Fourth of July barbecue grill adds fourth color to the mix

Fourth of July barbecue grill adds fourth color to the mix

A warm summer night, friends, fireworks and barbecue: What is there not to love about the Fourth of July? It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling to the beach, the lake or staying at home; almost everyone does a little outdoor cooking for the holiday. It is definitely a time to celebrate and gather with friends old and new. Lately I have been smoking every weekend as I plan to enter the competition circuit on a limited basis this year, and I am trying to get my seasoning and timing down. However, this Fourth, I am feeling like I will spend some significant quality time with my Big Green Egg grill.

Direct heat cooking is an excellent way to maximize time spent on outside activities while still having some amazing food. When you use your smoker, you are usually cooking large cuts of meat like a brisket or pork shoulder. They take hours and hours to cook. When you are using direct heat like a grill, your cook time are measured in minutes. It really is a fun way to prepare food. It requires a little more focus, but the results can be more than worth it. I have seen everything grilled from pineapple rubbed with cinnamon to pizzas. Your options are truly only limited by your imagination.

Of course, most folks think of steak, pork chops or chicken on the grill, but it is always entertaining to try things outside of your comfort zone. I encourage folks to try things like grilled corn with an herb butter or any seafood. We have so many incredible local ingredients and so many tasty vegetables and peppers are in season that this holiday is a perfect opportunity to experience something new and adventurous. Worst case scenario, you can always fall back on your proven favorites, but where is the fun in that?

I recommend using real lump charcoal and either an electric starter or a torch to light your fuel. That way there is no chance to have lighter fluid or other off flavors make their way into your food. I resisted the ing for years, but when I put my pride to the side and decided that it was about the food and not my ego, I got over thinking that “if you are good, you don’t need a thermometer.” Now my results are much more consistent and just better all around. I have found that along with a good set of tongs, my temperature probe is one of my most valuable tools. Get one. Use it. I promise it will make you a better grillmaster.

Some things I plan on cooking this Fourth include grilled quail with a savory glaze, and jalapeno poppers. I am certain I will prepare a few traditional favorites like chicken wings and steaks. That is one of my issues: I usually go to the store with an open mind on what I will grill, but I have a hard time making a decision. Thus, I usually end up cooking at least five or six items. The best part of this “problem” is I typically have leftovers for days and you can put pretty much anything in an omelet. I wish you and your loved ones a happy and tasty Fourth of July.