Grilling Success

Grilla from Manila heating torching the coals

I'll be the first to admit it: I misuse the term BBQ all the time. BBQ is the application of heat and smoke in controlled (usually small) to slow cook meat until its falling apart juicy and good. BBQ is a not easy, requires time, skill and patience to control wild elements like fire. I know how to grill. A grill is just a metal grate that you put over heat, often created from charcoal or gas, but I've been know to cook over wood fire too. Its not any different from cooking on stove except you're outside and you're in charge! In fact I have a might grill pan I use inside all the time, but yeah its just not as impressive sounding is it?

So let's be clear. BBQ is slow smoked ribs, pork butt, pastrami, brisket etc. Grilling is for hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken pieces, fish, vegetables or anything that can be cooked on grate over fire. Use your imagination, and you'll find that lots of things taste amazing on the grill. I find a successful grilling comes down to 2 factors:

1) Choosing the right items to grill. If you are serving a crowd quantity can trump quality if pay attention to the next piece of advice.
2) Preparing marinades and condiments to compliment your grilled foods. I strongly suggest:
1 pickled item, 1 marinade, 1 kind of bbq sauce

Flavor trifecta for best grilling success: BBQ sauce, cilantro lime marinade, and kimchi

Condiments are creative. You can combine, grind, and personalize any set of flavors into existing condiments or from scratch. I am including my BBQ sauce recipe below which you are free to tweak and twist to be sweeter, more sour, or spicy as you see fit. Some other grilling condiments include, chutney, sriracha ketchup, pesto, lemon-garlic aioliduck fat mayonnaise (just be careful to keep these out of hot direct heat, ick), kraut, bread and butter picklespickled turnips, pickled watermelon rindchili, black bean salsa, and on and on and on. 

Naomi's BBQ Sauce Base

1 onion, roughly chopped
5-8 cloves of garlic
1 tsp oil
1/2 cup ketchup
12 oz diced can tomatoes
1 tblsp soy sauce
1 tblsp molasses
1 tblsp vinegar
5 drops liquid smoke
1/2 can of beer
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
hot sauce to taste

Heat onion, garlic and oil over medium heat for 10-12 minutes until transparent in a large sauce pan. Add all the remaining ingredients and simmer for  20 minutes. Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Move BBQ sauce back to stove, heat for another 10 minutes over medium to thicken. Taste and adjust flavors as necessary. Cool and store in a jar for about 6 months.

Cilantro-Lime Marinade

1/2 whole lime, chopped into pieces
1 large bunch of cilantro, washed and coarsely chopped
2 whole scallions, chopped into pieces
1 tblsp olive oil
2 tblsp pineapple juice
1 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic
1 dried chili pepper, torn into pieces

Grind all ingredients in a food processor. Taste and adjust flavors as necessary. Marinade will keep for about 2 weeks. Spread over chicken, beef, or seafood before and or after grilling.


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