Best of the Best: Americans and the “grill to chill” • Cathy Best
Across the country distinct regions have colloquial expressions for the art of cooking food over open flames; we grill-out, cookout and barbecue. More specifically we fish fry, wiener roast, brat fry, clambake, crawfish boil and oyster roast our way through family, friend and community gatherings. Call it what you will, it’s part grillin', part chillin' and stands with baseball as a great American pastime.
We don’t just don the barbecue apron for special occasions; on any ordinary day mom or dad fire up the grill and chill-out with the family while dinner cooks. In our family it doesn’t matter if it’s 90 degrees in Madison or a Wisconsin winter high of 15, we grill to chill. Imagine your spouse in stocking cap, down coat and gortex boots flipping dinner on the grill, happy as a clambake, with 20 inches of snow piled around him. Chillin? Oh, you betcha. We Southerners, no matter where our grill’s parked, are a hearty bunch; we don’t cave easily to weather challenges when it comes to grilled food.
I discovered, in a “duh” moment, that if my spouse added a little more charcoal and another piece of hickory, I could pretty much throw a week’s worth of groceries on the grill and chill them in the fridge or freezer for future meals. The trick is to cook the beef, pork, chicken or sausage over the hottest coals, or gas flames, just long enough to get it brown and the juices sealed, set it aside to incorporate a nice smoky flavor and remove from grill when meat is about halfway cooked. Cool and package meats in foil to easily complete cooking in the oven. This method saves time and charcoal so fire it up and chill.
Best of the Best
Epicurious.com cites the following cookbooks as three of the 10 best for grilling:
• Best vegetarian; The New Vegetarian Grill, Revised Edition by Andrea Chesman
• Best for advanced grillers; Thrill of the Grill by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby
• Best from a chef; Bobby Flay’s Boy Meets Grill by Bobby Flay
• In addition here’s a Southern selection; New South Grilling: Fresh and Exciting Recipes from the Third Coast by Robert St. John
Hot off the grill local restaurants:
• Crowes Open Air Barbeque, 1320 Eatonton Road, Madison (catering available)
• El Sol/Harris Warbington, 171 West Washington Street, Madison (barbecue and authentic Mexican food; catering available)
• “Weber’s On the Grill” for iPhone, iPad and Android. Each feature 280 classic Weber recipes. The app allows you to create and share grocery lists and tag and e-mail recipes. You’ll find how-to videos and a grill timer.
George Stephen, a welder, fashioned the first Weber grill from metal Coast Guard buoys he welded at Weber Brothers Metal Works outside Chicago. The Weber Kettle Grill was released for sale in 1952.
Find something exciting? Contact Cathy Best at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cathy Best discovers new things daily. Contact her to share local resources, books, blogs, Web sites and apps you’ve discovered: email@example.com.
Printed in the June 21, 2012 edition