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- Remove from cardboard tray.
- Place your Picnic BBQ on a firm level heat-resistant surface such as bricks, or use a purpose-built stand (included with product). Allow air to circulate beneath the tray.
- This Picnic BBQ has a specially impregnated starter sheet under the wire grill; DO NOT use petrol or any lighter fluids.
- With a lit match, light one corner of the starter sheet.
- Depending upon wind conditions, it will take about 15 minutes for the smoke to die down.
- Do not cook before the fuel has a coating of ash. This is when the ideal cooking temperature has been achieved and will be maintained for over an hour (under normal conditions).
- REMEMBER - Cook over heat NOT over flames.
- Do not leave cooking food unattended as it may burn. Turn food frequently.
- DO NOT handle or move the BBQ whilst in use, as it gets very hot very quickly and retains heat even after it appears to have gone out.
- Keep children and pets at a safe distance. Use only with adult supervision.
- NEVER use on a surface which is liable to be damaged by heat.
- DO NOT use indoors or without adequate ventilation.
- DO NOT attempt to relight the BBQ by using spirit, petrol or comparable fluids.
- DO NOT REFILL - This BBQ is designed for a single use only.
- When cooking is over, completely extinguish the barbecue with water.
- REMEMBER, the area beneath your barbecue will also be hot.
- When cold, dispose of this single-use barbecue carefully and responsibly, or take it home with you.
The word braaivleis is Afrikaans for "roasted meat."
The word braai (pronounced "bry", rhyming with the word "cry"; plural braais) is Afrikaans for "barbecue" or "roast" and is a social custom in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. It originated with the Afrikaner people, but has since been adopted by South Africans of many ethnic backgrounds. The word vleis is Afrikaans for "meat".
The word has been adopted by English-speaking South Africans and can be regarded as another word for barbecue, in that it serves as a verb when describing how food is cooked and a noun when describing the cooking equipment, such as a grill. The traditions around a braai can be considerably different from a barbecue, however, even if the method of food preparation is very similar.
While wood formerly was the most widely-used braai fuel, in modern times the use of charcoal has increased due to its convenience, as with barbecues elsewhere in the world. There has however been a renewed interest in the use of wood after the South African government started with its invasive plant species removal program. An important distinction between a braai and a barbecue is that it's fairly uncommon for a braai to use gas rather than an open flame.
The "Bring & Braai"
Similar to a potluck party, this is a grand social event (but still casual and laid-back) where family and friends converge on a picnic spot or someone's home (normally the garden or verandah) with their own meat, salad, or side dish in hand. Meats are the star of the South African braai. They typically include boerewors, sosaties, kebabs, marinated chicken, pork and lamb chops, steaks, sausages of different flavors and thickness, and possibly even a rack or two of spareribs. Fish and crayfish (kreef in Afrikaans) are also popular in coastal areas.
The other main part of the meal is pap (pronounced /pɑp/, meaning porridge), or the krummelpap ("crumb porridge"), traditionally eaten with the meat. This dish is a staple of local African communities and may be eaten with tomato and onion sauce,monkeygland sauce or the more spicy chakalaka at a braai.
Sometimes this activity is also known as a "chop 'n dop" (dop being Afrikaans slang for an alcoholic drink, literally meaning "cap" or "bottle top") when more drinking than eating is done.
A braai is a social occasion that has specific traditions and social norms. In black and white South African culture, women rarely braai (cook) meat at a social gathering, as this is normally the preserve of men. The men gather round the braai or braaistand (the fire or grill) outdoors and cook the food, while women prepare the pap, salads, desserts, and vegetables for the meal in the kitchen. The meal is subsequently eaten outside by the fire/braai, since the activity is normally engaged in during the long summer months. The braaing (cooking) of the meat is not the prerogative of all the men attending, as one person would normally be in charge. He will attend to the fire, check that the coals are ready, and braai (cook) the meat. Other men may assist but generally only partake in fireside conversation. The person in charge is known as the braaier (chef), and if his skills are recognised, could be called upon to attend to the braai (BBQ) at other occasions as well.
