There is something special, even magical, about a barbeque. A fire means family time, party time, quality time. Grilling means less fat and more flavor and more fun.
Every corner of the world has people cooking on an open fire. Everyone can become a talented cook over hot coals. Grilling doesn't need to mean hard work, burnt food and a burden on those making it.
Just make a few preparations, add a little knowledge and relax, come outside and enjoy the food.
All you need is a rack that won't fall into the fire. From state-of-the-art to a few rocks on the beach - they will all do about the same thing. Long-handled tongs and long metal spatula are all you really need.
The fire is the key to success. Building a good fire and judging the temperature are more important than the type of grill you have or the kind of fuel. I have a few friends who have been grilling for years. They have switched to gas grills. Certainly easier to deal with and a lot faster to get started. Those of us who use charcoal have to be a bit more adept. How much coal you use depends on the amount you want to grill, as well as the type of food.
Keep in mind: It is easier to reduce the heat than to raise it. So start out with more coal than you think you need. Self-lighting briquettes are a breeze. I like to combine 1/2 self-starting with 1/2 regular briquettes. Poor quality coal is much cheaper, but a lot harder to light. The key to success is a small fan if you are around the house (electricity) or a good something you can fan with, i.e. box, plastic tray, etc. Whenever you find a good fanner, keep it for the next time. Start the fire well in advance, so it is good and hot when you need it. Also, the fire starter will cease to smell and will not affect the food to be grilled.
Spread the charcoal in a mound a few inches deep, put in charcoal lighter, light it and start fanning. One friend puts the coal in a large tin can with top and bottom cut out, lights the fire and waits 5-10 minutes, removes the can and the coals are ready. In the end, the coal should be 2 inches deep and should extend two inches wider than the surface on which you want to grill.
The time to test the fire is when the flames have died down and the coals are red with a white ash. Then try the hand test: 5 inches away, palm open and facing down, then count the seconds you can keep your hand there. 1-3 seconds - very hot, 3-4 seconds - hot, 4-6 seconds - medium, 6-8 seconds - low. Reduce the temperature by spreading the coals out; increase the temperature by making the coals deeper.
Clean the hot grill with a raw onion attached to the end of a long fork.
Here are some good basic recipes for grilling. Next article: marinating beef, fish, and more on the grill.
-- Chef Herschel
Terriyaki Steak Strips
2 lbs. steak
1 clove garlic, mashed
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup beef bouillon (double strength)
1/2 cup red wine
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tbsps. lime juice
1/4 cup chopped scallions
2 tbsps. brown sugar or honey
Cut meat into 1" strips diagonally across the grain. Layer meat with scallions, sprinkle each layer with salt and pepper. Pour marinade over meat and marinade 5-6 hours or longer. Grill over hot coals, brushing with marinade.
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1/4 cup red chili powder
1/4 cup paprika
2 tbsps. coarse salt
1 1/2 tbsp. Sugar
4 1/2-kilo (16 oz.) steaks, nice and thick
Mix dry ingredients in a shallow dish. Coat steaks with mixture - rub in steaks. Chill for 8 hours (you can use immediately if you have to).
Prepare grill, medium heat, grill to your desire - 20 minutes for medium. Turn often to avoid burning.
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Ginger Soy Onion Vinegar Steak
6 tbsps. soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup wine vinegar
2 tbsps. olive oil
1 tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
1/2 tbsp. dry ginger
1 cup scallions
1 1/2lbs. steak
Combine first five ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Add green onions in a shallow pan. Add steaks, turn to coat, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to 1 day.
Prepare grill. Medium heat grill to desired "doneness." Slice steaks into thin strips.
Heat marinade to a boil (important). Pour over steak and enjoy!
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