PDA

View Full Version : Let's Talk BBQ



Burt Alcantara
06-06-2009, 4:47 PM
I've lived in big city apartments most of my life. During that time the number of times I went to a bbq could be counted on one hand. Now that I've got my own home in suburbia and a large charcoal grill, I can bbq anytime I desire.

I have a charcoal bbq that's a rectangular box. I've been using briquettes for the past 4 years with varying success. The biggest problem I have is keeping a consistent heat going be it short hot grills or long slow bbqs.

It's getting to the point of frustration. I like to cook but not be a keeper of the flame. I'm leaning heavily to the gas side but I don't want to loose the smoke.

I guess what I'm saying is, can someone offer suggestions on saving the briquette option or offer suggestions for both a gas grill and how to get good smokey flavors?

I'm not into entertaining Cecil B. DeMille and Company. Just me and the wife. So I don't need or want a massive expensive grill. I cook small things mostly -- 2.5# pork roasts, chicken parts, small steaks. The big things are grilled vegetables as they take up the entire grill.

Yesterday, I grilled a few small steaks (7 oz each). Couldn't get the grill all that hot again. If I go gas, I'd want it to get blistering hot as this is my preferred way of cooking certain foods. I just can't seem to get this kind of heat from charcoal, contrary to what Steven Raiklin says.

What do you do?

Thanks,
Burt

Judy Kingery
06-06-2009, 5:14 PM
Hey Burt,

Use Mesquite or Hickory or Pecan - just a suggestion. I dislike cooking on a grill with gas as I can do that in the house with a stove, broiler, oven. Outdoors I love to grill with wood, and given our location, that's Mesquite.

I turn a lot of it, we have plenty for free, grows all over the place, grill with my shavings, off cuts, or pieces that aren't good for turning, great flavor and it burns hot.

So generally what we do, as you, it is just Glen and me; he'll build a good fire in the grill, I'll marinate whatever, in about oh, 15-20 minutes it's just the right sizzling coals, no flame so I can sear or cook to however done we like (steaks, fish, hambugers, squash, shisk-k-bobs, poppers - jalapino/bacon/cream cheese) - OR - I can double wrap in heavy duty aluminum foil and seal it up so it won't burn, will brown, but not dry and burn and leave it on there for whatever, 25-30-40 minutes, smokey or just cook that way (ribs, venison, roasted poppers after the bacon's done).

Anyway, just a thought, wood to me is the best, easiest way to grill/smoke there is. I don't like gas nor do I like the briquettes. Might experiement with wood and see what you think, we don't buy chips or anything either, just chop our own and fairly larger pieces than the chips you see for sale. So it'll burn hot at first and for quite some time, hour, hour and a half.

Best to you on your grilling adventures - I love to cook outdoors!

Jude

Rob Wright
06-06-2009, 7:37 PM
Ever try lump charcoal? We have a ceramic and use it in that. Good smoky flavor, can get it HOT and can also cook for 20+ hours for beef briskets. We have tried lump in a Weber type grill and feel it is better than the standard hardware/grocery store pressed briquettes. maybe worth your while.

We got rid of our gas grill a few years ago and went with a Big green Egg and also a Primo Oval XL ceramic BBQ. If I went gas again, I would go with something that had a infrared ceramic or glass cooking area on it for hot and fast searing/cooking. check out the charbroil TEC burner http://www.charbroil.com/tec/index.html

Joe Pelonio
06-06-2009, 7:51 PM
I have a gas grill hbut it has a tray that holds wood chips. I buy the kind made for smokers and keep a fresh batch in there for the smokey flavor.

When we had a charcoal grill I rarely used briquets. I found that the real mesquite chunks worked and tasted sooo much better that it was worth going to the restaurant supply to buy it. I have seen it in smaller bags at times in the bigger grocery stores, but most just have the briquets with mesquite bits in them.

For charcoal the main problem is that if you cannot adjust the heat as in gas, you have to be able to adjust the grill height. If you cannot control the distance from the heat it's hard to get the nice crusty surface and moist insides.

Curt Harms
06-06-2009, 8:36 PM
Ever try lump charcoal? We have a ceramic and use it in that. Good smoky flavor, can get it HOT and can also cook for 20+ hours for beef briskets. We have tried lump in a Weber type grill and feel it is better than the standard hardware/grocery store pressed briquettes. maybe worth your while.

