All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.



Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!

6/27/2013

Important Questions

Nate and Vox are off at the races on what will destroy us first.  It's an interesting debate, one I note has no winners. 

Vox on his other blog posts daily about the social destruction brought on by the feminist fall out.

Obummer does all in his power to destroy whats left of America and the Republicans rush to his aid eager to be part of the gotterdammerung.

I decided I couldn't properly afford to run around participating in 1,000 yard matches, or rafting in CO or any one of a number of things I love, this summer.

We all still need to eat, and that brings us to that all important summertime debate question: "Gas or charcoal?".

It may come to a shock to you but, I'm not a culinary purest on this point.  I love my gas grill.  It gets used 12 months a year.  I also love my full sized pull behind trailer charcoal AND gas grill that I'm called upon to use from time to time.  For me the question requires a 3 part answer.

The first factor is time.  Do I have time to start a charcoal fire and wait to cook?  No, OK gas it is.

The second factor is taste.  Do I have a particular level of BBQ expectations that I have to meet?  Then it may be charcoal and some hardwood smoking.  This is the default setting for every situation involving beef brisket.  A sub question under taste is what kind of meat am I cooking?  Chicken, fish and shrimp almost always get the gas grill just because its so easy to control the heat and cooking times.

The third factor is how many people am I cooking for?  If its just the family, the Weber is coming out about 90% of the time.  The exceptions to this rule is when I need to come up with a smoked turkey or other slow roasted and smoked meats.

It's BBQ season what do you use and why?

19 comments:

  1. I prefer gas so that I have more control over the cooking temperature. If I want the wood-smoky flavor, I can add wood chips to the gas grill.

    --Hale

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  2. I do the wood chip thing sometimes too. I used to have a gas fired smoker that I could indirectly grill with and it worked great that way too.

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  3. WaterBoy1:08 PM

    My preferred method has always been a wood fire -- not chips, not smoker, but direct heat from low-burning wood embers. But as Res already explicated with regards to charcoal, it takes a while to set it up right; more time, in fact, than charcoal does. It also takes the right grill and the right wood, neither of which I have readily to hand at the moment.

    When I was stationed overseas, the house we rented came with a wood-burning stove and all the firewood (hardwood) we cared to use piled up in the back. When I found out the landlord also had a mostly-unused large metal grill that was deep enough for burning wood in, I more-or-less-permanently "borrowed" it for the duration of our stay. Not one stick went into the stove, but half of their woodpile disappeared into that grill.

    In no time at all, our landlord-neighbors figured out that if they waited one hour after first smelling smoke, then brought over their raw meat, that I would gladly grill it for them right next to ours. Most nights, we ended up just eating our meals together, too.

    But I primarily use gas now, with wood chips for those few occasions where I have time for slow-cooked meats like rotisserie turkey/chicken or ribs. Eventually, I will build a permanent stone grill/oven for going back to cooking over wood.

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  4. WaterBoy1:24 PM

    "It gets used 12 months a year."

    It's amusing to see all the surprised looks on people's faces as they drive up the street and see you outside grilling in a December snowstorm. Assuming they can see you, that is....

    I just wish I had been so prepared the one year that a car took out the power to the entire neighborhood on Christmas Eve, as the turkey sat half-cooked in the oven waiting for the electricity to come back on. It was after that event that I bought a rotisserie grill big enough to do a good-sized turkey. I suspect your trailered grill would easily accommodate an entire Christmas pig, too.

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  5. Waterboy,

    The BEST meat I ever had was roasted goat in Mexico slow cooked over a wood fire pit.

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  6. black2:53 PM

    Bought a Char Griller gas grill a couple years back and plan to add in a lava rock layer this summer.

    Also picked up a wood pellet grill (pre-traeger era) free at the end of a garage sale a couple years ago that I've never used and plan to try. I've heard they're nice.

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  7. WaterBoy3:32 PM

    black: "Also picked up a wood pellet grill...that I've never used and plan to try."

    Report back when you do, if you wouldn't mind. I've used pellets in the smoker tray on my gas grill, but haven't been satisfied with their performance when compared to chips. I'm wondering how they'll perform as a primary fuel source, though.

    Thanks!

