You’d think that living in Southern California would mean I was an expert at grilling. It’s often cooler outside…at least in the evenings…than it is inside. That is not the case, however. For the most part, my husband has been the grillmaster. Now that we have a really nice gas grill, I’m trying my wings.
Choosing a Grill: There are several different types of BBQ grills. Hibachis are a sort of tabletop grill (though they cannot be used indoors safely). If you have limited space outdoors or if you want a portable charcoal grill, these are ideal.
Regular charcoal grills are also available and can produce some good food. We keep a portable propane grill for our RV excursions but the pride of the household is our new gas grill. It comes with everything but the kitchen sink.
Check for Occupants: There is a (now) funny story for this. I was visiting my mother-in-law who has an ancient gas grill. My husband and I are the only ones who cook on it, and as her home is 100 miles from ours, it’s not frequently used…by humans.
One day I went out to grill some meat, flipped the lid, yelped and leapt backwards. The mamma and papa voles who had set up housekeeping in the grill pretty much did the same thing. We didn’t have barbecue that night…
To Chip or Not To Chip: Wood chips can be used in both gas and charcoal grills. Be aware that they can make a mess in gas grills. There are many different types of wood chips and they can impart a special flavor to what’s being grilled. They need to soak for at least twenty minutes before being put into the grill because what you want is the smoke, not the burned wood. I can tell you that having a smoke smell in the barbecue does deter rodent families from moving in.
Skewers: Now I have metal skewers. Before I (tried to) use bamboo skewers. These need to be soaked prior to use as well, but if there are flames involved they will catch fire once the water dries out. Then you have a lot of small pieces of whatever was grilled imbedded with bamboo. This is not always easy on the mouth.
Fat and Fire: You may think this silly, but it needs said. If there is a lot of fat in what you are cooking, it will catch what you are cooking on fire. Case in point, trying to barbecue an untrimmed tri tip roast. I had to rescue it from the flames and finish cooking it in the oven.
Grilling is a lot of fun, even when there are surprises and mistakes. I intend to keep practicing, especially during the hot summer months here in Southern California.