- Abbraaiviation - A very short braai
- abraaimowitz - a Jewish braai
- Ag - This one of the most useful South African words. Pronounced like the "ach" in the German "achtung", it can be used to start a reply when you are asked a tricky question, as in: "Ag, I don't know." Or a sense of resignation: "Ag OK, I'll have some more mieliepap then." It can stand alone too as a signal of irritation.
- Barbie - Australian slang for Barbeque. What you learn to call a Braai when you immigrate here.
- Barbie - 1.Often refered to by the loser aussies as 'barbeque' 2.Or as we like to say..."Dis daai goed waarmee die aussies speel na n rugby game!"
- black wattle & port jackson - hout waarmee jy liewer nie wil braai nie; gebruik eerder vir potjie maak
- Blitz - Universal SA term for fire lighters of any kind or brand, and a frequently asked question at many a braai: "Did anyone bring any blitz?"
- Bob Mugabe Braai - Could also be refered to as lam braai, as you all know, Mr. Mugabe (like the sheep) is not one of the brightest animals around.
- Boereworsgordyn - The name for the border that seperates Johannesburg & Pretoria. Also known as the Jukskei River
- boerie - abbreviation for 'boerewors'.
- Bokdopentjop - Bokdopentjop (Bok-dop-en-tjop) - appropriate for a 'bring and braai' - you may bring your bok (babe), your dop (drinks) and tjop (meat of choice)... :-)
- Braai Freedom - The abilty to braai when and almost where you like. A hard fought for freedom, not given away easily! :-)
- Braai Moffie - When a guy refuses to dirty his hands with charcoal to get a fire going.
- Braai Passenger - Peson/s that arrive for a bring & braai without meat. The "bring" part of the invitation refers to meat and not to yourself!
- Braai The Beloved Country - A political rally where meat is given away freely for those attending.
- Braaiathon - A very long braai
- Braaibroodjies - Delicious sarmies made with cheese, tomato and onion (and sometimes a dash of chutney added), then toasted SLOWLY on NOT TOO HOT coals till golden brown and the cheese has melted.
- Braaied Fruit - Its like dried fruit, but its braaied.
- Braaimeester - (1) Die mees ervare braaier tussen 'n klomp braaiers rondom 'n enkele braaivuur; (2) Die een met wie se braaivleisvuur jy nie inmeng sonder sy toestemming nie.
- braainie - the government and whoever else is against braai day
- Braaistard - The guy at the braai who steals your drink
- Brandoffer - My vrou eet graag haar worsie so
- Charcoal - A replacement for wood
- Charcoal - When meat has been braai'ed for too long - usually when the braaier had too much klippies and Coke or when SA scores a trie.
- Chirs Barnardjie - Uit die hart van die Karoo - Beaufort-Wes. 'n Gemarineerde skaaphartjie met 'n vulsel van uie, spek, sampioene, verskeie kase ens. Ongelooflik lekker!
- Clutchplaat - Erg verbrande vleis
- Cremate - As die vleis hopeloos te lank op die rooster gebly het en dit 'n goeie plaasvervanger vir jou Grasshopper se sool kan wees
- doek sag - a way of describing very tender meat, as in "hierie steakie is nou vi jou doek sag!"
- Donner - A rude word, it comes from the Afrikaans "donder" (thunder). Pronounced "dorner", it means "beat up." A team member in your rugby team can get donnered in a game, or your wife can donner you if you come back from a braai at three in the morning.
- Dop-en-Tjop - Bring&braai, Jy bring jou eie vleis en drank (Dop en Tjop) saam, die gasheer gee hout-en-sout.
- Eina - Widely used by all language groups, this word, derived from the Afrikaans, means "ouch." Pronounced "aynah". You can say it in sympathy when you see your friend the day after he got donnered by his wife.
