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Archive for the month “September, 2012”

Tips in Preparing Tasty Home Cooked Barbecue

Pork, Beef, Lamb and Chicken! Whatever it is, as long as it is barbecue, many people will surely love it. Weekends couldn’t get any better than when spent with friends, loved ones and barbecue.

It does not take a genius to make a great tasting home cooked barbecue; it only needs imagination, creativity and a little bit of patience.  A great tasting barbecue is cooked slowly with a moderate heat within a considerable length of time.

Barbecue is not like grilling which takes less cooking time since the heat temperature is much higher. The reason for such cooking method is to allow the flavors of the meat to be absorbed while making it tender.  Most people exaggeratedly describe it as “falling of the bones”.

Trick and Tips

  • A good smoker or grill is the most basic and important aspect of barbecuing. As mentioned earlier, the heat must be controlled and maintained. This is to prevent the meat from being burned outside and dry. In addition, choosing a good type of wood chips is also a factor. Since the smoky flavor that the chip gives add more appeal to your barbecue.
  • Preparing the meat ahead of time is also important. It should be in a room temperature, and well marinated. The marinade you use is up to your own preference. It can be hot and spicy, sweet or some like it a little bit of everything. One should also remember to save the marinade, since it can be used to make your barbecue sauce. It will make the sauce better tasting because of the juices and meat flavors mixed into it.
  • When cooking the meat, try not to get excited and flip it as you like. This will cause the juices and flavor to drip out of the meat then everything will be dry. Tasty barbecues are cooked with patience. Flipping it once to three times be okay, without pressing it. Covering the meat while cooking is also great in keeping the heat and infusing the smoky flavor into the meat.
  • A little help from the kids is also a fantastic idea. Making the work less tiring while having some time bonding with your family. Giving the kids some easy chores or task during this weekend barbecuing activity would let them learn a thing or two about being responsible.
  • There is also a theory of resting the meat first before cutting it. In this manner, you are allowing the juices to get back inside the meat thus making it tastier. Apart from it, you also prevent all the juices from running over the serving plate and making everything look messy. The theory is to allow the meat fibers have some time to relax and take in the flavors after removing from the intensity of the heat.
  • Eat and serve with love. This way, all the family members will enjoy the food and remember the good things of the activity. Making home barbecuing stress and anxiety free will result to a more quality family bonding time.

Summing it all up, home cooked barbecue is great in many ways.  Always remember that the best barbecue is mostly a product of patience and perfect fire-tending. For each part of the meat – the shoulder, ribs, brisket, etc., must be cooked in different length of time.

Only the best and keenest personal observation will allow an individual to master the skill of cooking home-made barbecues. Not to mention the fact that you also need to be keen in choosing your barbecue equipment and wood chips in order to come up with great tasting barbecue.

Weekend barbecue can be a source of family bonding time. Share the laughter and fun of cooking home-made barbecue with your friends and loved ones. It will not only allow you to indulge in its mouth-watering taste, but you will also get the chance to enjoy each other’s company.

Lastly, it releases your inner cave man attitude which is always craving for adventure and the great outdoors.

About the Author:

Ryan Rivera used to suffer from panic attacks for seven years.  He now advocates healthy living as the best weapon against anxiety, panic and depression.  You can read more of his articles at Calm Clinic

How to Grill the Perfect Steak

Let’s get one thing established before we go too far: the concept of “perfect” varies from person to person. So in this article what we’re aiming for as perfect is this: a steak that has a decent charred crust and is right around medium rare. Have a read through and follow the directions and you should be well on your way to attaining this.

To start with you need a good cut of meat. A good thick piece of meat is highly recommended. Try and pick something up that is about an inch and a half thick. The other dimensions of the steak are largely irrelevant, though a 12-16 ounce piece of meat is a good weight to begin with.

When you’re getting ready to start cooking, make sure to pull the steaks out beforehand. Depending on how warm the environment is, and how cool your refrigerator is set to keep food, you’ll need about 20-60 minutes for them to come up to about 68-70 degrees, which is ideal for aiming for a rare or medium rare finish. (Blue finishes benefit from thicker steaks and colder starting points, and medium and well will do better warmer and thinner.)

Prepping your coals is best done by getting a good set of half-white briquettes and using them on half the grill, while the other half remains unheated. This is important so you can pull the steaks off the heat if there’s a flare-up, which can burn the outside and leave the center cold. Leaving the lid closed for a couple of minutes after doing this will bring the grill up to the proper heat.

