While grilling is a fairly simple process, there is an art behind it and a seemingly endless variety of cooking methods and special recipes. That's where Steven Raichlen comes in. This master griller has 11 commandments for divine grilling straight from his Barbecue Bible.
An award-winning author, journalist, TV host and cooking teacher who runs the Barbecue U at Greenbrier resort, Raichlen's best-selling cookbook series and Barbecue University TV show on PBS have virtually reinvented American barbecue.
Steven Raichlen's 10 Grilling Commandments
- BE ORGANIZED. Have everything you need for grilling -- the food, marinade, basting sauce, seasonings, and equipment -- on hand and at grillside before you start grilling.
- GAUGE YOUR FUEL. There's nothing worse than running out of charcoal or gas in the middle of grilling. When using charcoal, light enough to form a bed of glowing coals 3 inches larger on all sides than the surface area of the food you're planning to cook. (A 22 1/2-inch grill needs one chimney's worth of coals.) When cooking on a gas grill, make sure the tank is at least one-third full.
- PREHEAT THE GRILL TO THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE. Remember: Grilling is a high-heat cooking method. In order to achieve the seared crust, charcoal flavor, and handsome grill marks associated with masterpiece grillmanship, you must cook over a high heat. How high? At least 500°F. Although I detail this elsewhere, it is worth repeating: When using charcoal, let it burn until it is covered with a thin coat of gray ash. Hold your hand about 6 inches above the grate. After 3 seconds, the force of the heat should force you to snatch your hand away. When using a gas grill, preheat to high (at least 500°F); this takes 10 to 15 minutes. When indirect grilling, preheat the grill to 350°F.
- KEEP IT CLEAN. There's nothing less appetizing than grilling on dirty old burnt bits of food stuck to the grate. Besides, the food will stick to a dirty grate. Clean the grate twice: once after you've preheated the grill and again when you've finished cooking. The first cleaning will remove any bits of food you may have missed after your last grilling session. Use the edge of a metal spatula to scrape off large bits of food, a stiff wire brush to finish scrubbing the grate.
- KEEP IT LUBRICATED. Oil the grate just before placing the food on top, if necessary (some foods don't require that the grates be oiled).
- Spray it with oil (away from the flames), use a folded paper towel soaked in oil, or rub it with a piece of fatty bacon, beef fat, or chicken skin.
- TURN, DON'T STAB. The proper way to turn meat on a grill is with tongs or a spatula. Never stab the meat with a carving fork -- unless you want to drain the flavor-rich juices onto the coals.
- KNOW WHEN TO BASTE Oil-and-vinegar-, citrus-, and yogurt-based bastes and marinades can be brushed on the meat throughout the cooking time. (If you baste with a marinade that you used for raw meat or seafood, do not apply it during the last 3 minutes of cooking.) When using a sugar-based barbecue sauce, apply it toward the end of the cooking time. The sugar in these sauces burns easily and should not be exposed to prolonged heat.
- KEEP IT COVERED. When cooking larger cuts of meat and poultry, such as a whole chicken, leg of lamb, or prime rib, use the indirect method of grilling or barbecuing. Keep the grill tightly covered and resist the temptation to peek. Every time you lift the lid, you add 5 to 10 minutes to the cooking time.
- GIVE IT A REST. Beef, steak, chicken -- almost anything you grill-will taste better if you let it stand on the cutting board for a few minutes before serving. This allows the meat juices, which have been driven to the center of a roast or steak by the searing heat, to return to the surface. The result is a juicier, tastier piece of meat.
- NEVER DESERT YOUR POST. Grilling is an easy cooking method, but it demands constant attention. Once you put something on the grill (especially when using the direct method), stay with it until it's cooked. This is not the time to answer the phone, make the salad dressing, or mix up a batch of your famous mojitos. Above all, have fun. Remember that grilling isn't brain surgery. And that's the gospel!
BBQ U Huli Huli Pineapple
Method: spit roasting
- 1 large ripe pineapple
Note: When buying pineapple, look for a yellow rind and a musky, fruity aroma. These are the signs of ripe, sweet
For the glaze:
- 1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup dark rum
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 1 pint blackberry or blueberry ice cream or sorbet for serving (optional)
You'll also need a rotisserie and 8 martini glasses (optional)
1. Cut the rind off the pineapple, leaving the leafy crown intact. A serrated knife works best. Even after you've removed the rind, you'll notice some diagonal rows of "eyes" (brown spots)-cut these out, making long diagonal V-shaped cuts to give the pineapple a rippled spiral effect.
2. Make the glaze. Combine the butter, brown sugar, rum, cream, lime juice, cinnamon and salt in a heavy saucepan and cook over high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until thick and syrupy, 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
3. Set up your grill for spit-roasting and preheat to high.
4. Using a long slender knife, make starter holes in the crown end and base of the pineapple, pushing the knife lengthwise through the center to facilitate inserting the spit. Working gently but firmly, insert the rotisserie spit through the pineapple. (Be sure to have the first set of prongs on already.) Tighten the prongs. Loosely cover the pineapple leaves with foil. Place the end of the spit in the rotisserie motor socket and turn on the motor.
5. Spit-roast the pineapple until golden brown and tender, about 1 hour, basting with glaze every 15 minutes. You should have about half the glaze leftover for serving.
6. To serve, remove the pineapple from the spit and unwrap the leaves. Show it off whole-talk about way cool. Then cut it crosswise into slices for serving. Drizzle each slice with leftover glaze.
7. For the ultimate gilding of the lily, cut the pineapple slices in quarters and serve over blackberry ice cream in martini glasses. Spoon the glaze on top and garnish each glass with a pineapple leaf.
You can get more tips and recipes from his Raichlen's website, BarbecueBible.com.
Music Break: Jaqanada Sleeps by Mad Finder