- Goggles - form of protective eyewear that usually enclose or protect the eye area in order to prevent smoke from striking the eyes. This is caused normally as a result of a fire made by a learner fire starter.
- Hey - Often used at the end of a sentence to emphasize the importance of what has just been said, as in "You're only going to get donnered if you come in late again, hey?" It can also stand alone as a question. Instead of saying "excuse me?" or "pardon me?" when you have not heard something directed at you, you can always say: "Hey?"
- Houtskool - Waar jong braaiers gaan om te leer van verskillende soorte hout, wat die beste werk vir watter vleis, hoe lank elkeen neem om uit te brand, die tyd wat elkeen se kole hou voor dit as is, kap en saag tegnieke om toe te pas sowel as die geskiedenis, biologiese stamboom en oorsprong van die bome waar die hout vandaan kom.
- Houtskool - Wat Transvalers mee braai.
- Howzit - This is a universal South African greeting, and you will hear this word throughout the country. It is often accompanied with the word "Yes!" as in: "Yes, howzit?". In which case you answer "No, fine."
- Izit? - This is another great word to use in conversations. Derived from the two words "is" and "it", it can be used when you have nothing to contribute if someone tells you something at a braai. For instance, if someone would say: "The Russians will succeed in their bid for capitalism once they adopt a work ethic and respect for private ownership." It is quite appropriate to respond by saying: "Izit?"
- Jake White Braai - When it's O.K. to lose a few pieces of meat to the fire because in the end the meat that stays on the grill is what counts!
- Jammerlappie - Wat jy vir 'n mooi stukkie veld s? as jy daardeur met jou 4 x 4 gery het.
- Jammerlappie - Wat jy vir jou worshond , Lappies, s? as jy op sy stert getrap het.
- Jammerlappie - Wat jy jou hande mee afvee as jy klaar tjops en wors ge-eet het. Jy is jammer vir die lappie. As jy nie die jammerlappie gebruik het nie maar jou hande aan jou broek afgevee het dan s? jy jammerma.
- Janee - "Yes No" in English. Politics in South Africa has always been associated with family arguments and in some cases even with physical fights. It is believed that this expression originated with a family member who didn't want to get a klap or get donnerred, so he just every now and then muttered "ja-nee". Use it when you are required to respond, but would rather not choose to agree or disagree.
- Jawelnofine - This is another conversation fallback. Derived from the four words: "yes", "well", "no" and fine", it roughly means "OK". If your bank manager tells you your account is overdrawn, you can, with confidence, say: "Jawelnofine."
- Kalahari oester - Haal 'n litchi se pit uit, stop 'n mosseltjie in die plek van die pit, plaas 'n repie spek om die litchi, steek vas met 'n tandestokkie en braai in knoffelbotter
- kameeldrolle - Another way of referring to charcoal briquuettes.
- knortoffie - Iemand wat sommer lekker mislik is by n braai of "where-ever".Hy is n regte ou knortoffie.
- Krismisbraai - The braai that most South Africans have on the 25th of December. Kris (Christ) mis (mast)
- log off - Reduce heat of the fire by taking wood off
- log on - make the fire hotter by adding wood
- long reach - a long braai tong (vs "short reach"- a short braai tong)
- mopanie - nog prima braaihout
- Naas Botha Braai - When the person braaing drops everything!
- No woman. no braai - proposed anthem for National Braai Day
- number - It's the word you use for a song when you are at a braai. e.g. "hey play a leka number man"
- Paptert - (1) 'n Oondgereg wat bestaan uit Mieliepap bedek met tamatie en uie-sous en kaas; (2) 'n Goedkoop dronk vrou by 'n braai.
- Pofadder - Gestopte vetdermpie, ai, hoe water my bek!
- Polisiekoffie - Brandewyn
- Polisiekoffie - Brandewyn & Coke
- Referendum Braai - When everyone around the fire has a different opinion on how to braai. The dispute is solved over a good few beers with everyone having had the chance to add to the poll.