We got rid of our gas grill a few years ago and went with a Big green Egg and also a Primo Oval XL ceramic BBQ. If I went gas again, I would go with something that had a infrared ceramic or glass cooking area on it for hot and fast searing/cooking. check out the charbroil TEC burner http://www.charbroil.com/tec/index.html

I find lump charcoal easier to start than briquets, and it'll certainly get HOT. I've had red hot coals where I'm pretty sure I could have tempered steel if I didn't restrict the air. We use a pretty basic grill (http://www.goodwood-outdoor-cooking.com/meco_swinger_deluxe_seabreeze_grill.htm) and have had it for about 15 years, I'd guess. I had to replace the wooden slats a couple years ago, had some white oak so that was easy.

Eric Larsen
06-06-2009, 9:59 PM
It's getting to the point of frustration. I like to cook but not be a keeper of the flame. I'm leaning heavily to the gas side but I don't want to loose the smoke.
.
.
.
.

Yesterday, I grilled a few small steaks (7 oz each). Couldn't get the grill all that hot again. If I go gas, I'd want it to get blistering hot as this is my preferred way of cooking certain foods. I just can't seem to get this kind of heat from charcoal, contrary to what Steven Raiklin says.



1) When you need "surface of the sun" hot, leave the coals in the chimney starter and just put your well-oiled grate over the chimney and cook. (You do have a chimney starter, right? Don't tell me you use petroleum. I'll stick my fingers in my ears and yell "la-la-la-la" if I think you're about to tell me you use petroleum.)

2) When you need "low and slow" -- put all the coals on one side of the grill and the meat on the other. Or you can use a disposable pan 1/2 filled with water/juice/beer/etc. and place the coals around that and cook your meat over the pan -- that's my preferred way. The moisture improves the tenderness of your 'cue.


I use an infrared grill for "surface of the sun" and a commercial "small oil drum with side box" for 'cue. YMMV -- 'cue is more about technique than equipment. Even the humble Weber kettle can churn out great cue. It's all about time and temperature management.

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to great 'cue.

Tim Morton
06-06-2009, 10:36 PM
get a weber kettle grill....just say no to gas:D

Ben West
06-06-2009, 10:41 PM
You say your grill is a "rectangular box." I don't know exactly what you have, but the key to cooking with charcoal is 1) having the charcoal on a grate so air can get to it easily and 2) having a grill that is airtight and has adjustments that you can use to open the air up or cut it off, or anywhere in between.

Most of the low-end charcoal grills are not air tight enough to control the air, and thus control the temperature. The Weber kettles are fairly inexpensive and are absolutely airtight...they cook fantastic. But, they won't stay that way for more than a few years, so the do need to be replaced from time to time.

For the ultimate charcoal grill, get the Oval made by Primo Grill. It's an American-made version of the Big Green Egg, and it is a cooking machine. They are expensive, but should literally last your lifetime with a bit of care.

Oh, by the way, someone mentioned lump charcoal. Lump is great, but again only if you have an airtight grill. Briquets have binders that somewhat slow the combustion. Lump doesn't have that and without a way to restrict airflow to the fire you'll have a blowtorch!

Ben West
06-06-2009, 10:42 PM
get a weber kettle grill....just say no to gas:D


Yes, Yes, Yes....even the absolute top-of-the-line gas grills can't match a Weber kettle for temperature control, flame management, and flavor.

Jim Rimmer
06-06-2009, 11:25 PM
Just a clarification - there's a big difference between barbecuing and grilling. Both are vey good ways to prepare meet but BBQ generally means smoking over a period of time at low heat while grilling is just what it sounds like. :rolleyes:

Tim Morton
06-06-2009, 11:37 PM
Just a clarification - there's a big difference between barbecuing and grilling. Both are vey good ways to prepare meet but BBQ generally means smoking over a period of time at low heat while grilling is just what it sounds like. :rolleyes:

right but up north if i am going over to a friends house who is grilling steaks...he is doing it on his grill...but i say i am going to a BBQ...i don't say i am going to a Grill...:D

We are pretty laid back up here about our vernacular...:cool:

Burt Alcantara
06-06-2009, 11:42 PM
Hmmm. I'm wondering if my big rectangular box needs replacing. This is what I have. It's about 4 years old.
http://www.charbroil.com/consumer/product_detail_m.aspx?ProductSeriesID=22

Eric,
I start in a chimney with whatever paper is around. Kinda difficult because we don't read newspapers so it's usually some kind of brown paper. Usually makes a lot of nasty smoke until it burns off. I've been thinking about getting a hibachi to cook hot and fast but haven't found one yet. I like your idea of using the chimney to cook on except the surface area is so small.

