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Barbeque Basics
by: Valerie Giles
Thereís nothing more enjoyable than having friends and family
gathered around amidst the wonderful smells of charcoal-grilled
prawns, vegetables and selected favorites. Barbecuing is one of
those time- honored rituals that go hand in hand with summertime.
Whether youíre in your backyard or at youíre favorite camping
site, barbecuing is a pleasure to be enjoyed by the whole family.

Barbecuing has never been more exciting; with the endless designs
of barbecues available and the myriad of barbecue cookbooks and
cooking shows it really does take barbecuing into a whole new
realm. With recipes for everything from grilled bananas to
peaches and dry rubs for ribs, barbecues arenít just for cooking
steaks and burgers anymore. With all the available barbecuing
options it helps to know a few of the barbecuing terms and
barbecuing utensils that are used.

Firstly, barbecues come in a wide variety of options; there are
propane, natural gas and the standard barbecues for use with
charcoal. Barbecues can come with range style one, two and four
burner options along with rotisseries. There are even barbecues
that have coolers built right into the bottom! Barbecuing has
never been quite so convenient.

When youíre using your barbecue it really helps to have the right
utensils and barbeque accessories, this will make your barbecuing
experience easier and more enjoyable. Long handled tongs, basting
brushes and spatulas are quite helpful. Heavy -duty oven mitts
can also be useful. Of course you donít want to forget the proper
wire brushes and scrubbers (crumpled foil even works well) to
remove build-up, keeping your grill racks clean.

Foods that are tender such as fish, vegetables and some burgers
can benefit from cooking in a special grill basket (this way you
arenít loosing any of your meal into the barbecue). There are
also special racks available to be used with corn, potatoes,
ribs and meat.

An excellent barbecue accessory is the grill wok, with this you
can make youíre favorite stir fries and vegetable dishes; the wok
has small holes throughout that allow heat and smoke to penetrate
the food. Another great grill accessory is the grill pizza tray
used mostly for grilled pizza. Other grill accessories include;
( )
the grill topper used for fish and vegetables providing an even
cooking surface, which prevents foods from falling through the
grill rack; you can never have too many skewers in assorted
lengths which can be used with a skewer rack for grilling your
favorite marinated vegetables and meats; smoker boxes for gas
grills filled with soaked wood chips add a wonderful smoked
flavor to foods. Lastly foil packets are available or simple tin
foil to wrap foods, just remember that you may be sacrificing
the grill and smoke flavors when foods are wrapped tightly.

After you have the utensils and proper grilling accessories
needed for youíre barbeque experience youíll want to familiarize
yourself on the different types of grilling processes and terms
to find the ones that work best for you and to know exactly what
has to be done. To start, basting is probably the most familiar
of barbecuing terms, a simple brushing with a seasoned liquid
adding both flavor and moisture to your food. A brochette is
just French for a kabob, or simply food cooked on a skewer. A
glaze is a glossy, flavorful coating on food as it cooks as a
result of regular basting.

Three very popular methods of barbecuing are the direct grilling,
dry smoking and indirect grilling methods. Direct grilling is
probably the most popular grilling used, it is when food is
placed directly over the flame. It is a fast method because of
the intense heat and allows for browning on the outside of foods.
This process works best for food requiring short cooking times
such as burgers and steaks, you must remember to turn food over
to allow cooking on both sides. The dry smoking method is
achieved by placing a grill rack indirectly over the heat source
with the barbecue lid down, this allows the flame to burn thus
creating smoke which covers the food, giving you a smoky flavor.
Lastly the indirect grilling is a slow process of cooking because
of less heat, it is done by surrounding a drip pan with the coals
and putting the food over the pan, so the hot air circulates
around the food (similar to a convection oven). It is wise to
check with your barbecue owner manual for indirect grilling
specific to your barbecue, roasts work well with this method.

After youíve acquired the barbecue and all the necessary cooking
utensils and accessories youíre ready for the best part of
barbecuing and that is the cooking of the food. Sauces, marinades
and rubs are popular cooking ideas when barbecuing. The sauce
can be said to define a great barbecue. Whether you use a little
or a lot is a matter of preference. A sauce often includes sugar,
honey or preserves, which can cause the sauce to burn when
cooking; a suggestion is to brush your sauce on in the last five
to ten minutes of cooking. There are a wide variety of sauces
and glazes to be made ranging from apple butter barbecue sauce
to raspberry piquant sauce.

Marinades are used for soaking your choice of meat, tofu or
vegetables. ( )
The marinating both tenderizes and permeates the food with
flavor, adding flavor and promoting crisp brown exteriors,
changing an otherwise average dinner into a great one. Marinades
are virtually fool proof and can be made in advance refrigerated
in an airtight container for up to a week. The three basic
ingredients in a marinade are; flavorings such as herbs, spices,
sweeteners; oils which keep the food pliable and give a crispy
crust; acids such as citrus juices, wines, vinegars and yogurts
used to balance the sweetness. It is suggested to use the acids
sparingly on fish and poultry, as they will soften the flesh
when used.

A virtually fat free and easy way to add flavor to food is by
using a variety of bold seasonings in a rub. The food is rubbed
with spices prior to grilling, the rub transforms into a crunchy
brown crust that seals in the juices and enhances the flavors of
the food. The spices should be generously applied coating the
entire surface of the food; the food should then be covered and
put in the fridge for 15 minutes to 2 hours. Simplicity is the
key for making rubs, salt and sugar are two of the main
ingredients and the rest are up to you.

Whatever your barbecuing specialty might be barbecues can be
both a fun and convenient way to make dinner. Summertime neednít
be the only time of year that youíre barbecuing, if weather
allows you can barbecue all year round. The options have never
been more exciting, and the variety of foods and recipes never
more abundant.

About the author:
Valerie Giles owns and operates Best BBQ Online , a resource web
site featuring bbq grills, bbq smokers, weber gas grills, grill
accessories and rotisseries, bbq recipes and marinades and patio
heaters. Everything you need for the barbequing season.

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