I spend a lot of time looking at vintage images of things. They are not in as bountiful a supply as one would imagine. Except for barbecue images. There are a ton, and I would guess that the reason is that barbecuing was a family deal you could do outside back when there were more family deals, and back when you could actually go outside.
Still, almost everyone I know with a house has a barbecue. And this heat wave isn’t going to last forever.
Right? It isn’t going to last forever, right?
One of the traditions of barbecuing, at least in my experience, is your guests telling you how to do it better than you are doing it. They almost never actually know how to do it better, but it is something to talk about while you are waiting for the grill to heat up. I have a lifetime of those tips, so here:
Speaking of the grill and waiting for it to heat up, make sure you do. Heat it up first, I mean. My neighbor told me, get the grill so hot everything on it ashes, and then brush it off. That’s the best way to clean it.
There’s a lid for a reason. Smoke is essentially a seasoning, and if you are going to grill, take advantage. People forget that. I think it is because the sound of grilling is as satisfying as… grilling.
Use your hands. People are afraid to touch food for fear of germs, spreading germs, getting germs, whatever. But it is part of cooking. Steak is supposed to feel like the palm of your hand when it is done. When you push the palm of your hand, I mean. Don’t barbecue your hand.
I did a concert last night, and the front row was smoking grass. It’s bad if you are trying to play, but grass is important to barbecuing. Stay with me. Grass fed beef, it is said by almost everyone who eats beef, tastes better.
Cleanliness is next to – not getting sick when you barbecue. That starts with your hands, especially since I just told you to touch food. That doesn’t mean you can’t wipe your hands on your apron. You wear an apron, right?
I HATE when stuff sticks to the grill. A few reasons. First, it always falls through as it cooks, and that’s a mess. Second, no one likes to eat anything off a grill that looks like a raccoon got to it first. If you are grilling fish, don’t put it directly on the grill.
I had heard this tip before, but was always suspicious. I am not an expert at grilling, but I do know guitars, and when you talk to guitar experts there are always little tips they give you that make them sound like they know an-awful-lot more than you do about guitars. But those tips never seem to make a difference. So I thought that letting your meat sit for a bit before you grill it was one of those tips. Something chefs do to make cooking look harder than it actually is. But I was wrong, it actually does make a difference.
And last but not least. In writing, I call this penny-editing. It means making and suggesting changes that have no material impact on… the material. It is editing for the sake of editing. I get if you are an attorney and need billable hours so you have to move some paper around a few nights a week, but writers don’t – and neither do people who barbecue. People LOVE to move things around on the grill to make it look like they are doing the work. Don’t.
Have a great weekend. See you Monday. – JB