The Basics Of Barbecueing

This article covers the basics of barbequing. Included are types of grills, grilling accessories, and foods that are popular for outdoor barbeques.

Grilling is a simple and tasty way to enjoy many of your favorite foods. Barbeques are a popular activity when friends and family get together. This form of cooking is so popular that three out of four homes have some type of barbeque grill. Grills have grown and changed over the years and so have some of the food choices.

Methods

Though the terms grilling and barbequing are used interchangeably, they are two different things. Grilling is usually done over high heat and the outside of the meat is seared to lock in flavor. This technique is generally used for steaks. Barbequing is cooking the meat at a lower heat. This is how chicken is often cooked on a grill. The chicken is cooked slowly and slathered with any number of BBQ sauces. Smoking is another form of slow cooking. This method relies on the natural flavors of wood or charcoal to flavor the meat.

Types of Grills

Charcoal - Charcoal grills are inexpensive and use charcoal briquettes to provide heat. The briquettes are arranged in the bottom of the grill and lit. When they burn down they are still very hot, though no visible flame can be seen. A grill rack is then placed over the charcoal. It is not easy to control the heat on this type of grill but food moved to the outside of the grill will often receive less heat and will cook more slowly. These grills come with or without lids.



Gas - Gas grills are probably the most common type of grill used today. This type of grill is usually ignited with the push of a button. The heat source is a gas that is contained within a tank and connected to the grill by a long tube. The heat produced by gas grills can be adjusted very easily, much like you would adjust the heat on your stovetop. Some models have lava stones or briquettes in the bottom of the grill to help add flavor to the cooking meat.

Slow Cooker - This grill also uses charcoal as a heat source. The charcoal is located in a pan at the bottom of the grill. About a foot above the charcoal is a water pan. This pan is filled with water to help keep the food moist as it cooks. The food is then placed on a grill rack above the water pan. Food cooked on this type of grill takes a very long time to cook but is often worth the wait.

Accessories

You cannot cook on a grill without utensils. Most grill utensils look much like the ones you find in your kitchen. They are generally made of metal and wood and have a longer handle to keep your skin from coming too close to the hot flame. A simple BBQ kit might contain a spatula, tongs, a sauce brush, and a two-pronged fork. An important accessory to have is a meat thermometer. You should always make sure food is properly cooked before it is served to your family and your guests. If you are using a grill that requires charcoal you will need long matches to light the briquettes. Potholders are a good idea when dealing with hot food. Some people like to have an apron to protect their clothing from grease splatters and the various BBQ sauces they may be using.

Food

The most common foods grilled in the backyard are hamburgers, hotdogs, and chicken. Chicken can be grilled with any number of BBQ sauces depending on what you prefer. Chicken can also be marinated before cooking to add extra taste. Some people also grill salmon fillets and shrimp. Steaks and ribs are also very popular and can be seasoned to taste.

Vegetables are becoming more and more popular for summer cookouts. Corn has always been popular. It is often wrapped in tinfoil and deposited directly on the hot coals. Other vegetables can be grilled as well. They can be marinated and put into tinfoil. They are then set next to the meat as it cooks. Adding water or extra marinade will steam the vegetables. Ribs and various roasts can be done in a slow cooker. They are often juicy and full of flavor.

Experiment with any food choice you may want to try. Barbequing is a great excuse to bring people together. Remember to keep your grill clean and follow all suggestions in your grill manual for proper use of your equipment. Always remember to keep things safe to ensure a great grilling experience.

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