- Ribber - Useful abbreviation for ?Smoked Pork Ribs?
- Roofbraaier - Die persoon wat met lae kwaliteit vleissnitte opdaag by 'n braai, dit op die rooster gooi en uiteindelik iemand anders se top kwaliteit snit annekseer as sy eie.
- rooikrans - die hout waarmee kapenaars braai
- sekelbos - ook prima braaihout
- Shoemoer - Die stukkie yster wat 'n toeklaprooster se kante bymekaar hou wanneer jy braai.
- skilpad braai - min vleis, baie dop (daar word meer gedrink as gebraai)
- skilpadbraai - baie dop, min vleis
- Skilpadjie - Not the little turtle down at the garden hedge, Caul fat parcels filled with liver. Real artery plugs!
- skilpadjie - Lewertjie in netvet toegedraai op lekker warm kole
- Slappap - Suppose to be two seperate words but pronounced as one. It is traditional mielie pap but made "slap". No, it will not slap you and does not, unlike the 'tjops', have any beer or any form of alcohol in it. Dis nou vir jou 'n slappe!
- Smokie Robertson - ?Name for, or description off? an amateur braaier battling to get flames going, with lots of smoke as result of his or her incompetence. Useful utterance to irritate the fire starter at a braai. (Made popular by a character with the same name in Blitz advertisements in the 80?s)
- Sous - (1)iets wat jy oor vleis gooi (2) reen-weer wat interfere met die braai
- Sousatie - iets wat jy braai (maar dit is nie ‘n tjop nie)
- Souserig - hoe jy lyk as jy te veel eet
- spitbraai - This word has two meanings, 1. A form of braaing that involves a big piece of meat on rotary action shaft which evenly distributes heat over the meat that you're braaing. or 2. When you invite your friends over and they spit(shovel) whilst you enjoy a nice relaxing braai!
- taai-soet - Dis hoe jy voel nadat jy 'n paar gebraaide marshmollows weggeslaan het
- tan a tjop - Pronounced 'ten uh tjop' means a slow braai. Usually this starts when the boks play overseas and the game starts at 9am.
- Tan n vleisie - Braai
- Tjol - Dit wat die ou met die glas in die hand die heeltyd staan en verkoop aan die ou met die braaitang in die hand.
- tjopswaai - Tjopswaai: to braai; turning chops on the fire, preferably with a dop in your hand
- To Braai or Not to Braai...there is - The motto of International Braai Day...no doubt!
- Toastie - The wonderful sarmies made with cheese, tomato and onion, then toasted on the coals till golden brown and the cheese has melted.
- toeklaprooster - Two braai grids clampted together to hold boerewors etc for easy turning on the braai.
- Varknek - 1) Pork neck - usually rolled up tight with string 2) What you call someone who is rude and inconsiderate at a braai
- Varkstert - Tool for turning meat - long st/steel rod with sharpened barb at end (barb circular in shape and perpendicular to rod axis)
- Vleisie tan - Braai
- Vrotbroodjie - Lekker vars broodsnytjies met knoffelbotter gesmeer en in Foil toegemaak en op die rooster gebraai terwyl die vleis braai.
- Vrystaathamburger - Twee stukke stywe pap met 'n stuk slap pap tussenin.
- Wasistmitbier? - Term used frequently before & during braai by members of the braaiing team to ensure adequate hydration
- wingerdstompies - prima braaihout vir 'n warm vuur (Bolanders en Kapenaars braai daarmee)
- Zimbraai - a braai without meat
Everyone loves a barbecue, including vegetarians. Barbecues (BBQs, barbies or braais depending on where in the world you are) are almost perfect social gatherings, where you and your favourite people hang out in the fresh air, shoot the breeze and prepare to eat delicious food. Any occasion can be celebrated with a BBQ:
• Major (or minor) sports events
• Birthdays, wedding anniversaries, home comings, going away etc
• The fact that it’s Friday or Saturday, or Sunday, or Monday …
BBQ aficionados develop specialised techniques that they swear by, and won’t deviate from, under any circumstances. Some incorporate marinades or spice cocktails, others will only use wood, or only charcoal, while others combine the two. Wood users can be further subdivided by the wood they choose. Hickory, maple, apple, cherry and oak are favourites as they add to the flavour of the food cooked. Conifers also contribute to the flavour, but in an undesirable way and are generally avoided.
