Part 2

Grilling out this weekend?

[SEPT. 2, 2000]  Thereís no right or wrong way to grill and there are several ways to do it ó including braziers, hibachis, kettle or wagon grills, and water smokers. 

From the inexpensive, basic version on three legs, which dot many suburban back yards, to the upscale unit complete with hood, rotisserie and air vents, braziers are basic shallow fireboxes on legs that are designed for direct-heat cooking.

Hibachis are miniature grills designed for direct-heat cooking and are ideal for those without much space. Small food items, such as hot dogs and kabobs, are perfect for this type of portable grill.

Kettle or wagon grills are designed for closed-hood grilling. Air vents or lid design helps control ventilation, and this variety is available in gas, charcoal and electric units.

Water smokers are perfect for long, slow cooking, and covered grills allow you to cook over indirect heat. Dampened wood chunks sprinkled on a fire cook food continuously with steamy clouds of wood smoke for a penetrating barbecue flavor. These are also available in charcoal, gas and electric models.

Grills can be fueled by gas, electricity, wood, charcoal or a combination of all. Each has its own advantages and everyone has their own preference. Although purists turn up their noses at gas grills, todayís versions produce results that can measure up to charcoal cooking. Gas grills can turn on instantly with a push of a button or light of a match. Heat can be regulated like an indoor gas range, and most good grills also allow for the addition of wood chips or other aromatic flavor enhancers. Charcoal is still considered the best bet if you want real smoky, and electric grills give the most accurate temperature control and the least smoky results.

 

Wood chips have become very popular and can be added to burning briquettes to achieve a special wood-smoked aroma and flavor in the food. Woods such as mesquite, alder, hickory, oak, apple, cherry and peach are good choices, but many will need to be soaked before using them. Charcoal-flavored briquettes containing hardwood such as hickory are also available for gas grills.

 

Experts say that besides a grill only a few necessary utensils are needed, including long-handled tongs, a sturdy spatula, potholders or mitts, basting brushes and a strong wire scraper. Barbecue baskets help keep certain foods, such as fragile fish fillets and small vegetables, from falling through the grill during cooking.

 

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Despite all the pleasurable aspects of grilling, some studies have suggested that grilled foods may not be healthy. In fact, charring meat at extremely high temperatures, which includes grilling, produces chemical substances that have been shown to cause cancer in some animal studies. And when meat is browned with intense heat over a direct flame, and fat drips on the fire and coals, it creates smoke containing carcinogens.

 

Does this mean an end to all those backyard barbecues? According to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., people can still enjoy their grilled hamburger, but they need to pay more attention to how itís cooked. Preparing food at lower heat, more quickly and without burning it will keep the grill from flaring up, which is when the food becomes unhealthy.

Nutritionists and food research scientists say high-heat cooking methods can produce tiny amounts of harmful substances when fat from meat drips on hot coals, but the possible health risks are very low. The Barbecue Industry Association recommends using indirect heat for grilling, which means simply placing a drip pan under the meat or food you are grilling, banking the hot coals around the pan.

Of course, after the marinating, grilling and eating are done, the worst is yet to come ó cleaning the grill. But experts say a few easy steps will make the task easy and effective. First, remove the cooking grates and soak them in warm soapy water. If using a charcoal grill, remove the coal grate and brush out the inside. If using a gas grill, remove briquettes, lava rocks or metal flame shield to expose the burner and then clean out ash and residue from around burner, making sure the burner is in place when youíre done. Use a stiff wire brush and soapy water to scrub the inside surfaces of the grill and remove any particles before putting it back together. If using a gas grill, brush off briquettes, rocks or metal flame shield in warm soapy water, removing cooking grates from water, and brush clean with wire brush. Coat inside surfaces and grates with cooking oil or spray. Place the grates back on grill and let air dry, allowing an extra five minutes of heating time the next time you fire up the grill to make sure cleaning residue has burned off. Keeping grill surfaces lightly coated with cooking oil or spray makes cleanup easier. Even though it may sound like a lot of trouble, those who enjoy grilling say itís still easier than doing dishes over a sink in the house.

 

[Penny Zimmerman-Wills]


Tips for healthy grilling

(Source: Mayo Clinic)

  • Trim excess fat from meat before cooking to minimize flare-ups.
  • If meat does char or burn, cut away blackened portion.
  • Raise adjustable cooking racks to highest position above heat.
  • Brush barbecue sauces and glazes on only during the last several minutes of grilling; if they splatter and drip down on flames, the sugar can cause flare-ups and smoke.
  • Precook ribs, thick cuts of meat and whole turkeys indoors before grilling; then sear briefly over high heat to caramelize outside.

Part 1

Grilling out this weekend?

[SEPT. 1, 2000]  Nothing beats a backyard barbecue. Is it the aroma of smoked wood chips mingling with marinated meat wafting through the air? Or the sizzling sound of a slab of steak or salmon cooking over an open fire? Maybe itís the informality of cooking and eating in the great outdoors, where having a good time with friends and family is just as important as the meal itself.

Whatever the reason, more than 75 percent of Americans own a grill and use it about once a week, according to the Barbecue Industry Association. People are firing up the grill every night of the week ó thatís 2.3 billion barbecues a month.

People have been cooking food over an open fire for more than 100,000 years, and the process is only gaining in popularity. The art of cooking over fire, of course, was done by our ancestors out of mere necessity.

