Barbecue

I’m soooo hungry from working on this. There’s nothing like a good barbecue. Unless it’s a good grilling out. Yes, there is a difference. Read on to find what that difference is. And don’t forget: plenty of napkins and carry your Tide Stick!  :)))

 

This past weekend, after the rain, wind and “felt like it was coming” snowstorm, I had a chance to relax a bit after helping the kids with some DIY projects at their homes.  Like most of us, I stood in the backyard, with my chicken grilling, and beverage of choice in hand, enjoying the wonderful aroma of barbequed chicken.  My results were delicious, although most of my grilling expertise comes from trial and error, not really knowing the inner secrets of great grilled barbeque chicken – marinades, high/low heat, cooking times, temperatures, resting time, etc.  So, I got on the internet and went hunting for some great chicken grilling tips and recipes – and of course, no surprise, there’s a ton of them.  I learned there’s a difference between “grilling” and “barbeque” and I found a fun site, girlsatthegrill.com filled with wonderful info, and also some great recipes, like picnic chicken, South American Chimichurri sauce, alfredo with grilled apples, and more (visit tasteofhome.com)  (man, just thinking about these is getting me hungry!!). Now, one of the best parts will be to see how many of these recipes can be used with other meats especially since one of my good buds doesn’t like chicken! Enjoy, and be sure to email me your favorite tips at skowalski@khtheat.com – and I’ll share with our readers.  Thanks to girlsatthegrill.com, tasteofhome.com, toriavey.com and YouTube for the info.  ENJOY!

The history of grilling begins shortly after the domestication of fire, some 500,000 years ago. The backyard ritual of grilling as we know it, though, is much more recent. Until well into the 1940s, grilling mostly happened at campsites and picnics. After World War II, as the middle class began to move to the suburbs, backyard grilling caught on, becoming all the rage by the 1950s.

A common misconception: grilling and barbecuing are not the same thing. While the terms are often used interchangeably, grilling and barbecuing are two very different cooking methods. Grilling is the most basic form of cooking—it is, quite simply, the method of cooking a food directly over an open flame or high heat source. Barbecue, on the other hand, is a low and slow method of cooking over indirect heat. Because of the long, slow cooking process, barbecued meat soaks up the smoky flavors and spice rubs, rendering the finished product moist and tender. Barbecue is more suited to bigger, tougher cuts of meat that do well with slow, even cooking (think brisket, tri-tip, ribs, and pulled pork). Grilling is reserved for foods that can cook more quickly—hamburgers, steaks, chicken, hot dogs, seafood and vegetables.

It’s impossible to pinpoint exactly where these cooking methods were first used. Anthropologists have never come to a consensus on when our earliest ancestors first learned to “cook” and prepare food. Current estimates place the advent of cooking anywhere between 2 million and 300,000 years ago—a pretty wide range.

Our American appreciation of barbecue has roots in the Caribbean. The word barbecue likely originated with the Caribbean Taino Indians, who would smoke or dry meat over a frame made of green sticks.

From its earliest Caribbean roots, barbecue settled in the state of Virginia, then moved south through North and South Carolina, Georgia, the Appalachians and into Tennessee and Kentucky. From there, barbecue moved westward as Americans began to settle the West. By the early 19th century, barbecue hit Texas (where it obviously made a big impression), then moved all through the Southwest before finally reaching the Pacific coastline. Today, barbecue is popular nationwide, but remains most culturally significant to the states of the South and West.

Barbecue also has strong ties to African American culture. Black communities in the South embraced barbecue as an affordable way to cook and enjoy meat, leading it to become one of several core soul food dishes. When migrating North in the early 1900’s, they brought barbecue with them. By the mid-century, barbecue restaurants run by black cooks and their families had cropped up in cities across the United States.

The direct descendant of that original American barbecue is Eastern Carolina-style pit barbecue, which traditionally starts with the whole hog and, after as many as fourteen hours over coals, culminates in a glorious mess of pulled pork doused with vinegar sauce and eaten on a hamburger bun, with coleslaw on the side.

Early colonial barbecues were often large group events – loud, unruly, and populated with heavy drinkers. (Glad to see we haven’t lost too much of the old-time traditions!)

