That food on the grill or smoker smells so delicious, you want it NOW! But when is food really done? For meats and poultry, use an instant read thermometer to test for doneness. Fish fillets or steaks (other than meaty fish like tuna ) are done when they begin to flake when tested with a fork in the thickest part. (You can eat tuna as rare or well done as you like.) Shellfish turn opaque when they’re cooked through.
THE BBQ QUEENS ON FIRE!
If you use charcoal, grill over a hot fire when the coals have just ashened over, not when they are flaming (and keep a spare bag of hardwood lump charcoal handy). If you use gas, a hot fire means you can only hold your
hand about 5 inches above the flame and count 1001, 1002, then ouch! Keep an extra propane tank so you don’t run out of fuel in the middle of a cookout.
CLEAN THAT GRILL
The absolutely easiest way to clean a grill is immediately after you have grilled. Remove the food. Turn the heat to high. Close the lid and let the grunge burn off the grill, usually takes about 5 minutes. Stay at the grill while you do this, or you may forget to come back and turn off the heat. After it cools down a bit, use a grill brush to scrape off any remaining grunge.
OIL THAT GRILL
We like Grill Wipes™! These handy oiled pads can be applied at anytime because the oil is saturated onto the pad and doesn’t drip – so no flare-ups. The wipes contain a high temperature cooking oil . This makes for a nicely oiled grill without that horrible smoke from using oil that burns at lower temperatures.
Along with our tiaras, the BBQ Queens like utilitarian accessories. Heavy-duty aluminum foil can be crimped to make a disposable bowl. Disposable aluminum pans are great for holding meats and their juices for basting or
for side dishes (no clean up) on the smoker or for catching drips when rotisserie cooking outdoors.
Gadgets aren’t just for guys. We think gadgets make grilling fun. Try wood planking to give your food an aromatic flavor. Or use a perforated grill wok for stir-grilled meals.
SPRAY ON FLAVOR
Fill a spray bottle with fruit juice to make a citrus spray for basting. Or fill with apple cider or red pepper vinegar to give rotisserie or slow-smoked meats a Carolina-style taste.
SUGAR AND SPICE AND EVERYTHING NICE
Jams, jellies & fruit preserves are quick & delicious glazes for meats. Brush on a glaze during the last minutes of grilling or smoking to add a touch of sweetness and give your food a wonderful sheen.
NATURAL BASTING BRUSHES
Make an herb paint brush for basting by gathering several stems of mint, rosemary, fennel or whatever herb you grow in abundance. Tie the herbs together with twine and dip into the baste or marinade and baste the food
MUST-HAVE GRILL GADGETS
Long live long-handled spatulas, hinged tongs, and basting brushes. Without them our French manicures would be singed! Honestly, these keep the heat of the fire at bay. Extra-long grill mitts can also do the trick, but if it is hot outside, the heavy material from these gloves can give anybody HOT FLASHES!
If you plan to sauce with a sweet barbecue sauce, do so the last 10 minutes of grilling or the sugar in the sauce will turn black (burned) on your meat from the higher grilling temperature. If smoking, sauce with a sweet mixture the last 30 to 60 minutes of smoking, because the heat is lower for smoking and it will take longer for the sugar to burn.
SPRINKLE, SLATHER, SOAK AND DRIZZLE
Dry rubs pack lots of quick flavor and can simply be sprinkled on foods before cooking. Slather on a mixture of mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and herbs for a great grilled salmon fillet or turkey breast cutlets . Soak chicken in homemade or bottled vinaigrettes for an easy marinade before grilling or smoking. Drizzle grilled or smoked foods with a finishing sauce for a final grace note.
BBQ TIPS FROM THE PAST!
MARINADES: THE CROWNING GLORY OF FLAVOR
Marinades can impart wonderful flavor to foods that you plan to grill or smoke. Always marinate in non-reactive containers; a glass dish will do. But the BBQ Queens highly recommend plastic zip-lock bags. The bags allow for a more thorough over-all coating of the meat, fish, or veggies; plus you use less marinade. Clean up is fast because you rinse out the bag then throw it away.
MORE ON MARINADES OR NO, NO NANETTE!
