, turn the gas down just to maintain the temperature in the coals and keep them well away from the food.
Despite me saying be patient, gas is still wonderfully quick and convenient to have a barbecue but never should it be instant. Anyway, why hurry?
For charcoal barbecue grills there's a certain knack to preparing the fire:-
1. Pile up the charcoal to get it all burning at the same pace
2. Coals are ready when they are white (not black)
3. Before cooking, spread the coals out and don't worry, they will still give off heat.
4. Start off with the food rack on its maximum height and bring it down gradually.
5. If you're cooking on a kettle, remember to reduce the aperture of the bottom draft.
Not only does it take patience to get the perfect BBQ but it also takes time and experience ñ some of my friends clearly haven't mastered it after 20 years! So please don't give up, it really is worth the effort when you get it right.
One final tip whilst you're in training ñ put your food in a barbecue basket. If you do get some flames you can lift large quantities of food simultaneously off the grill without too much hassle.
So now you have the barbecue smoker recipes for success enjoy your BBQ this summer!
President of Sharpe Foods
& Food Writer
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Tag(s): Chef Thomas Sharpe