Friday, August 26, 2005

Kefta

Someone linked me to this recipie for Kefta, which is apparently some sort of grilled kebab that you can make out of hamburger or any other ground meat. Looks tasty and open to modification, so I think I'm going to give it a shot tonight.

Also, I received my new grill accessories last night, a lid holder and some tool hooks.

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

New Sauce

I whipped up a custom mop sauce on the fly tonight, lacking some of my preferred store-bought marinades and not really being in the mood for the usual BBQ sauce. Basically it was composed of honey, mustard, ketchup, butter, garlic and some hot sauce, which I simmered for about 20 minutes on the stove. Came out great! Perfect viscosity to adhere to the chicken breasts we cooked tonight. Good corn and some veggie kabobs rounded out the meal this evening. I've noticed this weekend that vegetables in particular do an excellent job of soaking up the mesquite wood chip flavor.

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Accessorize for Success

When I was up in Maine for my birthday, Mom hooked me up with one of those charcoal chimney things, and this past week I gave it a trial run. You basically stuff the bottom with paper, which is seperated from your charcoal by a metal grate on the inside of the chimney. Touching off the paper lights the bottom layer of coals, which in turn heat up and light the ones above them. Oxygen is drawn up through the bottom, which facilitates a fast transition to glowing coal perfection.



The primary benefit here is twofold: first, and most importantly, one can avoid using any sort of liquid fuel to start your coals. No lighter fluid, no 'match light' presoaked charcoal. This contributes to the overall taste of your grilled foods enormously. Secondly, the coals heat much faster and more evenly than the traditional 'raging fireball explosion' method. Also when the paper is first burning, you get a large amount of white smoke pouring out of the chimney in a sort of mad scientist's beaker effect.

Also, I found a cooking shop that sells mesquite chips which went great with some bbq chicken and steak we had yesterday afternoon. Looking forward to firing up some more tonight.

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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Birthday & Football

The stars were truly aligned last night, as the birthday of yours truly and the start of the Patriot's preseason aligned together on one swelteringly hot August evening. While most don't get too excited for the preseason, there is an argument to be made for watching football outdoors in flip flops. I will be looking back on this Friday night cookout with fond memories sometime in January.

Even since I was about 14, when Mom asked "What should we have for dinner on your birthday?" the answer has always been BBQ, and usually ribs. Keeping this tradition alive, I prepared some of the brown sugar rubbed BBQ ribs that have been such a popular item this year. Cassie made a wonderful dish of tomatos with fresh basil and mozzarella, and also the amazing buffalo wings she's been getting so good at making (we have been on a personal quest to master the buffalo wing for sometime now, and I think she is just about there).

We propped the tv up in a window and sat on the porch grilling while the Pat's marched their new team members to victory against the Bengals. Cassie overdid the birthday gifts per usualy with an Apple Mighty Mouse and some Bang & Olufsen headphones. Probably the best BBQ of the summer.

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Monday, August 08, 2005

Grilled Squid

Ben wrote in with the following question:

Have you ever tried grilling squid? Do you even like squid? I've heard a good technique is to wrap a brick in foil and lay it on top of the squid so that it cooks evenly. About 30 seconds on high heat should be good. I'm not sure what to marinate them in or what to rub on. Any suggestions?

The brick technique sounds interesting, almost like a pressed grilled sandwich. I must admit to have zero experience with the bbq squid; in fact the majority of my squid cuisine experience involved eatting them raw (alive, actually) out of a mackrel trap in Maine I was helping my father and uncle tend. My guess would be that some sort of bbq sauce or teriyaki might go well with squid, but thats just off the top of my head.

If you know of any good squid recipes or grilling techniques, drop them off at hi [at] nattarbox dot com and I'll share them with the rest of the BBQ Blog readers.

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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Sizzlin' Like Fajita Meat!

Fajitas on the grill might be my new favorite dish. I got a couple flank steaks, cut them into good sized strips, and marinated for an hour in fajita sauce and lime juice. Grilled those first so they had time to cool off a little bit, and then cooked some peppers and onions, also in the fajita sauce, using a small frying pan over the grill.

The best part however is actually grilling the fajitas. They sort of puff up these air bubbles after being on the grill for 30 seconds, and the bubbles can grow to hilarious proportions. They're easily flattened out however. You can throw the cheese on the fajita after you flipped it once if you want it to melt. Delicious.

I just kinda made it up as I went along, but this page looks to be a good starting point for grilling fajitas yourself.

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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Buffalo Burgers

I got this great recipie for making hamburgers with blue cheese (or bleu I suppose if you want to get fancy). Basically it involves putting a chunk or two of hard blue cheese in the center of your patty, which in turn melts and permeates the meat while its on the grill. Its a great recipie, but it got me thinking: where one finds blue cheese, one expects buffalo wing sauce.

So my first attempt didn't work out so well, but I'll share it here so others can learn from it and as part of the documentation process. Generally a true grill master never admits defeat, but in the interests of science or something I'll let it slide this time.

Basically my first approach was to work in some buffalo sauce with the hamburger before forming the patties. Now as anyone knows, you don't go light on buffalo sauce (by the way, I use Frank's Red Hot Wing Sauce, which is pretty much the best you can get without going to some specialty store down south or whatever). So anyway, I mixed it in with the meat and immediately noticed that this had the effect of causing the hamburger to become almost mushy. The patties totally lacked the kind of cohesion you generally expect in a well made burger. I formed them up around the blue cheese chunks and put them in the fridge for awhile, hoping they would firm up.

When it came time to grill, they really hadn't solidfied at all, making them far too delicate for grilling. I only made three, and one fell apart immediately. The other two made it through alright, but I noticed that the meat had dried out considerably. Not to the point where it wasn't tasty, but it wasn't the moist, delicious hamburger one would expect. Also, despite having used a large amount of wingsauce, the flavor just really didn't permeate the way I was hoping for.

So my next attempt, I'm leaning towards creating the patties first, and then marinating them in wing sauce. That, combined with a liberal basting towards the end of the cooking cycle might do a better job of carrying the buffalo flavor to the dinner plate.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Ribs!

Dudes, I must apologize for slacking on the BBQ Blog. I have been super busy this summer, and even though I manage to cook out on the grill three or four times a week, I have been remiss in writing about it online.

Last Friday Cassie went up to Maine, which meant it was a good night to eat all the things she is fussy about. Hence we had some big ol' pork ribs (not the babyback kind mind you, the big meaty ones), hit with my brown sugar rub and steeped in a delicious BBQ sauce I have been working on (recipie soon, just needs a little more tweaking).

Cooked for about forty five minutes over indirect heat, these babies came mout sweet, tender and delicious. Melt in your mouth delicious.

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