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  8. Didn't know you were a bbq artist. I guess most guys are.

    I use gas always. I have a box type gas smoker that I got at walmart for 99 bucks. It has a box in the bottom right above the flame for chips or chunks.


    I have a lot of stuff to learn. I made some ribs the other day that tasted great but needed more time to get tender. Probably my biggest problem is that it takes so long. Half the time I smoke the stuff all day and it needs to be finished off in a crock pot.

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  9. WaterBoy6:16 PM

    There are basically two schools of thought on ribs.

    One is to boil them first to get them tender, then finish them off on the BBQ. This has the benefit of saving time, at the cost of flavor. But you also can't apply a rub, as it will just wash off so you're left with sauces applied while grilling.

    Another is to only cook them on the grill, and use other methods to tenderize them (marinate them in beer, for example). Slow cooking them over indirect heat will leave them tender without sucking out the flavor, but it takes a lot longer. But you'll also have a lot more options in seasoning, too.

    Purists will sneer at boiling them, but I say whatever works for the situation you are in. If you have all day to spend cooking them, then by all means don't boil.

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  10. black: "Also picked up a wood pellet grill...that I've never used and plan to try."

    My brother loves his.

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  11. WaterBoy12:40 AM

    So I was reading some articles today...and came across something about not using cedar wood for grilling.

    Now, I've known for a while not to use softwoods like pine and other evergreen wood...but this was the first time I had ever read not to use cedar. I use Western Red Cedar planks and wraps all the time, especially for salmon (these work great, BTW) -- I'm wondering where this is coming from, now.

    Any ideas?

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  12. WB,

    Cedar for seafood is common. I don't think it gets used for smoking meats very often. I don't know why you would use it for that anyway.

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  13. WaterBoy12:34 PM

    I suppose it was in the way that it was lumped in with other softwoods with resins and saps that can infuse your food with toxins, for any cooking application at all.

    Here, check out this article: WOOD SELECTION FOR SMOKING & GRILLING

    "There are many types of wood that are unsuitable or even poisonous when used for grilling. Don't use any wood from conifer trees, such as PINE, FIR, SPRUCE, REDWOOD, CEDAR, CYPRESS, etc."

    Now, he has a point about the other woods. But as I noted, cedar -- particularly Western Red Cedar -- is perfectly safe as far as I know. I just wondered if anyone else had heard of toxins being imparted by any type of cedar, or if this guy just doesn't know what he's talking about.

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  14. I think the issue is cooking on vs smoking with. Planking with cedar is a very old method of cooking fish. I've never known anyone to smoke with it.

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  15. WaterBoy1:58 PM

    It shouldn't matter -- either way, it's going to impart its component chemicals into the food, either through smoke particles or directly from wood to flesh.

    If it's isn't safe for one method, then it logically follows that it wouldn't be safe for the other, either. That's my main concern, that I don't want to be poisoning my family.

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  16. When I've done it, the plank is soaked with water and used as to modify the heat that comes in contact with the fish. Steam not smoke is released. I put the skin side down on the wood. The fish that is eaten never comes in contact with heated or smoking wood. I've never used the fish basket method but even then its the same concept, so I don't see how you'd cause a health issue.

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  17. WaterBoy3:00 PM

    Those cedar papers I pointed to earlier are what I use almost exclusively for salmon, nowadays. While the paper is soaked in water, the salmon is skinned and does come in contact with the wood. In fact, that is one of the features of the paper -- it completely surrounds the entire filet (except the ends), and cooks it inside this little mini-steamer, while still getting some of the smoke from parts of the pulp that brown or char. The best part is that the outer layer of cellulose* from the paper adheres to the flesh and gives it this...smoky-sweet flavor. It's quite good.

    *Cellulose in plant cells is a chain of linked sugar molecules. In large quantities, it is known as "fiber". But we are only talking about minute quantities, here.

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  18. Res Ipsa9:55 PM

    I'm sure its less harmful than a Davidoff.

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  19. black2:21 PM

    I'll report back when I try it later this summer. Almost pulled it out this weekend, but decided not to rearrange the garage to get to it.

    It looks like this:
    http://pelletheads.com/index.php?topic=9590.0

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