AGAIN, NEVER EVER USE GASOLINE TO START A FIRE OF ANY KIND!
Now that we have our grill selected and lit, we are ready to begin the process of outdoor cooking. Get ready to fend off the neighbors when the food begins sizzling and smelling up the neighborhood!
Plan your meals - decide at least several hours ahead of time what the menu will consist of. Meat, veggies, appetizers and dessert. Do the shopping early and have each item planned and set out for easy access. Season the meat and allow it to sit for at least an hour before cooking begins. Beverages are an important part of any cookout . . . so make sure the favorites are within reach at all times. And remember the famous quote of C. Clark "Smoky" Hale, notable baster and "Barbecue Hall of Famer: "Don't be nervous or up-tight . . . it makes the meat tough!" . . . . . Thanks, Smoky.
"What" is to be cooked is not nearly as important as is "how" it is cooked. A juicy hamburger is better any day than a char-dead steak! So, our objective, as well as our intent, is to teach each person to cook anything and everything. We will let you determine which recipes seem appealing and we'll show you how to cook it!
The required temperature of the grill will vary depending upon the selection of food. Use the "Hand" method discussed above in Lesson Number 3 - if a thermometer is not available. For example, fish will need a medium fire -350 to 400 degrees while a steak will need a hot fire 700+ degrees. Here are some rough ideas for your use:
Use a medium fire. Fish should be close to room temperature before cooking. Coat the fish with a light coating of oil and turn often. Remember, fish cooks easily and quickly. To determine when fish is done, use a fork and attempt to break it apart in the thickest portion. It should flake easily. If not, then cook on . . . .
Use a medium/hot fire. Chicken should be close to room temperature before cooking. Place the seasoned chicken on the grill and allow to brown on the first side and then the other. If the fire is hot enough, the chicken will seize the cooking grate at first and then release when it is ready to turn. Chicken will be done once it reaches 165 degrees F. Use the bi-therm instant thermometer to verify it is done. For more information on cooking chicken breasts, please see Smoky's "Valentine Breasts".
Use a medium/hot fire. Pork and Lamb Chops should be close to room temperature or a little cooler before cooking. Cook similar to chicken. Pork is done when the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. There may be some pinkness, but all undesirable are killed at 137 degrees F. Do not cook over 155 degrees F. as you will then guarantee a dry, tough piece of meat.
Use a hot fire! The temperature of a steak before cooking may vary somewhat. Our preference is to select a smaller diameter yet thicker (3/4 inch) piece of meat. This allows for proper charring of the outside of the meat, but still retain a juicy interior. These are the type of steaks seen in favorite steak houses. If for some reason a thinner steak is being used (1/2 inch), cool the steak down to where it is firm, but not frozen solid. This will provide for charring on the outside while the inside is spending most of the time just thawing. The result will be a charred outside and juicy inside! For more information on cooking the perfect steak, please see Smoky's "A Steak on Every Grill".
Always use the bi-therm instant read thermometer to determine when the meat has reached the desired duneness For more information on grilling temperatures, please consult Barbecue'n's Cooking Temperature Pages.
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