Volume 3 Issue 8
May, 2000

Hot Off The Grill

                        Hot off the grill 
                         A guide to summer barbecuing 

                          A female comedian once
                          noted that men are
                          willing to cook if thereís
                          danger involved. So it's
                          the perfect season for
                          guys to demonstrate
                          their cooking and
                          courage; just bring out
                          the barbecue and

                          Grilling isnít rocket science; no precise
                          timing or complicated techniques are
                          required. Hereís a guide to grilling
                          essentials that will have you throwing
                          shrimp (or burgers) on the barbie in no

                          Whether youíre
                          using a simple
                          domed charcoal
                          grill or a deluxe
                          gas version, the
                          basics of
                          barbecuing are
                          similar. The
                          barbecue uses
                          wood or
                          charcoal briquettes for fuel and takes
                          about 45 minutes from lighting to
                          cooking; in a gas grill, propane heats
                          porous lava coals or metal bars, which
                          are ready in about 10 minutes.

                          Judge the heat of the coals by holding
                          your palm above the coals at the height
                          your food will be cooked. If you need to
                          remove your hand after two seconds, the
                          coals are hot; after three seconds,
                         theyíre medium-hot; and after four
                          seconds, theyíre medium.

                          If the coals are too hot for your food,
                          adjust the intensity by:

                               Moving the food to a cooler, outer
                               edge of the grill 
                               Raising the grilling rack 
                               Adjusting the vents (closing slightly
                               to reduce heat) 
                               Redistributing the hot coals 
                               Lowing the heat to medium on gas

                          Use a basting brush or nonstick vegetable
                          spray to lightly oil the grill rack.

                          Toss any of the following onto hot coals
                          to produce an aromatic smoke that
                         deliciously penetrates your grilled food:

                               well-soaked wood chips or chunks
                               of hickory, mesquite, apple, cherry,
                               soaked grapevine cuttings 
                               dampened fresh herbs ó tarragon,
                               rosemary, basil, etc.

                          Wood and greens could clog the fuel line
                          in a gas grill. So place the soaked
                          aromatics on top of a piece of
                          heavy-duty aluminum foil or in a
                          disposable foil pan, poke some holes in
                          the bottom, and lay this on top of the
                          hot lava coals or grids. 

                          Playing it safe

                          A few basic food and fire safety rules:

                               Set the grill out in the open away
                               from the house or low-hanging
                               Never leave an operating grill
                               Never add kerosene or gasoline to
                               the coals, and never add liquid
                               starter fluid to an already-burning
                               Use heavy-duty grilling mitts and
                               have a water-filled spray bottle
                               handy for flare-ups. 
                               Once grilling is done, close the air
                               vents on a charcoal grill, replace
                               the cover and wait until the coals
                               have cooled completely before
                               emptying them out. 
                               Donít use utensils or dishes that
                               have touched raw meat to serve
                               cooked food; bacteria from the raw
                               items could contaminate it. For the
                               same reason, cook food for at least
                               five minutes after brushing with
                               marinade that contained raw meat,
                               to kill any bacteria in the marinade.

                          So whatís for dinner? Here are tips for
                          some grill favorites:


                          Trim excess fat to ¼ inch and score the
                          fat to prevent curling. Sear both sides
                          quickly over hot coals, then grill
                          uncovered turning once with tongs. Brush
                          frequently with fresh marinade. For
                          medium doneness, grill a two-inch steak
                          10 to 15 minutes per side; a one-inch
                          steak should take six to nine minutes per
                          side. Donít pierce the meat with a fork;
                          you will lose the juices. To test for
                          doneness, press the steak with your
                          finger. If it feels firm, the steak is
                          well-done; if it is somewhat firm, then itís
                          medium; if it feels soft or spongy, the
                          steak is medium-rare to rare.

                          Sear both sides quickly over hot coals,
                          then grill uncovered over medium-hot
                          coals four to six minutes per side, turning
                          often with a spatula and brushing with
                          fresh marinade.

                          Beef kabobs
                          Thread marinated beef cubes (1 to 1½
                          inches) onto metal or soaked wooden
                          skewers. Place the cubes close together
                          for rare meat, farther apart for more
                          well-done. Sear all sides quickly over hot
                          coals, then grill over medium-hot coals,
                          turning and brushing frequently with fresh
                          marinade. Allow about eight minutes for
                          rare; 10 minutes for medium; 12 minutes
                          for well-done. (Grill marinated vegetables
                          on separate skewers instead of
                          alternating them with the beef; the
                          vegetables cook more quickly and will be
                          overdone by the time the meat is

                          First, partially bake them in a covered
                          dish in marinade in a 350 degree F oven
                          for about 45 minutes. Then grill over
                          medium-hot coals about 30 to 40
                          minutes, turning and basting occasionally
                          with reserved marinade. Or grill over
                          medium-hot coals using the indirect
                          method of grilling (pushing coals to the
                          outer edge, with ribs in a pan in center
                          and grill lid closed) for 1½ hours, turning
                          and basting occasionally with reserved

