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Learn how to use a grill properly and safely with crazy Alton Brown.
Tags:how to use a grill,Grill Information,Grilling Help,grilling tips,Grilling Tips and Techniques,how to bbq,how to grill,How to Use a Barbeque Grill,alton brown,food network,good eats
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How to Use a Grill
Once definitely just--ah here we go. Let's say that you took on a nice big hardwood log and you burned it in a low oxygen environment. We’ll you say won't burn in a low oxygen environment, well not all of it maybe but some of it will. For instance, water will boil away, tar will definitely cook out, the oil which don’t taste very good. Cook away and if course there's just other stuff in wood. Then what you're left with is about 70 to 80% lighter than this and it's called charcoal. Break it up into chunks and you got the most popular cooking fuel on earth, chunk charcoal.
Chunk charcoal is the fuel of choice for grilling aficionados because it's almost pure carbon. It lights faster, burns cleaner, it burns hotter and produces better flavors than briquettes which have to be bound together with vegetable starch, borax, lime stones sometimes even yummy petroleum byproducts. Now, this stuff just takes just a little bit of getting used to but believe me, it's well worth the effort.
Of course if you just got to go with briquettes at least buy all natural briquettes. And make sure that they are fully lit before you put food fire. Well, now that we have the fuel worked out, time for ignition.
Here the options, the ever popular electric coil, extremely effective but you know there something about having plug in your grill just seems wrong somehow. And then of course there's this little high-tech paraffin tablets. The problem is they will only ignite a very small space and the fire never really gets even never fulfills it's thermal potential. And there are your various fire in a tube products, very mission impossible, but you know you mistake this for your toothpaste just once and it's bad. And of course there is the all standby lighter fluids. Some folks just swear by the stuff like my neighbor Bob and I don’t know, somehow it just makes me nervous. Meaning, I’ll stick by the old standard chimney starter and a copy of yesterday’s paper.
Now chimney starters have lots of unique advantages. First, you can be firing up your charcoal over here while you're still futzing around with your grill over there. Also during long grill sessions like say thanksgiving turkey or Christmas roast, you can have a nice big stash of hot coals standing by. All it takes is filling it up and putting one nice big chunk of newspaper. Then put the fire to it. I like to use a hotdog fire stick but that’s just me.
Now, the big question that everybody always asks is how much charcoal? Well unfortunately it's not an easy answer. See, it's got to with the size of your grill, the material of your grill and of course the material that you're going to putting on the grill to cook. Now, we’re cooking lamb which is pretty bullet proof. It doesn’t mind really, really high temperatures. So I'm starting with the jam pack chimney full of charcoal, I'm going to get a wicked hot in there, I'm going sear the meat and let it finish cooking as the hear just dies from the embers. But do me a favor, don’t do this on a wooden surface. Don’t do this on your deck or a wooden patio this is going to get really, really hot. So do it either on concrete, a cinder block or what I like an upside down galvanize bucket. In 15 minutes, this is going to be Dantes Inferno.
Now all that white ash let's you know this charcoal is ready. You might see a little bit of fire but not a whole lot and that is because most of the compounds that create fire smoke for that matter aren’t there anymore. Now, I usually put on a little bit of fresh charcoal just to buff it the self of it, just enough to kind of cover it with one layer. Now, despite what all those TV commercials tell us, char boiled food is evil, why? Well for one thing, soot is not a valid flavoring. And number two, some recent studies suggest that actual flame char on food can cause cancer. It doesn’t really matter because I'm not going to give the opportunity, the reason why is we’re going to use indirect cooking which is the way that I do every big roast or large piece of meat that’s going to take more than a few minutes. Now if you don’t have if you do have baskets, just split them apart, push one to one side and one to the other that will provide the indirectly. If you don’t have baskets, just split the pile down in the middle and shove them each side of the grill.