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THE THREE ESSENTIAL RULES FOR GREAT GRILLING
From Steven Raichlen, author of The Barbecue Bible and host of PBS's Barbecue University
[Reprinted: MIDSOUTH   Memphis, Tennessee   July/August 2008   Vol. 9 No. 5
  • 1.   KEEP IT HOT
    Preheat your gas grill to hgh or build a "2 to 3 Mississippi" fire in a charcoal grill. (For the latter, place your hand about a "half beer can height" over grate. Start counting; "1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi", etc. By the time you reach "2 or 3 Mississippi", the intense heat of a properly lit charcoal grill will force you to snatch your hand away.

  • 2.   KEEP IT CLEAN
    Brush the bars of the hot grate with a stiff wire bursh. This will dislodge any debris and minimizes sticking. If you don't have a grill brush (and you should), use a crumpled ball of aluminum foil.

  • 3.   KEEP IT LUBRICATED
    Fold a paper towel into a small pad, dip it in oil, using tongs, rub it over the bars of the grill grate. Or lift the grate off the grill and spray it with spray oil. (Never spray oil directly onto a lit grill; you'll get Vesuvian flare-ups.) Oiling the grill helps prevent sticking, and it gives you killer grill marks.


  • pig chef
    Barbecue by any other name...

    There is a strong indication that the word "barbecue" comes from the Spanish word barbacoa which is derived from an American Indian word for the framework of green wood on which meat or fish was cooked over a pit of coals. Others believe that the French should be credited -- when Caribbean pirates came stateside, they roasted animals barbe-a-queue, head to tail, so to speak.
    pig chef

    -- Barbecue...Bar-B-Que...Bar-B-Q..."Bobbycue"... The passions generated by this gutsy American dish, no matter how you spell it, are for real although hardly anyone agrees just what barbecue is all about. The answer is far from clear cut and depends on how you define barbecue. To some it means a spicy sauce, to others a cooking style; then there are those who say it's a drippy meat concoction, and to anyone with a backyard it's a festive outdoor party!

    pig-chef
    BARBECUED PORK CHOPS

    8 Rib Pork Chops cut 1" thick
    Flour to dredge chops, plus 2 T.
    1/4 c. lard
    2 T. prepared mustard
    1/4 c. chopped onion
    1/2 t. pepper
    2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
    1 c. juice from pickles, peach, apple, bread & butter, or sweet pickles
    1 c. ketchup

    Dredge chops with flour and brown in lard. Pour off excess fat. Add the 2 T. flour to mustard and make paste. Add remaining ingredients, blend well and pour over chops. Cover and simmer for 1 hour in heavy skillet (or Dutch Oven). Yield: 8 servings.
    pig chef

    SLOW OVEN BARBECUED BEEF

    7 to 9-lb. rump roast
    1 teasp. minced garlic
    1 teasp. celery seeds
    3 tabsp. freshly ground black pepper
    1 teasp. ground ginger, optional
    4 large Bay leaves, crumbled
    1 (12-oz.) can tomato paste
    1 cup dark soy sauce
    1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
    1 cup brown sugar, packed
    2 med. onions, thinly sliced

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tear off two large pieces of foil, enought to completely enclose and seal in the roast. Place the meat on the double sheets of foil and rub it on all sides with the garlic.
    Combine the celery seeds, pepper, ginger, and crushed bay leaf, then sprinkle on all sides. Mix the tomato paste, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar, and smear this on the meat. Score the fat side of the roast and place the onions on top. Wrap in the foil and carefully seal by folding it down well. Place fat side up on a rack in a roasting pan. Cook in the foil for 4 hours. Open the foil to expose the onion-covered top and cook for another hour. To serve, slice thin against the grain and top with pan sauce. Serves 8


    Recipe from: "Where Flowers Healed a Nation..." Cookbook and History, Columbus, Mississippi

    PIT SMOKING

    The style of cooking meats over an open fire pit has been around since the days of the Peking Man. Many Southern barbecue lovers still consider pit smoking the best method for preparing barbecued meat. There's never been one specific design set up for a pit, but when I was a child you always began with a very large hole about six feet deep across and four feed deep. Then a layer of heat-resistant rocks was added. A heavy mesh screen was put down over the rocks, then a layer of hardwood such as hickory, oak, alder, or fruit wood. Once the fire got going and the white hardwood coals remained, the prepared meat (the whole, skinned animal) was lowered into the pit on a spit and the pitmasters, as the fire tenders were called, used their own carefully guarded secret techniques for getting moist, smoky, succulent results. A good pitmaster was a genius at controlling the low heat for the sixteen hours necessary for the meat.

    Nowadays, it's harder to find real outdoor pit barbecue. And pit-cooked no longer necessarily means that the meat has been lovingly tended and basted for hours at a stretch. Also, various states have very stringent laws governing open pits. Consequently, many fine barbecue restaurants and all commercial barbecue manufacturers use gas- or electric-fired equipment to control temperatures and conditions. A few landmark restaurants use real open pits. And, of course, each of the owners is proud of his or her accomplishment.

    Pork shoulders, butts and spareribs are the most popular meats to pit smoke. Once smoked, shoulders and butts are sold "pulled" and partially "pulled". Popularized and most prevelant in the South, "pulled" indicates that the cooked meat has been separated along the grain into shreds with forks or by hand before the sauce is added. Paritally "pulled" means that the meat has been partially separated, then cut into one-inch chunks or strands.

