Saturday, July 15, 2006

BBQ Bliss

I know -- propane BBQs won't ever really compete with the flavour of food BBQ'd over a charcoal grill, but boy it sure is more convenient! Just take off the cover, light it and away you go! And it is almost as good... :)

Late this afternoon, we had marinated steaks, mushroom & onions (the perfect steak side-dish), corn, and baked potatoes, all done on the grill so we didn't have to heat up the house by turning on the oven. Very nice! The potatoes were pre-cooked in the microwave for about 8 minutes on high (pierce first!!), then put on the grill while everything else cooks. The corn was purchased frozen - sealed tightly in tinfoil (aluminum foil) with a teaspoon of water and a pat of butter - put it on the grill for the last 5 - 10 minutes of grilling (careful when you open it though, there'll be a lot of HOT steam!). The mushrooms and onions are fried in a tinfoil pie plate with a little butter & canola oil (be sure to use some oil to counteract butter's tendency to burn); stir occasionally. Start them a few minutes before the steaks and they'll finish cooking at the same time. We marinated the steaks for several hours beforehand to impart an extra flavour into the meat, and to tenderize it. Worcestershire sauce makes a great marinade, if you don't have any packaged stuff. Sprinkle the steak with some steak spice too (I bounce around between several brands, featuring everything from garlic and peppercorns, to caraway seeds and paprika - it's all up to personal taste, try several brands till you find one you love), and you've got a great flavoured steak!

Here's a few of my BBQing tips:

1. Don't cross-contaminate plates and utensils - items that touched the meat or fish when raw should not be used to serve or carry cooked meat or fish (if you don't, you might get food poisoning, and no one wants to end a nice summer BBQ that way).

2. Keep your cold foods (like potato or pasta salad) cold - if you'll be eating outside, set up a thermos cooler with ice, and set your salads in it (again, helps prevent food poisoning).

3. Steak is a meat that needs to be baby-sat when it's on the grill. Put the BBQ on high for the first 5 minutes or so, and sear both sides of the steak to keep in all the juices. Then, turn the heat down low, and turn frequently - this will ensure even cooking throughout the meat, and prevent burning. Trust me, it's worth the extra effort!

4. If you use BBQ sauce that has sugar in it (and most do, around here in Nova Scotia), don't brush it on until the last 5 minutes or so. Sugar burns, and if you put it on too early, you'll end up with burned meat (or fish, veggies, etc.). A little burned taste is good, but too much is yucky).

5. If you give a steak bone to your dog, be sure they chew it under supervision. The bones can splinter and cause internal damage, or be a choking hazard - but dogs really love them, so if you decide you can't ignore their little puppy-dog-beggin' eyes, just keep a watch over them while they enjoy their treat.

As you can see, Casey really enjoyed hers:

Have fun with your summer BBQ!