No, no, never ever reuse marinades that contained raw meat or fish to marinate anything else. Never! If you want to make up a batch of marinade ahead of time, do so by combining the oils and vinegars, but add fresh or dry herbs and seasonings (like basil, garlic, or freshly ground pepper) the day you plan to use the marinade for optimum strength.
NO MORE FISHY ODORS
Just like Joan Crawford detested wire hangers, we don’t like fishy odors. But, we definitely love fish and shellfish! So whenever you buy fish, the fish/seafood counter should look and smell clean. The smell, if any, should be like clean ocean air. Buy from reputable grocers and fishmongers. When you get the fish home, remove it from the butcher paper. Rinse the fish and prepare it for cooking or repackage it in a plastic bag and refrigerate or freeze it. Don’t throw the butcher paper or plastic bag in the garbage until you’ve rinsed it well, too. This drill will keep your kitchen from smelling fishy.
FROZEN FISH IS GOOD FISH
We highly recommend FAS (Frozen At Sea) fish and shellfish. What? Fresh isn’t better, you say? The term fresh is relative. The fish has been on the boat at sea for several days. The boat docks and the fish is sent overnight to the grocer. So it arrives fresh, after 7 days at sea!? You need more proof? The BBQ Queens were at a seafood tasting with presenters from the Chef’s Collaborative and the Seafood Conservancy Program. The audience consisted of trained culinary professionals. The blind tasting of the same fish resulted in the ‘fresh’ cooked fish being the least favorite and the ‘FAS’ fish being the most favored.
FISH AND SEAFOOD IN JUST 10 MINUTES!
Don’t fool around like the court jester and over-cook fish and seafood. Fish will change from a translucent color to opaque as it cooks. It’s done when the flesh just begins to flake when tested with a fork. The royal rule of thumb is to cook fish 10 minutes per inch of thickness.
While the fish is on the grill, grill some citrus, too. Take your pick from limes, lemons, oranges, blood oranges, grapefruit, etc. Slice the fruit about 1/2 inch thick or halve the fruits. Lightly coat with olive oil so the fruit will char a little and also not stick to the grate. Grill for a couple of minutes and serve on the side. It will look great as a garnish. Warming the fruit makes it release more juice, too.
Quite the rage now, wooden planks have been a staple in preparing alder- or cedar-planked salmon in the great Northwest for years. The BBQ Queens teach planking classes often because we like it and the classes fill with students who are interested in this technique, too. Planks range in width from about 1/2-inch thick for a ‘grilling’ plank which can be used 3 or 4 times to a 2-inch thick ‘baking’ plank that can last for a couple of years. We prefer the baking plank because it has a shallow hollowed out surface that is perfect for planking fish or chicken with a sauce. The hollow let’s the sauce to remain on the plank rather than running off the sides. (Baking Planks are available at pigoutpublications.com.)
- Make an herb paint brush for basting by gathering several stems of mint, rosemary, fennel or whatever herb you grow in abundance. Tie the herbs together with twine and dip into the baste or marinade and baste the meat that’s cooking.
- Jams, jellies & fruit preserves are quick & delicious glazes for meats.
- Fill a spray bottle with fruit juice to make a citrus spray for basting.
- Great gadgets make grilling fun… try wood planking for heavenly scents in your backyard. Or a perforated grill wok for stir-grilled meals.
- Compound butters are easy to make ahead and store in the freezer. Mix chopped macadamia nuts with butter and serve a pat on fresh grilled Mahi Mahi.
- Keep a heavy duty zip-lock plastic bag filled with water and 4 or 5 chunks of wood… ready to throw on the smoker in a snap.
- Create your own signature barbecue sauce the doctored-up way!
- TO 1 CUP OF BBQ SAUCE ADD:
- 1 TABLESPOON SOY SAUCE AND 1 TEASPOON TOASTED SESAME OIL
- 2 TABLESPOONS WHISKEY
- 1 TABLESPOON FRESHLY GRATED GINGER AND JUICE
- ZEST OF 1 LIME OR ORANGE
- Try flavored wood pellets. They don’t need to be water-soaked and 1/4 a cup will smoke a whole turkey. Plus they come in orange, pecan, oak, bourbon-soaked oak, mesquite, mulberry, cherry, apple, sassafras and more.
COME VISIT US AGAIN AS WE CONTINUE TO ADD TO OUR BBQ TIPS PAGE.