Soaking Wood Chips In Beer For Grilling
Here is a secret. You can turn your gas or charcoal grill into a smoker by just using beer. Soak wood chips in beer before you fire up the grill. The beer will be imparted into your smoked food.
Soak wood chips in beer for at least 30 minutes. The wet wood chips will produce more smoke and flavor. Drain wood chips and sprinkle a handful of soaked chips over the hot coals when they are ready and covered with a white ash. Put the lid on the grill and wait for the smoke to start to pour out of the grill. Then place the food on the cooking grate.
For charcoal grills, position it so that the vent is on the side of the grill opposite the charcoal. This will draw the heat and smoke over the food and out of the vent.
For gas grills, when using wood chips with a gas grill, follow the smoker box instructions for best results.
A couple of handfuls of wood chips will provide 10 to 20 minutes of smoke, depending on how hot the fire is.
Keep the grill lid closed as much as possible to allow the smoke to fully permeate the food.
Always use heat-resistant barbecue mitts or gloves when operating your grill.
“Work With What You Got!”
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2015 All Rights Reserved
July 4th is right around the corner and you’ll feel even more patriotic with this sturdy American made Star Spangled Spatula. This awesome spatula was designed by Jacob Riley-Wasserman and hand crafted right here in America by Lamson and Goodnow. The Star Spangled Spatula is made from stainless steel and American Walnut and sells for (gulp) $65. Because it is made by the oldest and most-respected cutlery company it should last a lifetime. The Star Spangled Spatula is also available in plastic for $12 and comes in red, white, blue and black. Perfect for any barbecue!
Where to buy?
Summer is here and why pay top dollar going out when you can make delicious hot dogs at home? Here is a guide to the different ways Americans make their frankfurters around the country. I had the Sonoran style hot dogs while I was in Tucson in February and absolutely loved them.
New York Style
Served with brown or German mustard and sauerkraut or onions cooked in tomato paste.
Served on a poppy seed bun with mustard, pickle relish, sport peppers, onions, tomatoes, dill pickles and celery salt. Pepperoncini can be substituted for sport peppers.
Kansas City Style
Served on a sesame seed bun with brown or German mustard, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese.
Atlanta “Dragged Through The Garden” Style
Serve topped with coleslaw.
Detroit “Coney” Style
Served with chili, onions, mustard and cheddar cheese.
Served with cream cheese and grilled onions.
Phoenix/Tucson “Sonoran” Style
Served as a bacon-wrapped hot dog with pinto beans, onions, tomatoes, mustard, mayo, jalapeno peppers and cheese.
Austin “Tex-Mex” Style
Served with queso, guacamole and crushed tortilla chips.
San Francisco “Wine Country” Style
Served with red wine caramelized onions and goat cheese.
Miami “Cuban” Style
Served with mustard, pickles and Swiss cheese.
Fourth of July
Today Americans will be celebrating our glorious national holiday, Independence Day. On the anniversary of the birth of our nation we are grateful for our forefather’s aspirations for freedom and thank the American signers of the Declaration of Independence at Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. We give thanks that the American spirit lives on.
The Fourth of July is celebrated in every city and town in the United States by patriotic gatherings, parades and speechmaking. The national anthem and other songs are sung, the voices of free people singing a free song. The knowledge that freedom had been defended in the past and might have to be defended again on nights far from peaceful and with weapons far from harmless. For me it produces an emotion that is humbling and sentimental.
Independence Day food it most often of the picnic and/or grilling variety which is correct for a holiday that is usually spent outside. There are traditional dishes originating in George Washington’s Virginia. One such is a breakfast specialty called Rice Waffles. Another traditional dish of the day is poached salmon with egg and caper sauce that is served with green peas and mashed potatoes. It was traditional to serve the first salmon of the season, but we know that this menu of soft foods was prepared for George Washington because of the discomfort caused him by his ill-fitting set of false teeth. The traditional July 4th desserts were Watermelon Pickle and the Independence Day Cake, which is a yeast cake covered in white frosting gilded with boxwood leaves.
For the July 4th holiday I like to make my Blueberry Crisp. It is always a big hit and everyone seems to want the recipe. Whatever you’re making today have a wonderful and safe day.
