Welcome to Barbecue'n On The Internet's "Beginner Pages!" In this section we offer the basic lessons that should be mastered before continuing on to actual Grilling and Barbecuing. These lessons, as you will, are universal to outdoor cooking and will serve you well. They will also allow growing to advanced techniques. Review them often and study hard! Let's Begin . . . .
We'll be getting to the Grilling and Barbecuing soon enough. But for now, we have grouped some of the "basics" into one area where they can be referred to for future purposes. Each of these lessons are important steps to beginning to understand how to cook outdoors. From time to time, we will add additional information as you, our readers, indicated a need for more information. In the meantime, enjoy yourself, relax and have some fun!
LESSON NUMBER 1 -"Seasoning a New Grill" - Now this may seem strange to the beginner, but YES, you really should "season" the grill. And no, we are not discussing spices and marinades . . . . Each grill manufactured will contain some impurities resulting from the manufacturing process. To "season" the grill and remove the impurities or residue and residual metals, simply build a fire in the grill or barbecue pit and simply allow it to burn at 350 degrees (more or less) for several hours. The weekend before would be a great time to do this. It'll give you practice also. When the fire has died down [or turned off and cooled for gas grills] simply take some old rags and rub down the cooking grids where the food rests when cooking and the inside of the lid. Remove all ashes for charcoal grills and you are then ready for the first formal cookout! If you find this to be too much trouble, it can be omitted - but we don't recommend it. How to start the fire will be discussed in the grill or barbecue section .
LESSON NUMBER 2 - "Seasoning the meat" - Each person has confronted the statement "If I told you what was in this seasoning, I'd have to kill you!" The truth of the matter is that most seasonings, and this would include liquid marinades, contain many common ingredients found in your spice rack and refrigerator. For the beginner, we recommend start by using someone else's premixed rubs and marinades. These are available in the local grocery store or butcher shop. Read the labels and then try several to determine which one works for your palates. Later, you may want to visit our "World of Spices Pages" [currently under construction] and begin preparing your own secret mixtures.
Additionally, we want to dispel some misconceptions that are prevalent in the beginning of each barbecuer's evolution. Everyone knows dried out meat and wants to avoid it at all cost. The most common mistake involves the use of barbecue sauce being spread on the meat while it is cooking. Our advice: DON'T DO IT! Most commercial barbecue sauce is made with sugar and tomatoes. Both of these items burn at very low temperatures. Use them only when the fire has been either turned off [gas grill] or the charcoal is almost out. Allow the temperature to drop significantly before adding barbecue sauce to the meat. The temperature should only be hot enough to dry the liquid out of the sauce, not cook/burn it.
I can hear it now . . . . "So what do I use to keep the meat from drying out?" There are several options to consider. You can use a barbecue sauce that does not contain sugars or tomatoes and thin it with water, apple juice or beer/wine. Many salad dressings make excellent marinades. We would also thin these in the same manner. Play around with different ideas and see what fits your palate. But don't burn the sauce!
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