Savory Summer Cooking: A Guide to a Successful BBQ

With warm weather and sunny skies making their way to Long Island what else is there to do but to have a barbeque?

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With warm weather and sunny skies making their way to Long Island what else is there to do but to have a barbeque?
 
The term barbeque most likely originated from the American Spanish word “barbacoa”  - solely meaning slow cooking food over hot coals, specifically meat. The idea of barbeque came from the traditional roasting of a pig - a convenient food source in the South.  Pig slaughtering and cooking then became a kind of celebration for the people. Today, Americans continue the tradition and the celebration of barbeques (usually without the pig roasts). Barbecues have become a part of the American lifestyle - having an outdoor, or backyard summer party or social gathering with family and friends and with a variety of grilled foods from meats to vegetables
 
There are two main types of ways to barbeque outside. Originally, barbeque was the only term used to describe cooking over the heat of a fire. Today, the terms barbeque and grilling are used and they are used interchangeably. Many people prefer charcoal while others prefer gas grills - there is even a heated debate over which of the two is better. There are a few differences between the two causing the debate. 
 
First, charcoal grilling is the method of slowly cooking food in the hot smoke of a wood or charcoal fire. There is slightly less heat - the food is cooked from the indirect heat from the charcoal and is not as exposed high heat from the direct flames. Charcoal grills only have the charcoal and the fire as sources to start up the grill. Lighter fluid may be necessary to help the charcoal burn faster. Then, it can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes (less or more) for the coals to heat up, keep burning, and let all the lighter fluid burn off as well to avoid any aftertaste.
 
On the other hand, gas grilling involves the use of liquid petroleum, also known as propane gas, to start up the fire and keep the coal heated. The food is cooked over the direct heat and is extremely hot. Gas grills simply need to be turned on. The propane gas serves as the fuel source and creates the heat. The waiting time is only a few minutes for the grill to heat up. Cooking with a gas grill is a much quicker process. 
 
Not only is there a debate between which of the two grills is better, there are also arguments that the taste of food is quite different. Many believe that although the process is much longer, food cooked from the heat of the charcoal tastes better than food quickly cooked on a gas grill and vice versa. 
 
Barbecue has become more than just cooking a hot dog or hamburger - many people are getting creative with what they can do on the grill. This includes the types of meats and vegetables and with the different spices and marinades. Different styles and methods of barbecue are seen in different regions and different parts of the country. The south, where it is warmer almost the entire year, barbeque is a common thing and method of cooking. In the north, where warmer temperatures are seen during the Spring and Summer, the smell of barbeque fills the air.
 
Barbeques are a popular scene among Long Islanders on major holidays such as Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. Of course, any day is a good day for a barbeque. Check out some tips and must-haves for your barbeque that will help you get started on the grill this summer.
 
Tools
Before starting up the fire, check to see if you have all the tools you’ll need to get grilling. Standard kitchen tools can be used. However, Barbeque specific tools have longer handles. Some must-have grilling accessories include: 
  • Spatula 
  • Forks 
  • Tongs (Stainless Steel)
  • Basting Brush (for marinating)
  • Meat Thermometer
  • Grease Wire Brush
 
If you are grilling on a charcoal grill, make sure to get some charcoal lighter fluid and matches to light up those coals. 
 
What’s on the Menu?
Hit up a local farmer’s market to stock up on some food such as hotdogs (and buns), hamburgers (and buns), sausages, chicken, wings, steak, ribs, fish, pork, beef, lamb, vegetables, salad and anything else your heart desires. You can even make some shish kebabs and corn!
 
Don’t forget to accompany those juicy meats with some condiments to add some more flavor such as ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, BBQ sauce, steak sauce, dressings for that salad and many more!
 
No matter what you choose to indulge in, be sure to drink responsibly. Make sure to have some water to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. 
 
Add some variety to the table by having some BBQ snacks to keep yourself and your guests going with some potato chips, baked goods, and desserts. 
 
Marinating
Marinades are a great way to add some flavor to a meat of your choice. Marinades can also tenderize food. For best results, use the basting brush to marinate the food and keep the meat marinated for a few days in the refrigerator. According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service, poultry can be marinated up to 2 days. Beef, pork, and steak can be marinated up to 5 days.  
 
Food Safety 
Just like any type of cooking done in the kitchen, cooking on the grill follows the same sanitary rules to prevent any foodborne illnesses.
 
Before or after the grill is started, use the grease brush to brush and scrub off any grease, oil, or crumbs leftovers from a previous BBQ on the grate. This helps remove any potential bacteria and helps cleans the surface of the grate.
 
Many foods, especially raw meat, have natural bacteria that may be harmful to the human body such as salmonella. The bacteria is destroyed when exposed to high amounts of heat making it safe for us to eat. It is important to keep the cooked food off of surfaces where the raw meat was in contact with. 
 
In addition, wash your hands after your hands touched the raw meat before you touch any other food to avoid distributing the bacteria. 
 
BBQ Safety
Barbeques may be fun but it is important that to be attentive of the risks associated both with charcoal grills and gas grills come with risks. The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers some safety tips: 
 
Gas grills can catch on fire or explode due to the presence of the gas which is highly flammable. Before starting the grill, check the hoses for any cracks, holes, or leaks. If the smell of propane or a leak is detected, immediately turn off the gas. 
 
In addition, check and clean the gas line hoses leading to the burner - which is regulated by the knobs on the front of the grill - for any debris including any insects or food grease. This can cause a fire or melt the knobs since the flow of gas can be deflected and go backwards. A wire or pipe cleaner can be used to push the filth through to the main part of the burner. 
 
Charcoal grills uses charcoal as a source of fuel. The burning of the charcoal produces carbon monoxide (CO) - an odorless and colorless gas that is extremely toxic at high levels and can cause poisoning. Therefore, do not store away the grill until the coals are completely extinguished. 
 
Do not use any grills inside a home or closed environments.  According to the CPSC, about 30 people are injured each year from these gas grill fires or explosions and about 100 people are injured and about 30 people die each year from CO fumes.
 
Whichever grilling preference you have, dive into the taste of grilled food and enjoy the sweet summer! 
 
Let us know what you have plan on grilling and which grill you prefer on our forum
 
Safe grilling!