Outside gas grills or barbecues are used quite frequently in the UK and US, but tend to be shunned by Southern Hemisphere countries (Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa). They’re viewed as too easy and clean, and they don’t impart the full smoky flavour that is the essence of a good braai.
The phrase, “You don’t know what you’re missing”, is one that vegetarians hear all too often when it comes to outdoor cooking. Meat eaters think that they own the BBQ market and pity those who can’t appreciate a good piece of meat fresh from the barbie. In fact, people dread inviting vegetarians to a BBQ because they don’t know how to feed them. Vegetarians, meanwhile, roll their eyes and quietly go about sorting themselves out.
The truth is that you can cook anything on fire. Vegetable skewers, made from aubergines, courgettes, mushrooms and sweet peppers, are easy to make, and taste divine when barbecued. Instead of roasting veggies, take the same mix, wrap it in tinfoil and stick it on a fire for 40 minutes and you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven. Even brussel sprouts, that much maligned vegetable, get a new, smoky twist that make them out of this world edible.
Experiment with marinades and spices that can be applied to vegetables as well as meats. When it comes to vegetarian barbies, your imagination is your only limit, and if you’re truly stuck, try some old standbys: stick a corn cob and a couple of potatoes (sweet as well as regular) on the grill. Your veggie guests will appreciate the effort.
Braais needn’t only be reserved for main meals and savoury dishes. Grilled pineapple and brown sugar is delicious, so is BBQ’d banana, you can even leave them in their skins. Serve with a little ice-cream and you’re laughing. What could be easier?
For fun in the sun (and rain) you can’t beat a good barbie. So raid the fridge, light a fire and tap into the good life.
Sandra wrote this article for the online marketers DeckPro deck and patio builders Leaders in the field of decking and patio construction.
- Select your grill. Two options are common: gas and charcoal.
- On all grills, Consider size, features, and materials.
- Plan ahead, before buying your grill. Will you be cooking "for an army" or just for a family of 2? It's relatively easy to cook a small meal on a large grill, but the opposite is not true. Look for how much "cooking area" your prospective grill has. The average grill has around 600 square inches of cooking space, and will serve a small party fairly well. If you host big cookouts, shoot for 800 square inches or more, if you really only want to toss on a few burgers once in a while, the smallest you'll find without going "hibachi" style is maybe 400 square inches.
- Pay attention to additional features. Do you want a rotisserie? A smoker box? An external burner? Infrared cooking?
- One particularly important feature is the actual grill grates themselves. Cast Iron is the best for conducting heat, but it requires care to keep it from rusting. Porcelain coated metal (steel or cast-iron) grates do well at conducting heat, but must be cleaned with something other than steel (typically, a brass brush is used) to avoid damaging the porcelain and leaving the metal underneath vulnerable to rust. Stainless steel grates are easy to clean, without the worries of cast-iron or porcelain, but can wear out faster than well-maintained cast iron or porcelain.
- Gas grills are the most commonly used grill today. Many find them more convenient than charcoal as they start instantly and fuel purchases are needed less often. When selecting a gas grill, be aware of heat output (BTU's), and construction.
- Heat output is an important consideration. Since most grills allow for fine adjustment of gas flow, it's best to get the highest output you can afford. This will allow you to put a quick sear on food that you don't want to cook through (think of a really good cut of beef, a tuna steak, or scallops).