Ceramic sounds nice but too spendy for us.

Tim Morton
06-06-2009, 11:46 PM
Hmmm. I'm wondering if my big rectangular box needs replacing. This is what I have. It's about 4 years old.
http://www.charbroil.com/consumer/product_detail_m.aspx?ProductSeriesID=22

what you want is this...

http://www.weber.com/grills/default.aspx?glid=4&mid=25

Burt Alcantara
06-06-2009, 11:59 PM
Tim,
Last year someone had one of these on CL for $200 and it looked unused. I still kick myself for not buying it. I may just have to break down and get it because the gas might do the trick in keeping the coals going.

John Lohmann
06-07-2009, 12:11 AM
Just go get a Weber kettle, you can use it for grillin & smokin, just use 1/2 the grill. You will gradually learn how to control the temp of the grill depending on what you are doing. Later you can get a BGE or primo or if you have to got to propane. You got plenty of time to practice before the 4th.

Ben West
06-07-2009, 12:23 AM
You don't need a ceramic. They are great, but a Weber kettle will do almost everything a Primo or BGE will.

Get one of these http://www.weber.com/grills/default.aspx?glid=5&mid=21

For lighting, get a Mapp Torch at your local Big Box Store. Pile the charcoal up, open bottom and top vents, and light it up with the torch for a minute or two. Put the top on, come back in 15 minutes, and you'll have a hot fire.

jim carter
06-07-2009, 1:09 AM
i use manzanita soaked in red wine. but i have alot of manzanita and live on a vineyard. when you use wood, soak in wine for an extra special smokey flavor.

Eric Larsen
06-07-2009, 1:43 AM
i use manzanita soaked in red wine. but i have alot of manzanita and live on a vineyard. when you use wood, soak in wine for an extra special smokey flavor.


You SUCK! :D


(That's what you get for posting a "stealth gloat." )

So, I can drop by around Christmas, right? I'll be about 20 miles away. :cool:

Belinda Williamson
06-07-2009, 8:15 AM
Just a clarification - there's a big difference between barbecuing and grilling. Both are vey good ways to prepare meet but BBQ generally means smoking over a period of time at low heat while grilling is just what it sounds like. :rolleyes:


1) YMMV -- 'cue is more about technique than equipment. Even the humble Weber kettle can churn out great cue. It's all about time and temperature management.

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to great 'cue.

You gentleman have it absolutely right. BBQ takes time and is a labor of love.

[QUOTE=Tim Morton;1150621]right but up north if i am going over to a friends house who is grilling steaks...he is doing it on his grill...but i say i am going to a BBQ...i don't say i am going to a Grill...:D

LOL . . . neither do we Tim. Us southerners say we're going to a cook out.

Burt Alcantara
06-07-2009, 10:59 AM
For smoke, I use grape vines. Our vines produce lousy grapes -- tasteless and sour but the vines make great smoke. Also have a lot of apple wood chips from all of the logs that split into millions of pieces.

I ordered a Weber Performer from Amazon. Price was right, free delivery and my wife is happy because it won't make the mess the Santa Fe makes.

Chuck Saunders
06-07-2009, 12:00 PM
I thought religion was one of those forbiden subjects on this list

Curt Harms
06-07-2009, 1:33 PM
You say your grill is a "rectangular box.".......

Oh, by the way, someone mentioned lump charcoal. Lump is great, but again only if you have an airtight grill. Briquets have binders that somewhat slow the combustion. Lump doesn't have that and without a way to restrict airflow to the fire you'll have a blowtorch!

That be true. OTOH if you can control the air well, you can close the grill off after you're done cooking, add a few fresh lumps of charcoal and reuse the remaining charcoal. I empty the tray 3 or 4 times per season, and we grill 3 times a week weather permitting. Probably more when it's really hot outside. No sense in spending money for gas or electricity to create heat inside then spend more money for electricity to run the air conditioner to remove the heat I spent money on in the first place.