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Barbecue Tips

onsidered by many as the oldest cooking method in the world, grilling was first mastered more than 100,000 years ago when early man roasted meat over hot embers of wood and charcoal.

Even in today's modern age, barbecuing is still considered America's favorite way to cook during the summer months. Grilling a variety of meats and vegetables is easy and versatile, and there is no question that the subtle smokey smells add both flavor and character to any dish.

Our Meat Department has put together some interesting tidbits about grilling, as well as several different cooking ideas for backyard barbecue fun.

Getting Started

  • Open vents in the bottom of the grill. Place charcoal briquettes on an area equal to the space the food will occupy, with an additional 2 inches on all sides.
  • Liquid starter, solid fuel blocks, and electric charcoal starters are some of the methods you can use to start your barbecue.
  • When the coals are ash covered and no longer flaming (about 30-45 minutes), spread them in a single layer, keeping them close together to keep them hot.
  • For subtle flavor, consider adding water soaked hardwood chips directly to the charcoal fire, or place some moistened sprigs of herbs directly on the coals or on the grill near the food.

Coal Temperatures

HOT
Coals are barely covered with gray ash
MEDIUM
Coals glow through layers of gray ash
LOW
Coals are covered with a thick layer of gray ash

Marinate Your Meat basting

Marinades add unique flavors and textures to grilled meat. A marinade is a highly seasoned liquid used to give flavor, and in some cases tenderize tough cuts of beef. Marinades usually consist of liquid such as water, fruit or vegetable juice, or oil, which is combined with seasonings and herbs.

  • For tenderization, meats need to be marinated for at least 6-8 hours. For flavor, marinate meat for at least 15 minutes or longer.
  • Allow ¼ to ½ cup marinade for each 1 to 2 lbs. of meat.
  • Always marinate in the refrigerator.
  • When basting the meat with a sauce, brush on during the last few minutes of grilling to prevent it from burning.

Grilling Vegetables

Grilled vegetables make easy, delicious accompaniments for grilled meats. Most vegetables need no preparation for grilling other than cleaning and a light brushing with vegetable or olive oil. All vegetables should be cooked over medium coals and turned occasionally until they reach a desired tenderness. For variety, skewer grilled potatoes similar sized pieces and cook until tender.

Onions
Slice onions ½" thick. Grill until tender, approximately 5-10 minutes, turning occasionally.

Corn
Pull back husks, leaving them attached to the base, remove silk. Fold husks back around corn and tie at each end. Soak corn in water for 1-2 hours. Remove and grill for 20-30 minutes.

Yellow Squash
Cut into small sections and grill for 5-10 minutes.

Bell Peppers
Cut peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Grill for about 3-4 minutes on each side.

Zucchini
Cut into long strips and grill for 3-5 minutes, turning occasionally.

Mushrooms
Select whole mushrooms which are at least 2" in diameter. Grill for 5-10 minutes.

Potatoes
Microwave small red potatoes until barely tender when tested with a fork. Rinse in cold water to stop cooking. Thread on skewer and grill for 10-15 minutes.

Tomatoes
Slice tomatoes ½ to ¾" thick. Grill until heated through, approximately 5 minutes.