There are several theories of how it all began, but the word barbecue comes from the Haitian word "barbacoa," which means a framework of green sticks. Spaniards picked up both the word and this method of cooking when they visited the Caribbean, and spread both to Europe. There has also been speculation that the word comes from the French "barbe a queue," roughly translated "from head to tail."

One of the first known grills was found around 5000 B.C. on the Greek isle of Crete. Various grilled dishes, or yaki, have been enjoyed in Japan for centuries ó long predating Emperor Hirohito's reign, which began in 1926.

 

Whoever discovered the method first may be up for debate, but the backyard barbecue is now embedded forever as a part of true Americana, right alongside apple pie and the flag.

Author Steven Raichlen, who traveled 150,000 miles and visited 25 countries on five continents to do research for his book "The Barbecue Bible," states a top 10 list of how to grill properly:

1. Be organized

Have food, marinade, basting sauce, seasonings and equipment next to the grill before you start.

2. Check the fuel

Make sure you have enough charcoal or gas. There should be enough lit charcoal to form a bed of glowing coals three inches larger on all sides than the surface holding the food. A gas grill tank should be at least one-third full.

3. Preheat the grill

To achieve the desired seared crust of meat, charcoal flavor and grill marks, the grill must reach 500 degrees. Let charcoal burn until itís covered with a thin coat of gray ash. Hold your hand six inches above the grate ó if you can keep your hand there only three seconds before taking it away, the temperature is right. A gas grill should be preheated to at least 500 degrees also, which takes 10 to 15 minutes.

 

4. Keep it clean

Clean the grill twice: once after youíre preheated it and again when youíre done cooking. Use the edge of a metal spatula to scrape off food and a stiff wire brush to scrub the grate.

 

 

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5. Oil the grate

Before placing food on the grate, spray or brush it with cooking oil.

6. Turn, donít stab

Use tongs or a spatula to turn meat on the grill; donít stab it with a carving fork, which drains the juices onto the coals.

7. Know when to baste

Oil and vinegar, citrus and yogurt-based bastes and marinades can be brushed on meat while cooking, but never use marinate that raw meat or seafood has been soaking in, during the last three minutes of cooking. Apply sugar-based barbecue sauce toward the end of the cooking time, since the sugar burns easily and shouldnít be exposed to prolonged heat.

8. Keep it covered

When using the indirect method of grilling large items like a prime rib, keep the grill tightly covered. Every time you lift the lid, you add minutes to the cooking time.

9. Give it a rest

Anything will taste better after letting it stand for a few minutes before serving, allowing the meatís juices to return to the surface.

10. Never desert your post

Grilling is easy but demands attention.

 

An entire meal can be prepared and cooked on the grill ó from an appetizer like french bread topped with roasted garlic and red peppers to a dessert of grilled peaches, bananas and pineapple topped with ice cream. Vegetables such as eggplant, asparagus, baby carrots, leeks, sweet peppers, new potatoes, squash, zucchini and even corn on the cob are all easy side dishes to prepare on the grill and are also a healthy sidekick to steak or fish prepared over an open fire. To speed up grilling time, partially precook chicken, spare ribs, potatoes, carrots and other slow-cooking food in the oven or microwave.

Although there are some people who really donít enjoy eating outdoors, are intimidated by the whole method of grilling, or simply think itís too much trouble, they are a minority. Some local residents say they grill almost every night. Even though summer and fall are the most popular times to prepare food and eat outdoors, many people just canít bear to put the grill away for the winter. And although grilling has always been popular, people are expanding their menu items and trying healthier choices, like fish and seafood. They are also discovering that preparing something besides hot dogs and hamburgers is easier than they thought.

 

[Penny Zimmerman-Wills]

(Note: The second part of this article will be posted tomorrow.)

 

(To Part 2 of this article)


How to grill a perfect steak

  • Be patient and remember that timing is everything.
  • Let steak reach room temperature.
  • Trim excess fat. Strips of fat should be only 1/4-inch thick.
  • Wash in clean water.
  • Season steak with fresh cracked pepper, garlic powder or whatever you like.
  • Preheat grill.
  • Oil the grate. Place steak on grill and close the lid for one minute.
  • Lift lid and turn steak over. Close lid and continue grilling for another minute.
  • Turn again and continue for two minutes, plus one minute per 1/2 inch of meat thickness.
  • Turn for the fourth time and continue grilling for two minutes, plus one minute per 1/2 inch.
  • Check for doneness with a meat thermometer: 140 degrees for rare, 150 degrees for medium rare, 160 degrees for medium, 165 degrees for medium well and burnt for well done.
  • Remove from grill. Let steak rest for two minutes before serving.
  • Eat.


Animals for adoption

An abundance of farm cats is available FREE to farmers.

These animals and more are available to good homes from the Logan County Animal Control at 1515 N. Kickapoo, phone 735-3232.

Fees for animal adoption: dogs, $60/male, $65/female; cats, $35/male, $44/female. The fees include neutering.

Kittens:

[Two cute little kittens, 8 weeks old, lots of charm; one male, one female]

Black dog:
[This female terrier mix was lost and is looking for a new home.   She is thought to be 1 to 2 years old and has a good temperament.]

Shepherd:
[Don't let the missing leg throw you; this golden shepherd mix makes a great running buddy.  He's good tempered, with a very sweet nature; will make a great best friend!]

Adult cat:
[Tara is an older cat.  She has all that silliness out of her and is very
communicative.  She has an unusual voice, a great purr and loves to cuddle.]


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