- There are many aspects of construction that must be considered, from the material the grill is made from to the warming racks. Personal preference will play a big roll in your choices. In general, it's important pay attention to the number of burners, as more burners equals more versatility. Also look for good wheels, preferably larger (not tiny casters), if you're going to be moving your grill around at all. Finally, pay attention to construction in general. If it feels flimsy, you probably won't be happy with it.
- Charcoal grills are still wildly popular, and preferred by purists. Charcoal offers better heat control (which means more versatility), and many find that good charcoal gives food a better "grilled" flavor. Look for heat control, construction, and style.
- Heat control is achieved by charcoal amount, placement, air flow, and level. It's best to find a grill that allows for adjustment of the height of the charcoal tray. Crank mechanisms are the best option, but hook and lever methods also work fine. Look for at least two adjustable vents, as well. Opening them for more oxygen makes for a hotter fire, closing them cools the fire somewhat, and also deprives flames of oxygen, helping to stop flare-ups.
- Helpful features in the construction of charcoal grill include easy access to ashes, be it through a drawer or a dumping mechanism. Also, not often included on charcoal grills (though almost always on gas grills, for some reason) is a thermometer. Thermometers are quite useful for smoking and roasting applications. They can, however, be purchased separately and installed if your grill does not come with one.
- There are two main styles of non-portable charcoal grill: Kettle and traditional. Kettle grills are great for straightforward grilling and small smoking applications. More traditional, rectangular charcoal grills are more versatile when it comes to setting up different zones of heat and smoking of larger products, but also typically take up more space.
- Locate your grill in an area that has a couple of feet of clearance between the hot box and anything flammable. Your grill should not be directly underneath low-hanging trees or a low roof, and it should not be against deck rails.
- Consider safety whenever you start your grill. Keep flammable materials far from the fire. Have a fire extinguisher or hose on hand for emergencies. Don't leave your grill unattended.
- Start your fire ahead of time. Charcoal takes longer than gas to heat up. Shoot for 10 minutes of preheating with gas, 20 to 25 with charcoal.
- Charcoal can be started many ways. It is ready to cook on when the coal is lightly ashed over and gray, not black.
- Ever popular lighter fluid works, but it is imperative that you let it all burn off before cooking, unless you like the taste of petroleum.
- Electric starters are also available, which use a cal-rod style heating element placed under the coals. They work very well, but do require a source of electricity, and cords can present a trip/burn hazard if not carefully monitored.
- Chimney starters use a metal cylinder with perforations to hold the charcoal on top, and a couple of sheets of newspaper on the bottom. They work quickly and are inexpensive. Light the newsprint and the heat flows upward, igniting the coals. Have a place to put the chimney after use, as it will be red-hot. Another benefit to chimney starters is that they can be used to prepare extra charcoal if you need to refresh your pile. Just be sure to do it on top of a very heat-resistant surface, such as a cinderblock or the bottom of an upturned galvanized steel bucket.
- Clean the grill. Use your wire brush to scrub off the bars, and then use a damp or oiled cloth and tongs to do the fine cleaning. If your cloth was wet, not oiled, be sure to use some cooking spray on the grates afterward.
- Close the grill and allow the bars to heat for another minute or so (for nice grill marks).
- Add the food, but don't do it haphazardly. If you're cooking for a large party, try to be deliberate in your placement of food, so that you can maximize the amount cooking all at once. That said, do not crowd the food together, as it needs some space both for better cooking and for you to be able to snatch it out or flip it. Also, pay attention to hot spots. Maybe someone likes their burger more rare than the rest, put theirs on the side that's cooler. If your grill is pretty even, just put it on slightly later than the rest. Once you've added the food, do not flip it or move it (unless you want to turn it slightly for cross-hatched grill marks) until you believe it's halfway done.
- Stop "flame-ups" caused by fatty foods dripping onto the fire by closing the grill momentarily and depriving the flames of oxygen. Dropping the burner temperature or lowering the charcoal may also be wise. If the flames are persistent, use a spritzer bottle filled with water to hit the base of the flames.