It wasn’t until the 1890’s that barbecued foods became commercially available. As the popularity of barbecue grew, men who considered themselves to be barbecue experts recognized a market and began charging for their services during holidays and public ceremonies. At first, they cooked the food in temporary tents that could be moved from place to place. These barbecue tents eventually turned into permanent indoor structures, which became the earliest barbecue restaurants. While barbecue was fast becoming a commercial enterprise, backyard barbecues, often referred to as “cookouts,” saw a rise in popularity.

Over the years, regional variations developed, leaving us today with four distinct styles of barbecue.

  • Carolina-style has split into Eastern, Western and South Carolina-style, with variations largely in the sauce: South Carolina uses a mustard sauce; Western Carolina uses a sweeter vinegar-and-tomato sauce.
  • Memphis barbecue is probably what most of us think of when we think of BBQ — pork ribs with a sticky sweet-and-sour tomato-based mopping sauce.
  • Texas, being cattle country, has always opted for beef cooked “cowboy style” usually brisket, dry-rubbed and smoked over mesquite with a tomato-based sauce served on the side, almost as an afterthought.
  • Kansas City lies at the crossroads of BBQ nation. Fittingly, you’ll find a little bit of everything there — beef and pork, ribs and shoulder, etc. What brings it all together is the sauce: sweet-hot, tomato-based KC barbecue sauce is a classic in its own right, and the model for most supermarket BBQ sauces.

In suburban Chicago, George Stephen, a metalworker by trade and a tinkerer by habit, had grown frustrated with the flat, open brazier-style grills common at the time. Once he inherited controlling interest in the Weber Bros. Metal Spinning Co, a company best-known as a maker of harbor buoys, he decided the buoy needed some modification. He cut it along its equator, added a grate, used the top as a lid and cut vents for controlling temperature. The Weber grill was born, and backyard cooking has never been the same.

For those who like to “grill”, (no sauces) this comes from girlsatthegrill website – The Grilling Trilogy – The story of the holy trilogy of grilling (or Grilling Trilogy™ for short) is a simple one. Years ago, they developed this technique to use in grill trainings for chefs and food writers, teaching the techniques of grilling without the flourishes (of other flavors). Just oil, salt and pepper.

Oil is truly essential, and you don’t need to use very much. Coat all the outside surfaces with a thin layer of olive or vegetable oil. They prefer olive oil for everything, but you can use any kind of oil except butter because it burns easily. And remember, grilling is intrinsically low-fat and healthy because you aren’t frying or sautéing in oil or butter. If you don’t oil the food, it will dry out and become tasteless.

Likewise, salt is very important. It is a natural mineral, and used in moderation, and is the most important ingredient (besides the food itself) for great taste. There are a few things to keep in mind when cooking with salt. Season food with salt just before it goes on the grill, otherwise it will draw the juices to the surface of the meat. We want the juices to stay inside the meat so it is tender and juicy when we serve it. Start with a little and add to taste, as there is a fine line between just right and too much—it’s much easier to add than take away.

Notes on Salt: Use Kosher or sea salt for the grilling trilogy and everyday cooking. Splurge and buy Fleur de Sel (flower of salt—hand-raked once a year in France) for your table. The natural shape of the Fleur de sel salt crystals add a mild distinctive flavor and texture to salads, meat and vegetable dishes. But don’t stop there, try the Pink salt from Hawaii, Black salt from India, Grey salt from Brittany and any other salt you can find.

And last, but not least, pepper. Pepper is best freshly ground from a pepper mill or spice grinder every time you use it. The flavor that we get from pepper is propelled by the oils in the peppercorns, these oils dry up very quickly which is why already ground pepper has much less taste than freshly ground pepper.

Pepper Tip: Before putting the peppercorns in your pepper mill, put them in a dry sauté pan, stir occasionally and heat gently just until a wisp of smoke is present and you can smell the pepper. Remove and let cool before grinding. This is how you roast a spice to bring out the maximum flavor in the spice. You can do this with all whole spices before grinding them and they will all taste fresher and deeper in flavor. This is the same basic idea behind coffee roasting, and it’s up to you to decide how dark you like your spices—or coffee for that matter.

Have fun, experiment, and when you find something delicious, be sure to send it to us at KHT.

 

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DO YOU LIKE CONTESTS?
Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!

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