“Grilling, broiling, barbecuing – whatever you want to call it – is an art, not just a matter of building a pyre and throwing on a piece of meat as a sacrifice to the gods of the stomach.” - James Beard
James Beard got it right. Barbecuing and grilling is an art, and it’s an art I have decided to embrace this summer and share on this part of my blog.
June 27, 2006. On my Pacific Palate program this morning, I talked about the three different barbecues I’m now using to practise my art. Pictured above is my workhorse grill, the Napoleon. It’s the best grill I’ve ever owned. It’s made in Canada and my favorite feature is the infrared rotisserie burner. Many a chicken and pork roast has sizzled to perfection on this grill. What makes it so good?
- a high quality tubular steel burner
- heavy duty sear plates and a stainless steel cooking grid.
- quite expensive, but I haven’t had to replace any of those major components and I’ve had it for about 5 years now.
My latest aquisition is the Traeger Lil’ Tex. Check out the website for Traeger for a full explanation. This thing is a ‘pellet’ grill. An electric augur moves pellets into a smoke chamber and a fan distributes the smoke throughout at an even heat. Use it on high to grill steaks. Use it on medium to make a perfect beer can chicken. And most importantly, use it to slow smoke cuts of meat that benefit from that treatment. Here you can see what I smoked over the weekend, a whole duck, split in half, and some country-style pork ribs that had been smothered in a hickory barbecue sauce. I’ve also done salmon, trout, and whole pork butts.
The other barbecue I’ve had a lot of fun with is the Cobb Portable BBQ. This little thing is amazing. Invented in South Africa, it’s called a Cobb, because it was originally fueled by dried corn cobs. All it takes is maybe half a dozen briquettes and you can cook on it for a couple of hours. It’s excellent for chicken breasts and veggies, has a non-stick grill and it comes with its own carrybag.
On my Pacific Palate program of June 27th, I talked about some great barbecue accessories and gadgets. You can find all of them at Ming Wo Cookware in Vancouver, my favourite location in the one in Chinatown.
The Cuisipro dual baster is neat. It has two interchangeable heads, one that looks like a showerhead for even basting, and another one that is an injector so you can get marinades right into the flesh of the food you’re grilling or smoking to flavour it and keep it moist.
Other useful accessories include:
A good set of tongs. I find the ones that are sold as barbecue tongs are usually the most useless from a design and ease of use standpoint. So a good set of long, steel kitchen tongs are best, or check out the ones with the silicon grabbers, as they are heat resistant and handle the food even more gently.
Chicken Wing rack
Beer Can Chicken holder
Skewers – flat steel, not round
Remote Thermometer for chicken and roasts
Silicon brushes for thick marinades and sauces
Instant read thermometers