Before tossing the steaks on the grill you should apply melted unsalted butter (lightly) either by dipping the meat or brushing it, and then add freshly ground salt (a lot) to help build a great crispy crust. If you’re partial to pepper you should also grind some up and spread it across the steaks at this point, though it’s not a critical part of the process. Right before placing them on the heat you can compress the sides of the steaks in order to get as much height out of the meat as possible.

When you place the steaks on the grill watch for flare-ups from the butter and fat. If you get one at any point you should shift the steaks off the heat without flipping them. Now, there are a few different theories as to how often flipping should take place. Some people subscribe to the single flip method of cooking. Others insist on two. But what you should aim for here is to flip the steaks three times. Go ahead and leave the steaks on for about three to three and a half minutes each time (taking care to avoid burning through those flare-ups by sliding the steaks off the heat until they pass) for a total of six and a half to seven minutes per side.

Now, this should give you steaks that are medium rare. The absolute best way to test this it is to check the center with a meat thermometer. It should be right around 120 degrees. A little bit less should also prove sufficient, and a little bit more just means you’re going to see a medium rarity.

Remember to let your steaks sit for between 3.5-5 minutes before cutting into them in order to let them finish cooking (through residual heat) and to let the juices properly infuse the meat. They’ll just run all over the place if you cut too soon! Serve the steaks up with sides as you prefer. I’m partial to corn on the cob or a baked potato, and a fresh garden salad.

Finally, when your steaks are prepared this way they should require no additional condiments except perhaps pepper if you left it off originally. And even if you’re one of those steak sauce adherents, you owe it to yourself to try the meat unadorned before you cover up its natural flavors. Flavors which have been enhanced with the butter coating and generous amounts of salt.

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The Best BBQ Sauce Recipes for Camping Cookouts

The trick to keeping camping gear down to a minimum for camping cookouts is to use food items you normally bring along.

Some serve double duty as ingredients for BBQ sauces. Mustard, ketchup and sweet pickle relish, condensed canned soup, onions, maple or pancake syrup, sugar, orange juice and other fruit juices, iced tea, cola soda, milk and brewed coffee are usual fare brought to camping cookouts. These make BBQ sauces extra flavourful.

Home Style BBQ Sauce

Six to eight pieces of chicken, ribs or shish kabobs
1 can condensed tomato soup
4 oz. cola soda (reduces soup thickness)
1/2 tablespoon mustard (golden, brown or spiced)
1/2 cup of ketchup
1/4 cup finely diced onion

Blend condensed soup with four remaining ingredients until thick and smooth. This is also good marinade. Marinate an hour before grilling to infuse meats with deeper flavor for chicken or ribs or a condiment on grilled hamburgers.

Variation On A Home Style BBQ Sauce

Best with Chicken, Beef or Pork Medallions
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
4 oz. milk (or evaporated milk for extra thick sauce)
1/4 cup cold, brewed coffee
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1/2 tablespoon mustard

Blend condensed soup with milk, coffee and syrup. Add onion and mustard. Brush chicken, beef or pork with BBQ sauce before placing on BBQ grill. Turn meats for even grilling.

Iced Tea By Any Other Name Is BBQ Sauce
Dehydrated ice tea mix adds piquant flavour to meats when added to BBQ sauce and Marinades. Pre-mixed ice tea is a good base for BBQ sauce and marinade recipes.

TeaBQ Sauce

1/2 packet of dehydrated ice tea mix (lemon added preferred)
1 cup orange or fruit punch flavor fruit juice
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon mustard
1-2 tablespoon ketchup (to thicken to sauce consistency)

Blend dehydrated ice tea mix with orange or fruit punch flavor juice. Mixture will be slightly thick. Add in sweet pickle relish. Blend separately sugar and mustard. Add to iced tea/juice mixture. Thicken with ketchup.

Marinade: Instead of 1/2 packet of dehydrated iced tea mix, blend pre-mixed iced tea with juice, sugar and mustard. Omit sweet pickle relish. Marinate one hour.

Tea And Milk Fusion Marinade

1 cup premixed ice tea
1/2 cup whole milk (or evaporated milk)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 dried hamburger bun crumbs
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Blend tea, milk and sugar. Blend crumbs. Add chicken, seafood or ribs. Marinate one hour.

Guest blogger:  This is a guest post from Lauren Brown; blogger for Al Fresco Holidays, specialists in self-catering in France.