- Flip the food, only when it is approximately halfway done. Frequent flipping can lead to uneven cooking, ugly food, and more mistakes (like losing a piece down into the fire).
- Ensure doneness. Experienced grillers don't need to check the food very often, but until you're comfortable, a thermometer plunged into the center of the food is the best method to be sure (instant read for small items, probe style if you're grilling a large item such as a whole chicken or pork tenderloin). Slicing, piercing, or breaking a piece of food in half will make it dry out very quickly, as all the juices will run out of it.
- Burgers made of beef are best done to medium or better, because of the risk of bacteria being ground into the meat. If you grind your own, from carefully trimmed cuts, this precaution is not necessary. Burgers made of other meats should be cooked to at least "medium" as well, except in the case of meats that should be fully cooked such as turkey or chicken.
- Steak is often eaten raw when it's provided by a trusted source. Cook it to desired doneness over a very hot grill.
- Chicken must be completely cooked before eating. If any of the meat is not opaque, it must be cooked further. In the case of a whole bird, a probe thermometer plunged into the deepest part of the breast must register that the bird is done. Another classic way of checking is to pierce the meat and ensure that the juices run clear, but, then, you're losing all of that yummy juice.
- Pork in the USA no longer has to be cooked well done to be safe. A slight pinkness in the meat is both desired and delicious. In other regions of the world, it may be wise to continue cooking until the meat is opaque.
- A myriad of other foods can be grilled, from fish to turkey to leg of lamb and more. Please follow the same basic food safety precautions with them that you would if you were cooking them any other way.
- Remove your food to a plate, platter, or other vessel and cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil (if you don't have starving guests hovering already) for at least 5 minutes. This allows juices to redistribute so that they do not run out as soon as the food is cut or bitten into. In the case of large cuts, taking the food off the grill and covering when the thermometer registers 5 degress (10 for an exceptionally large item) less than the recommended or desired doneness is achieved is a good idea, as resting it will allow "carryover cooking" to finish the job. A large piece of meat cooked to exactly the right doneness temperature on the grill will invariably be overcooked by the time that it hits the table.
- Serve your food immediately after the resting period is over. A successful meal will, of course, have side dishes and beverages that you prepared ahead of time or alongside the main course. Don't forget the condiments.
- General Grilling Tips:
- Brine or marinate your meats before cooking. Brining will especially make for more juicy pork, chicken, or turkey. Basic brine is about 1/8 cup of table salt to 1 quart of water. Make sure you have enough to cover the meat. Broth may be used instead of water (adjust for salt), a little sugar (honey, brown sugar, molasses) may be added if desired, seasonings (almost anything) can also be added for more flavorful meat. If marinating, be sure your marinade does not have too much sugar, else it will burn on the grill.
- Most sauces, especially high sugar ones, such as barbecue sauce, should be added at the last minute, to avoid burning. Baste, give a quick turn baste the other side. Give a minute for sugars to caramelize, if you wish, but do not leave it too long, as burnt sugar is not very tasty.
- Grilling vegetables is a great way to make a hot side dish without heating up the kitchen. Most veggies do just fine on the grill if sliced, tossed in a little oil, salt, and pepper, and grilled. Keep in mind relative cooking times, as, say, carrots will take a lot longer than zucchini. Purchase a perforated metal grill-topper if your veggies are narrow enough to fall through the grates. (or you could use an iron skillet, but you will not get direct heat from the grill that way, or as much charcoal-grilled flavor, if applicable.
- Keeping your grill and grill area clean, dry, and uncluttered is not just aesthetically pleasing, but safer and cost effective. Grills will deteriorate quickly if left wet and out in the rain, especially charcoal ones (because wet wood ash is caustic and will rust through the grill very quickly). Wheel your grill inside as soon as it is cool, or purchase a grill cover.
