According To Smoky
Welcome to According to Smoky. Here you will find the latest and greatest from C. Clark "Smoky" Hale notable 'baster', author, publisher, television star in both the barbecue and 'the real' world. And yes, he is a real person and not the webmaster
Smoky will be offering his talents, techniques and secrets discovered over the last 150 years, or so. He will be to the point, pull no punches and if you suffer through the process, you will become a much better outdoor cook, turning out masterpiece meals for friends and family alike.
In this column, Smoky looks to the skys and finds dinner. . . . . take notes!
So, with no further adieu, we turn the mike to Smoky. You're on Smoky . . . . .
OUTDOOR COOKING WITH SMOKY HALE
By: Smoky Hale
There are only three good reasons for cooking outdoors.
1. To have more
2. That particular food taste better when cooked outdoors.
3. It is
easier to cook outdoors.
There may be some other reasons - your spouse won't
let you fry the chitlins in the house; the gas/electricity is off, etc. But
the good reasons are that it is easier, better and more fun.
When the wet winter winds whip in and whine at 30 knots, the particular
food has to be a whole lot better when cooked outdoors to justify cranking
up the grill. These are the times discretion and good planning are the
warmer part of valor.
The real secret to maximum enjoyment from cooking on the grill, of course,
is in letting the grill do its thing while we are occupied with activities
more pleasant than hovering over the firebox. Some things, however, require
more attention than others. Nasty weather is not the time to be barbequing
chicken - unless you happen to get your jollies running in and out for 3 or
four hours to baste. Personally, I get sort of picky about what I cook
outdoors during excremental weather.
Foods that require very short time on the grill - such as steaks and
burgers are a good choice. In the first place it is a callous disregard for
a good steak to broil it in an oven. Secondly, when you confidently
construct the foundation for a good bed of coals in three minutes flat, you
can return to the toasty interior and give the coals thirty minutes to make
their bed. Having your steaks properly warmed to room temperature before you
drag them shivering out into the cold will reduce your broiling time to 3-5
minutes per side.
So you pop them on the 700 degree grill, close the lid and step back inside
to check on the progress of the salad and baked potatoes. Another quick trip
and a quick flip and back inside to make certain that the wine is breathing.
If there is any doubt, be certain to apply a little mouth-to- mouth
resuscitation. Nothing dampens the spirits of a good meal like an
asphyxiated wine. Do not tarry however, lest you commit the crime of
Properly planned and executed the total time at the grill should not be
more than 10 chilly minutes.
The other type of goodies that go good on the grill in grungy weather is
one that requires a long cooking time, but no attention between putting it
on and taking it off. Roasts, whole poultry, meat loaves, etc., can be
abandoned worse than a homely girl at a high school prom.
There are a couple of prerequisites, however. A grill of sufficient size to
hold ample charcoal and wood for the cooking period is a must. The grill
must also have adjustable an air intake that will allow controlled
combustion over the long period. With adequate combustible material,
temperature is dependant upon the amount of oxygen that the fire gets. So, a
20 pound pile of charcoal will produce no higher temperature than a 4 pound
pile, given oxygen at the same rate. But it will burn 5 times as long.
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