Chef Michael’s Grilling Tips Q&A

by Laurie on June 29, 2015

IMG_2681 A chef and his pig!

Do you have any insight about how this “new wave” of BBQ began? Who would think to BBQ a banana?
As far as I can tell Grilling and BBQ has been around since man started using fire to cook food. In most cultures there is some form of grill prevalent in early forms of cooking. BBQ Grilling seems to have become popular because of the post-WWII growth of the suburbs. But there is one main confusion about BBQ and Grilling. BBQ is usually slow and low heat with and indirect heat source. Grilling is usually high heat and quick. So one is not term is technically not interchangeable with the other. But we do it anyway.2. Here are the items I have so far — any important ones I am missing?

This list is great, I especially like the different meats included but I think you should add some of the basics. Other different items could be fish and shellfish like oysters, clams, shrimp, stuff like that. Basically anything can be grilled. Just remember Better cuts of meat are best. Also adding a source for these different meats would be great. www.dartagnan.com is a great source for some different meats.
Asparagus, Bananas, Pizza, Whole Peppers, Watermelon, Cheese, Mushrooms, Pineapple, Emu, Zucchini, Plums, Ostrich, Romaine Lettuce, Peaches, Kangaroo, Pears, Buffalo

Are there any basic BBQ rules that apply to all of these foods? Or to categories (like fruits or veggies)?
Always keep your grill grate clean to prevent sticking.
Preheat your grill before putting food on it. When it is hot is also a good time to use a wire brush to clean the grates
Flare-ups are caused by too much fat and too much heat. Trim excess fat and when you turn meat on the grill move it to a different part of the grill.
Keep a squirt bottle of water near the grill to quickly douse any unexpected flare-ups.
Use a grill basket for foods that can easily fall through the grates.
Spice up your food a good hour before you grill. This lets the flavor sink in.
Have the proper grill tools to do the job.

In your opinion, what is the best BBQ set-up for someone who wants to experiment with unusual foods?
In my Backyard I have a gas Grill and a Charcoal grill. I use the gas grill for ease and convenience and the charcoal grill for flavor. If you want to experiment use some different hardwoods in the charcoal grill. You can even add some herbs to the fire as your food is cooking.

What is the biggest mistake people tend to make when they BBQ?
Oil the food, not the grill. Oil burns away at high temperatures so it is pointless to oil the cooking grate.
Do not add sugary sauces or marinades to meat on the grill until the end of cooking. This causes burning.
All meats absolutely needs time to rest, and let the juices redistribute. For thin cuts, 5 to 10 minutes will do; for larger, thicker steaks, 10 to 15 is better.

What is your favorite unusual BBQ fare?
Meats are always great on the grill. On a trip to Australia we stayed at a vineyard and had access to a grill. We went to the local Supermarket and bought every cut of Kangaroo they had. It turned out to be a great meal. Other foods I like to grill include any breads, cakes and a grilled PB&J is great.

What role do you see unusual BBQ choices playing in today’s cuisine? Do you think it is just a passing fad?
Grilling foods have been around forever and I don’t think it is going anywhere. Even with these new cooking techniques coming out like sous vide and molecular gastronomy, Grilling is still used to add flavor to the finished product. Grilling is going no where.

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