With Memorial Day and the official (American) opening of summer, legions of manly men move to their backyards and decks with barbeque forks in hand, cooking meats and vegetables outdoors, the way god intended it and cave men and families lived it!
Everyone has secret recipes and secret techniques. I am sure you have your favorite cooks who do good barbeques and the ones whom you are encouraging to give it up! I’ve been told my barbeques are o.k., so here are my secrets revealed!
Number one secret is to choose the right grill. For me it is easier to use a gas grill. More convenient, easier to manage and most importantly no charcoal liquid marinade! It is harder to use charcoal grills and if you’re going to use them make sure you know what you are doing and when to add the meat because it requires more attention and expertise and patience.
I have a $99 Wal-Mart gas grill which has been faithfully doing the job for the past couple of years. The more you cook with your grill the more confident you become. I don’t try to cook on other people’s grills because I don’t know enough about them. I just know the correct combination for my grill. Just remember to give enough space if your house has a vinyl siding so as not to burn the house down or cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to the siding.
Number two secret is to use a variety of marinades (specially for chicken) so as to keep your hungry crowd guessing. I am like Hugo Agga Go, the mad scientist, mixing recipes and spices and coming up with my own maajoons (concoctions). Just remember to keep the enemy mixes separate, so it doesn’t explode on your grill or your mouth!
This weekend I mixed mesquite barbeque sauce with lime juice, pomegranate paste, some pomegranate vinaigrette, a little yogurt, olive oil and a variety of Indian, Iranian and American spices (no rosemary, sometimes the enemy mix). You can also use some international pre-made marinades in bottles and add your own spices. There are hundreds of marinades in your grocery stores from different countries.
Stab your meat several times with a bigger fork so it can absorb the marinade. No need to necessarily keep your meat in the marinade overnight. 1 or 2 hours of soaking is enough, although overnight is better.
My number three secret is that after I put the meat on the grill and brush or sprinkle some of the mix on the meat; drop some of the left over mix on the grill’s hot metal itself to create more smoke and flavor for the meat. It also creates oohs and ahhs from your guests waiting to be served a smoked home made meal fresh off the grill. Slice a little of your meat to check if it is thoroughly cooked, or you can use a meat thermometer for show : -) Remember in addition to knowing how to cook, you also need to create a show, an illusion!
Lastly don’t forget cleaning and maintaining your grill. Take the time and scrub the grill with metal mesh and preheat your grill before using it.
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