Steak is perfect for the grill. A well marbled, cut thin and flat steak is made for searing over a bed of hot coals. A grilled steak is mouthwatering if it is brown and crisp on the outside and pink & juicy on the inside. There really isn’t an easier and less complicated dinner than a grilled steak with a green salad on the side. Plus, the cleanup is practically effortless. Most any cut of steak is great for grilling. The classics are rib eye, New York, filet, tenderloin and porterhouse. The lesser cuts are cheaper and usually every bit as tasty if they are marinated. A flatiron, chuck, skirt steak, hangar steak, top sirloin or tri-tip are lesser cuts of steak that I tend to marinate overnight. Steaks can be grilled as a single portion or larger steaks can be grilled whole and sliced for more than one. A steak is best cut 1 to 2 inches thick. If a steak is thinner, then the inside will be overdone before the outside is properly seared. If a steak is thicker then the outside, it will start to char before the inside is ready. Trim off all but a fourth of an inch layer of fat. The less dripping fat means fewer flare-ups.
Seasoning a steak is simple. All you really need is kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Some people like an herb crust. Chopping fresh herbs together in any combination is great. You can combine thyme, rosemary, oregano and/or oregano; however, you should always use rosemary. Mix the fresh herbs with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Rub onto the steak with some olive oil an hour or so before grilling. You should take the steaks out of the refrigerator about 1 hour before grilling to allow the steaks to come to room temperature.
Clean your grill with a wire brush and then prepare a hot fire. Oil the grill and put on the steaks. Your grill should be so hot that you shouldn’t be able to tolerate the heat for more than a couple seconds. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the steaks over and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes. If your steak has a border of fat then turn this onto the grill by holding the steak up with your tongs. Sear the fat for 1 to 2 minutes. After you flip your steaks you should start checking for doneness after about 2 minutes. Press the back of your tongs into the steak. If it is rare it will be soft. If it springs a bit then it is medium rare. If it is resilient then it is well done. Keep testing by using the “back of the tong” method. You can check by cutting into the steaks, but I really think that it is better not to cut into the steaks. Keep working on the “back of the tong” method and you will become a good judge pretty quickly. I think that it is a good idea to take the steaks off of the grill when they are a little less done than you want them to be. They will continue to cook while they rest. A 1 inch steak will be grilled rare in about 8 minutes and for medium it should take about 12 minutes. Check your fire while the steaks are cooking. Move the coals as needed to make the fire hotter or cooler. If your fire flares up then move the steaks out of the flames right away or the fire will burn up your steak. This will form a black and acrid crust. When you remove your steaks from the grill let them take a little rest for a few minutes before serving. Resting stabilizes the internal juices so that they don’t run out excessively when you cut into the steaks. If you are not going to serve right away, make sure to cover loosely with aluminum foil to help keep warm. Don’t seal tightly or they will continue to cook.
Nothing says grilling season like a hot & juicy burger. You can enjoy an American favorite that is new and improved by giving your burger a healthy twist without skimping on flavor. Here are some things that you can do to create a better burger.
Choose Your Patty: For a classic burger it is important to choose the leanest ground beef available. Purists will tell you to use the fattiest ground beef, but if you are trying to cut down on fat and create a healthier burger try using lean meat. I like to use ground sirloin. You also might try: Ground Turkey Breast (usually 99% fat free); Ground Buffalo/Bison (naturally sweet & lean); Veggie Burgers (usually has one seventh the saturated fat of traditional burgers); Fish Burgers; Salmon Burgers (rich in omega-3); Mushroom Burgers (made from large grilled Portobello mushrooms).
Jazz Up Your Burgers: Spices and condiments are key here. Mix in or season your burgers with salt free or low sodium spices. You can get creative here to suit your tastes or mood. I like to use Cajun spices, Italian spices and sometimes a touch of curry spices. You can get a fiber boost and add texture by adding chopped or grated vegetables or herbs.
To Bun Or Not To Bun: Who says a burger must be served on a traditional white bun? Feel free to serve your burgers on 100% whole grain buns or pita pockets. If you are going for a totally bunless burger you might want to try sturdy lettuce or cabbage leaves.
Accessorize: The tasty trimming options are endless, but here are a few ideas. Choose condiments that are low in fat, sodium and sugar. Read the labels on varieties of ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, relish and salsa. Choose low-fat or fat-free varieties of cheese. The white cheeses tend to be lower in fat such as Swiss or provolone. Top your burger with grilled onions and sliced tomatoes. Instead of using iceberg lettuce try radicchio, arugula or romaine. While you’re at it add cucumber slices, radish slices or red pepper rings for some extra crunch.