5 amazing BBQ treats you’ve never heard of until now

It’s coming into late summer – which is often the perfect time for a BBQ. The days are long, the sun shines until late evening and the days stay warm too – which if you ask us, is the perfect BBQ weather.

But if you want to do something a little different – and break away from your traditional BBQ treats (such as the burger and hotdog) why not try our amazing list of alternative BBQ snacks?

You’re guaranteed to love them!

1.      For someone with a sweet tooth….

For those times when you want something sweet and tasty, try peeling a banana and then cutting it in half length-ways. Purchase a Mars Bar and then slot the Mars Bar between the banana. Next step: wrap in tinfoil and place on the BBQ to melt. If you love Banoffee pie – you’ll absolutely adore this sweet BBQ treat!

2.     For the sophisticated BBQ….

For those with a more sophisticated taste, then why not try BBQing some lamb. You can skewer the meat if you choose – and then simply lay over some mint leaves underneath and let the flavour infuse into the meat whilst cooking. It’s super tasty – and perfect with a pita bread and sour cream. The is perfect for those wanting to impress their BBQ guests as the smell alone will have them hooked!

3.     For the kebab lover….

For cooking kebabs, try doing something a little different! Marinate your chicken in a sweet sauce and then in a separate tub marinate some in a sour tangy sauce. Then after leaving it for a day to soak up the flavours, skewer the meat in between pieces of onion and pineapple. Hey Presto! You have some delicious sweet and sour kebabs! It’s a winner every time!

4.     For the fish lovers….

There is nothing better than BBQ’d Mackerel – so next time you have fish lovers around for a BBQ throw some of these on the BBQ and watch them become hooked. You don’t need anything other than salt and pepper – then just leave to slowly cook and crisp around the edges! It truly is pretty magical and pretty simple too.

5.     For the Sh’more addict….

If you love your Sh’more then you’ll love this posh version! Basically, the process is the same as the normal Sh’more, but instead of just the marshmallow melted in the middle, you put a BBQ’d strawberry in there too. The fruitiness and the sweetness is pure heaven!

Guest blogger:  Elle works with Global Knives, the perfect place to purchase your BBQ cutting tools! You can find their range of knives at Chefs Knives online.

BBQ Using Freeze Dried Ingredients

You want to throw a barbeque for a small group of friends but you recently switched to buying freeze dried foods because of the money you’ll save and the ease of the food storage. You don’t know if your guests will enjoy the freeze dried fare as much as you would and you don’t want them to decline the invitation because of what is being served. Shh! Don’t tell them what you are cooking with. What they don’t know will likely surprise them and maybe get them to understand that freeze dried food is the alternative they’ve been looking for to help them cut back on food expenses.

Here are a few recipes for items that you can throw on the grill that will tantalize the taste buds of your guests.

The first recipe is for Bacon Quesadillas.

In order to make this you’ll need:

¼ cup of green onions
½ cup of freeze dried shredded Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup of freeze dried cheddar cheese
¼ cup bacon textured vegetable protein

These ingredients will make four quesadillas, so measure out enough in order to accommodate the amount of guests who will be arriving at your party. Top the tortillas with a layer of the bacon textured vegetable protein, cheese and onions then fold each tortilla in half. Place on the grill until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are lightly brown. Serve to enjoy.

If that isn’t enough how about Chicken Stuffed Tomatoes to go along with your Quesadillas?

For this recipe you’ll need:

2 Teaspoons of dried dill weed
Finely diced rib of celery
1 cup of finely diced green onions
1/8 teaspoon of ground pepper
1 cup of finely chopped freeze dried chicken
½ cup of low-fat mayonnaise

The above ingredients are enough to make 4 stuffed tomatoes so adjust according to how many guests you will be inviting. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, then cut the tops of the tomatoes off and scoop out the insides. Fill each tomato with some of the mixture in the bowl and when this is done place them on the grill over a low fire. This will allow the insides to cook while not burning the tomatoes. Wait until the stuffing is warmed up and the tomatoes are lightly grilled and serve.

Freeze dried food doesn’t have to be a boring way to eat. You can find new, inventive ways to eat them and on a bright sunny day what better activity is there than holding a barbeque and sharing food with friends? Maybe sharing your love of freeze dried food as well.

Guest blogger: Denise Mitchell is a lover of the outdoors. She prefers to hike and go picnic with her family whenever her job as a writer for allows it.

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