                          Pork chops
                          Grill marinated chops that are at least
                          one-inch thick so they wonít dry out.
                          Sear both sides quickly over hot coals,
                          then grill over medium-hot coals about 10
                          minutes per side, turning once with
                          tongs. Brush occasionally with fresh

                          Grill marinated chicken parts over
                          medium-hot coals, turning once with
                          tongs and brushing frequently with fresh
                          marinade until the chicken is no longer
                          pink and the juices run clear when
                          pierced. Begin with skin side down; for
                          skinless chicken, lightly oil rack. If grilling
                          assorted pieces of chicken, let the thighs
                          and legs cook for 15 minutes before
                          adding the breasts and wings. Estimated
                          cooking times:

                               Wings: 15 to 20 minutes 
                               Breasts: 20 to 25 minutes 
                               Boneless, skinless breasts: 10 to 15
                               Legs/thighs: 30 to 35 minutes

                          Thread marinated boneless chicken cubes
                         (1 to 1½ inches) onto metal or soaked
                          wooden skewers. Alternate, if desired
                          with marinated fresh vegetable chunks.
                          Grill over medium-hot coals eight to 10
                          minutes, turning and brushing frequently
                          with fresh marinade.

                          Brush fish frequently with reserved
                          marinade to keep it from drying out. As a
                          general guideline, allow 10 minutes grilling
                          ó five minutes per side ó for each inch
                          of thickness of steaks and whole fish.

                          Grill marinated steaks (tuna, salmon, etc.)
                          over hot coals, brushing with reserved
                          marinade frequently and turning once
                          with a spatula. 

                          Whole fish
                          Place in a hinged wire basket and grill
                          over hot coals, brushing with reserved
                          marinade frequently and turning once. If
                          you donít have a basket, grill whole fish
                          as for steaks above.

                          Peel and devein large or jumbo shrimp,
                          then marinate 30 minutes. Grill over hot
                          coals on skewers or atop a grill screen.
                          Turn once and brush frequently with
                          reserved marinade until shrimp turn pink,
                          about eight minutes.

                          Place marinated fillets on top of two
                          squares of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
                          Place sliced lemon or onion underneath
                          and on top of fillets. Double-fold the top
                          and sides to seal the packet and grill over
                          medium-hot coals, without turning, five
                          to eight minutes. Thick fillets can be
                          grilled as steaks. 

                          Use a basket or grill screen to keep
                          smaller foods from slipping through the

                          Whole potatoes: Wrap in foil and cook
                          right in the coals until fork tender.

                          Corn on the cob: Shuck and grill
                          foil-wrapped, marinated corn over medium
                          coals, turning occasionally, 15 minutes or
                          until nicely browned. Or peel back husks,
                          remove corn silk, brush corn with
                          marinade, reposition husks and tie
                          together at the top with string. Then you
                          can either place the corn directly in the
                          coals or grill them over medium coals,
                          turning occasionally, about 15 minutes. 

                          Eggplant, summer squash, green/red
                          pepper: Slice (lengthwise or horizontally)
                          and marinate 15 minutes. Grill over
                          medium coals, turning with a spatula and
                          brushing with marinade, until
                          crisp-tender: 10 to 12 minutes for
                          eggplant; four to eight minutes for
                          squash; and eight to 14 minutes for
                          peppers or until the skins blacken.

                          Tomatoes, red onion: Grill marinated
                          slices in a hinged wire basket, brushing
                          occasionally with reserved marinade and
                          turning once, three to four minutes per

                          Mushrooms: Grill marinated portobello,
                          porcini or other mushrooms over hot
                          coals, turning once and basting
                          occasionally with reserved marinade,
                          three to five minutes per side.

"If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion, and
avoid the
people, you might better stay home."
                                --James Michener


      The flavor of these smoky roasted beets is
      spectacularly concentrated. Serve them warm
      as a side dish; they're rather high in natural
      sweetness and make a good accompaniment
      to duck, goose or pork. 

      Serves 4


                                          6 small fresh beets, trimmed of
                                          all but 1 inch of greens (about 1
                                          1/4 pounds trimmed weight) and

                                          2 medium red onions, unpeeled 

                                          2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive

                                          1/3 cup chicken stock 

                                          3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 

                                          1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme

                                          salt and freshly ground pepper to


      1. Prepare a moderately hot charcoal fire in a grill unit that has a cover (like a
      Weber). Place the beets and red onions in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and drizzle with
      the olive oil. Place the skillet over the fire, cover the grill unit, and roast the
      vegetables at least 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of the vegetables. You
      may have to leave the beets in a little longer than the onions. The onions should be
      soft to the touch, and a fork should pierce the beets easily. Alternatively, you can
      roast the beets in the skillet in a 400°F oven. 

      2. Remove the vegetables from the skillet with tongs. Add the stock, balsamic
      vinegar, and 1 teaspoon thyme to the skillet, place over high heat, and boil the
      liquid, scraping the bottom of the skillet, for about 4 minutes, or until it's dark,
      glossy brown and syrupy. Season with salt and pepper. 

      3. Peel the beets and onions when they're cool enough to handle. Slice the beets into
      julienne strips and the onions into thin rings. Spoon the liquid over the onions and
      beets, add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and stir well to combine. Heat briefly
      and serve.

