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Friday, May 30, 2008

101 Things to Cook on Your Grill (Not Including Burgers)

My love of BBQ was professed in the last thread. Smoking over charcoal and wood is one of my favorite things in the world. But I never would have discovered that if it weren't for grilling.

Just to be clear, I am one of those people that makes a distinction between "grilling" and "barbeque." Barbeque involves charcoal and smoke, and typically takes longer than a couple hours to achieve good results. Grilling on the other hand may involve charcoal, but it also may included propane, natural gas, butane, a George Foreman device (acceptable only if grilling indoors) and can usually be completed in under an hour.

Grilling is what most of us do an long weekends, when we toss some frozen burger patties on the "Q" (herafter referred to as the GRILL). Many swear by steaks, some hot dogs (including brats, smokies, kilbasa, etc.) and the adventurous few, chicken. All are excellent uses of your grill, and I encourage you to keep with them. But I am amazed at how many backyard chefs stop their repetoire at just a couple items. A grill is simply a heat source, just like any other heat source, suitable for saute-ing, roasting, and yes, even baking.

A favourite recipe from our grill is pizza. A simple dough rolled into a thin crust and grilled makes one of the best pizzas I've ever produced at home. The Cook's Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Cooking has one of the best recipes for the dough. The toppings are up to you. But keep in mind, we're talking thin crust here, and minimal cooking time since you don't want to burn the crust. We like grilled veggies, basil and fresh basil ... or smoked chicken, grilled onions and smoked gouda.

A couple pizza-grilling tips:
  1. Make extra dough, roll it into portion sizes and freeze them for later use.
  2. Grill the dough on one side first, the flip it and add the toppings to the grilled side. This gives you a little extra "melting" time for the cheese.
  3. Use a pot lid to cover the pizza while you're heating the toppings. It helps to concentrate the heat.

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