Americans love a Barbeque. You can BBQ anything, either on a Natural Gas Grill or a Charcoal Grill, from a steak on a grill to a hotdog or chicken. The barbeque flavor is unique and as old as the caveman.
All Americans love a parade as the saying goes, but more than 84% of American families fire up their grills at least twice a month during summer, be it a Natural Gas Grill or a Charcoal Grill. If you look at the more than 62% of us that Bar-B-Que at least once a week (and even more in the year round warm states) you will see the romance that we have with Barbeque Grills and the unique barbeque flavor Raclette Savoyarde.
One could imagine that the love of barbeque is as old as the caveman. It’s almost like tapping into a primal memory every time you light a Natural Gas grill or a Charcoal grill depending on which you prefer. Most Americans enjoy a BBQ because it is a family affair. Everyone can get together and join cooking steaks on the grill or even hot dogs, ribs or burgers. It is time to forget the fancy tablecloth and dishes and succumb to paper plates and hand held food. When was the last time you gathered around the cook in the kitchen to watch a batch of cookies come out of the oven? Yet, everyone loves to gather round the barbeque grills and watch their foods being flamed with that wonderful barbeque flavor.
Barbeque has become so popular in America that statistics suggest that more than a third of the nations $200 billion dollars spent on home remodeling in the last couple of years went into outdoor upgrades. This will give you an idea how much we love the outdoors and our outdoor barbeque grills.
Naturally the most popular food on a Natural Gas Grill or Charcoal Grill is hamburgers, but close behind is chicken. Our next favorite is of course, the steak on a grill followed by the hot dog. Fish is a very distant favorite. Almost 90% of Bar-B-Que chefs marinate their meals sometimes for as little as an hour and sometimes as much as 24 hours. Many Bar-B-Que chefs do not use the grill for cooking sweets, which is too bad. Grilling fruits brings out their natural sweetness for a hip and different dessert.
There is a difference in Bar-B-Que and Grilling. Grilling is done on very hot grills, while barbeque is done very slowly, usually on an indirect heat. All of your less tender cuts of meat should be done by the barbeque method, that includes pork shoulders, ribs and brisket.
Forever, there will be the debate of which are better, a Natural Gas Grill or a Charcoal Grill. It looks like it might be almost a draw as 56% of barbeque owners own Gas Grills. If you opt to purchase a Natural Gas Grill it is recommended that you buy one with at least two burners so that you can use the indirect method of grilling when needed. When cooking large items such as Chickens or Turkeys, they would char on the outside and be raw on the inside if the indirect method of grilling was not used. Ribs, of course, need long slow cooking to get to that fall off the bone tenderness.
There are two things to consider here, the problem with a gas grills is that you can run out of gas. A trick to know is to throw a cup of very hot water over the tank; condensation will form at the level of the gas. The problem with a charcoal grill is that it takes 30 to 40 minutes to heat up. Another tip with charcoal grills, when the coals are ready spread them out, but not over the entire surface of the grates. You want to save some cool spots to move your cooked food to so it will not burn. If you are cooking something that needs indirect heat, mound the coals on either side of the grill leaving the center empty. (Be careful when cooking with indirect heat on a charcoal grill, you may need to add more briquettes if the cooking time is prolonged).
Here are some tips for successful grilling on either Natural Gas Grills or Charcoal Grills:
First and foremost is to keep your grill clean. For gas grilling it is an easy task, just light the grill, heat it up and scrap of any residuals with a wire brush. For a Charcoal Grill you will have to use a little bit of elbow grease after the grates have cooled.
To determine the heat of the grill hold your hand over the surface and count one Mississippi, two Mississippi. If after two you have the ~ouch factor~ the grill is hot. At around five it is medium hot and at ten it is cool.
It is best to trim off any fat to avoid flare ups. If you are having steaks on a grill, you may want to keep the fat to get the char factor.
Never, ever use a fork in your meat. Every time you stab a piece of meat you are draining it of juices and you will end up with a dry and tough meal.
If you are making Bar-B-Que Chicken it is best to save the basting till the end. The sugar in the barbeque sauce will burn if applied too early. This applies to anything else that uses BBQ sauce.
Many chefs suggest using a meat thermometer. However, many do not because of the loss of juice while being stabbed. There is a ~rule of thumb~ literally. Put your palm up with the hand slightly curled. By pressing the fatty end of your thumb (closest to the wrist) and feeling the meat, if the meat is as springy as the thumb area it is rare. For medium, go closer to the joint of the thumb, where the thumb meets the palm. If the touch is identical the meat is medium. For well done, feel towards the joint before the tip of the thumb, the firmness there and the firmness in the meat will indicate it is well done.
Most important of all is to let the meat settle after grilling. This rule is the important whether the meat comes from a Natural Gas Grill or a Charcoal Grill; you must let the juice run back into the meat. If you cut it right away, you will have only one juicy bite since the rest of the juice will pour out onto the cutting board.
No matter what you barbeque, or how you cook it, or if you use a Natural Gas Grill or a Charcoal Grill always be aware of safety. Keep the children away from hot grills, don’t imbibe in alcoholic beverages until after the cooking. Make sure your grill is on a level surface and keep it away from structures that can ignite. If you are using a Charcoal Grill be careful of lighter fluid, better yet buy briquettes that are already permeated with the starter fluid. If using a Natural Gas Grill don’t wait too long before turning on the gas and pressing the ignition button. You don’t want the gas fumes to build up.
We wish you a happy Bar-BQ in your backyard or at your next picnic. For some great Barbeque recipes see the website below.