    Beef is also pit cooked, but requires a more moist heat than pork This can be simulated in home methods by tightly covering the cut of meat with a lid or aluminum foil.


    From: A Passionate Cookbook by Jane Butel, "Finger Lickin' Rib Stickin' Great Tastin' Barbecue"

    BOUDIN' BLANC

    "Brightly flavored white New Orleans style sausage."
    2 1/2 pounds coarse ground pork butt or roast
    2 1/2 pounds ground chicken
    2 1/2 teaspoons non-iodized salt
    2 1/2 tablespoons white pepper
    2 1/2 cups sauteed onions
    4 tablespoons butter
    2 1/2 cups warm milk
    1 1/2 cups bread crumbs, soaked in milk
    2 eggs
    1/4 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
    3/8 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/8 teaspoon cloves
    1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ginger

    Melt butter; saute and brown onions. Soak bread crumbs in warm milk. Mix eggs, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. Mix onions, soaked bread crumbs, and parsley with meats thoroughly. Grind over hamburger plate (1/8). Stuff into 31 to 34 mm hog casings.


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    SMOKING STUFFED SAUSAGES

    Smoke-cooking at 190 degrees F. to 250 degrees F. or cold smoking at 85 degrees F. to 120 degrees F. improves the flavor of nearly any sausage. You can use any type smoker: (1) a water smoker, (2) a kettle or square grill, (3) a smaller or larger custom smoker, or (4) a barbecue pit. You can smoke ready-to-eat, cured summer-type sausages stuffed into a larger-diameter casing (60mm). Summer sausages can be stuffed into larger pork casings (38-42 mm) and smoked.

    Generally, you smoke sausages until the casings or their exterior reaches the "right smoked color". This smoke color determines the amount of smoke flavor. Deep brown coloring means heavily smoked all at one time, or cold smoked slowly over a long time. However, you need to reach only 150 degrees F. to 155 degrees F. internal temperature for any sausages containing pork to be safely cooked if you use sodium nitrite (curing). Measure with a meat thermometer. Don't delay cooking sausage to their proper doneness after they reach your desired smoke color. You will dry them out. Sausages do not need to be tenderized with long cooking.

    All casings burn when placed on metal grid wires which transfer heat efficiently and quickly. Watch out for smoker heats above 250 degrees F. Therefore, drape smaller links of sausages over wooden dowels; they look like wooden broom handles. For longer sausages, tie ends with loops of butcher twine or heavy string and hang them.

    Keep sausages from touching each other, because they will not take smoke at these points. Move sausages around because those next to the smoker's wall will not cook as fast as those hanging over the fire. Be careful of fats dripping into the fire itself. They cause fires and ruin sausages.

    Fuels for fires for smoking can be any kind that will heat, cook, and cause smoke woods to smolder. You can use charcoal, gas, electric, or wood to heat sausage. You add high quality smoke wood for flavoring.

    From: Barbecuing & Sausage-Making SECRETS by Charlie & Ruthie Knote


    MEATY BBQ'ed FLAVOR

    You taste this elegant meaty BBQed flavor -- this outside crust of meat -- when it's: (1) seared and grilled at 450 degrees F. to 550 degrees F., (2) smoke-cooked at home, or barbecued in a contest, with dry hot air from 300 degrees F. down to 175 degrees F., or (3) browned like a sausage in the skillet. Prove this increased flavor to yourself; just taste the browned juices oosing from the browned seared burger or the smoke-cooked chicken on the serving platter. This Browning Reaction occurs slowly and naturally when the surface of meat is dry heat cooked using 175 degrees F. air temperature. It occurs very rapidly at 315 degrees F. air temperature and above.

    What are your problems with developing this outside crust? Many times the meats' crust dries out into stringy tough fibers because: (1) it's grilled too long, (2) grilled too hot without applying a complimentary baste, or (3) exposed to too much wood smoke when smoke-cooked too long. Another problem occurs when the meat is cut too thin (1/2" thick or less) and you overcook the center trying to brown the outside. Also, meat can be cooked to a blackened, bitter burned flavor because of long heavy smoke, or a grills' long hot grease fire or an 800 degree F. blackening fire.

    Your grilling goal: to develop the full-flavored tender outside browned crust and with a juicy, tender, red rare to medium rare pink center, or a browned medium cooked center. You choose how you like your meat grilled or smoke-cooked. You may want to increase the outside crust by using "browning" aids, such as: (1) a meat "rub" containing paprika or sugar, or a baste of honey, fruit juices, barbecue sauces, vegetable oil, (2) higher momentary cooking temperatures, (3) intermittent flame searing, and (4) smoke-cooking or barbecuing a little longer.

    Professional food technologists do not know exactly what takes place chemically when you brown and caramelize foods with this Browning Reaction. But everyone enjoys its safety and excellent flavor. However, great flavor, aroma, and juiciness themselves do not produce barbecued masterpieces. You must be able to chew and swallow the meat with ease.


    From: Barbecuing & Sausage-Making SECRETS by Charlie & Ruthie Knote


    References for this page include:

    FINGER LICKIN' RIB STICKIN' GREAT TASTIN' BARBECUE, by Jane Butel
    BELL'S BEST, Telephone Pioneers of America, Mississippi Chapter No. 36
    TASTE OF DIXIE, Telephone Pioneers of America, Georgia Dixie Chapter No. 21