           -- Dean & Deluca Cookbook


       The perfect starter, or add a green
       salad and a glass of red wine to make
       a meal. 

       Makes 12 bruschette


                                       1 1/4 pounds eggplant 

                                       1 tablespoon salt 

                                       1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 

                                       1 round loaf of country bread 

                                       1 large garlic clove, cut 

                                       freshly ground sea salt to taste 

                                       freshly ground black pepper to taste 

                                       6 ounces prosciutto, sliced very thin 

                                       2 tablespoons very finely chopped
                                       fresh parsley 


       1. Slice the eggplant into 12 rounds. Sprinkle the salt over them, place them in a
       colander, weight them, and let sit over a bowl for 1 hour.

       2. Prepare a charcoal fire. When ready to cook, remove the eggplant slices from the
       colander, and wipe off excess moisture and salt with a towel. Brush each side of the
       eggplant slices with the extra-virgin olive oil. Grill them, turning once, for 10 to 15
       minutes, or until they're brown on the outside and soft on the inside. Reserve.

       3. Cut the bread into 6 slices, and halve the slices (each half slice should be a little
       larger than the eggplant slices). Brush very lightly with extra-virgin olive oil on both
       sides, and grill the bread for about 2 minutes, turning once. Remove from the fire,
       and rub each slice on one side with the cut clove of garlic. Turn that side up, and
       brush it with a little more extra-virgin olive oil.

       4. When ready to serve, place a slice of eggplant on a slice of bread, and spread
       roughly with a knife. Top with a little freshly ground sea salt and a little freshly
       ground black pepper. Repeat with all of the bread and eggplant. Cut the prosciutto
       into slices that fit neatly over the eggplant, and drape the slices over the 12
       bruschette. Top with parsley, and serve. 

            -- Dean & Deluca Cookbook

Some vegetables need blanching first:

                        Artichokes: Trim medium-sized artichokes to their small, inner leaves,
                        quarter, trim spiky tops and remove fuzzy choke. Rub with half a
                        lemon. Blanch in salted, acidulated water until al dente, dry and
                        skewer. Brush with oil, mark over hot flame. Season and drizzle with
                        herb-infused extra virgin olive oil. 

   Asparagus: Boil in salted water until crisp-tender, then drain and plunge into ice water. Dry
   thoroughly. Double-skewer stalks side by side. Brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Cook
   over a moderately hot fire, marking lightly. Remove skewers, drizzle with a flavorful vinaigrette, or
   lemon olive oil, minced preserved lemon and Champagne vinegar. 

   Carrots: Choose slender, youngish ones, peel and blanch. Rub with olive oil, mark lightly on the grill,
   then serve with a white wine vinaigrette flecked with fresh mint; or dress with orange oil with a
   squeeze of lemon and a pinch of cumin and cayenne. 

   Leeks: Choose leeks no more than ½-inch in diameter. Discard dark green leaves and trim root end.
   Blanch and grill like asparagus, but without skewering. Dress with balsamic vinaigrette or herb-infused
   olive oil.

   Some can take a direct char: 

   Eggplant: Set slim Italian eggplants directly on the grill over a hot flame. Turn with tongs until skin is
   charred all over and flesh is soft. (20 to 30 minutes). Remove to glass or ceramic plate (juices turn
   bitter on aluminum), cool slightly and peel. Mash flesh and mix with finely minced garlic, salt, pepper,
   extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and chopped capers. Serve on grilled, garlic-rubbed bread. 

   Tomatoes: Treat like the eggplant, turning with tongs until evenly browned and blistered. Peel, drizzle
   with pungent extra virgin olive oil, torn basil and crumbled feta or goat cheese. Delicious. 

   Others need a little wrapping to hold things together:

   Radicchio: Cut small heads of radicchio in 2-inch wedges. Trim away most of the core from each
   piece, leaving just enough to keep wedges intact. Wrap midsection of wedge with paper-thin pancetta
   (keeping pancetta in a single layer), tuck pancetta ends, brush with olive oil, season and grill over
   moderate fire. 

   Fruit, too, likes it hot (but be sure to scrub the grill clean and oil it just before cooking): 

   Figs: Marinate ripe black figs in extra-virgin oil and a splash of fig balsamic for 20 to 30 minutes.
   Wrap in paper-thin prosciutto, season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Grill over indirect flame
   until warmed through. Brush whole black figs with orange oil, sear quickly over moderate flame. Split
   and set on a plate, add a dollop of mascarpone whipped with cream and top with a swirl of Vincotto. 

   Peaches: Make a backyard Peach Melba. Split and pit ripe, firm-fleshed peaches. Brush cut side with
   clarified butter and dip in sugar. Caramelize over high fire. Serve with a scoop of premium vanilla ice
   cream over a puddle of raspberry syrup. 

   Tropical fruit: Brush fresh pineapple spears, peeled bananas cut in quarters, and mango halves with
   coconut milk and dip in brown sugar. Grill over high heat (turning once), until caramelized. Serve with
   a scoop of coconut or vanilla ice cream and top with rum-spiked dulce de leche. 


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