- Gas Grilling Tips:
- Use Lava Rocks to distribute heat. Since heat largely goes straight up, the heat distribution on a gas grill is naturally uneven (because the gas burner only partially covers of the bottom of the grill). A layer of lava rocks will absorb the heat and redistribute it more evenly to the cooking surface.
- Buy a second propane tank to avoid the headaches of accidentally running out of gas, forgetting to refill, or forgetting to shut off the grill. It is a small investment that is well worth the added expense.
- When done grilling, be sure to shut the propane off at the tank, not just the burners. This will prevent slow leaks, which is both more safe and more cost effective. Be sure, also, to put the cap over the connector for your spare tank.
- Charcoal Grilling Tips:
- There are 2 different types of charcoal, briquettes and chunk. Briquettes are densely packed and formed from very small bits of wood, like sawdust, whereas chunk is naturally created from actual chunks of wood that have had almost everything but the carbon burned out of them. Both have their advantages. Briquettes last longer (so they're probably the best choice for a large cookout), whereas chunks burn hotter (faster grilling, better searing). In the end it's a matter of choice, but it is recommended that, if you are going to use briquettes, use all-natural ones, as they have better flavor and add less chemicals to your food.
- Tips for using your grill in other ways:
- Pizza can be cooked right on the grill. The best method is to stretch the dough and place it right on the (well cleaned and lubricated) grill. Allow it to cook for a minute or so, then flip it (a pizza peel is very useful for this, but not crucial if you are fast with your hands). Quickly add toppings and close the grill. Check often to ensure that the bottom is not burning. Remove from heat when the toppings are heated through and the dough is golden brown. Use indirect heat (i.e. just one burner or charcoal on one side, pizza on the other) to avoid burning the bottom if the top is not fully cooked. Alternately, putting the pizza on a non-insulated pizza pan or cookie sheet, topping it, throwing it on the grill, and closing the grill will yield great results, as well, though without as much charcoal grill flavor (if applicable).
- Smoking and Slow Roasting are a great application of grills, in which indirect heat is used to slowly cook a larger piece of meat, be it a slab of ribs or a turkey. Brining ahead of time will help to ensure moistness. To smoke, soak wood chips for half an hour, and then put them in a heavy duty foil "boat", right on top of the coals or burner. Replenish them often, and spritz them with water if they start to actually ignite. Rotate the meat every few hours to prevent uneven cooking. This process will take 6+ hours if done properly, but the meat will be delicious. Just be sure your fire is hot enough to get the inside of the grill to 200 degrees, else you are risking food contamination.
- Slap a good quality, thick metal griddle on top of your grill and you have a perfect place to cook breakfast. Bacon, eggs, sausage, pancakes, French toast... All are easily cookable on the grill, with a decent griddle. Do not leave a griddle that has a nonstick teflon coating on the grill without food for a long period of time, though, as teflon can release toxic gases if it reaches temperatures in excess of 600 degrees F.
- Grilling involves flames and high heat. Keep all accelerants and flammable materials far from your grill, including lighters and lighter fluid. It is wise to keep a hose and/or fire extinguisher nearby, as well.
- Children should be kept far from the grill when at play, warned about it, and monitored closely. If a child is using the grill (for instance, to toast marshmallows) they should be very closely supervised by an adult. Pets should be left inside or chained up in a manner that the cannot reach the grill.
- Deep Frying is a wonderful way to cook food. However, it is a perilous activity when grilling. If you must do it, it is critical that your pot have several inches of clearance above the oil level, as food raises the level of the oil, and it boils up when food is added. A thermometer should be used to ensure that the oil never gets close to its flashpoint (i.e. less than 400 degrees F, in general), and it is critical that a grease-fire approved fire extinguisher be kept on hand at all times. Do not leave the oil unattended, even for a minute.
Things You'll Need
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- Grill spatula
- Long, spring-loaded tongs
- Wire grill brush
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Heatproof gloves
- Instant-read thermometer
- Probe-style thermometer
- Fire Extinguisher and/or Hose
- Spritzer Bottle