What Kind of Grill Master Are You?
April 3, 2012
Today we’ve got a fun post that can once and for all help you decide on the gas versus charcoal debate (maybe add in sous vide these days for all you foodies?). Augie Bering from Berings Hardware is Houston, TX is here to help you settle the debate and argue the finer points of grilling with you.
What Type of Grill Suits You Best
What is the grill for you? What kind of griller are you? If “Hey let’s grill a steak” occurs to you 20 minutes before you want to eat, if you don’t care for the clean-up and delay a wood-based fire entails, you need to go gas.
As with so many things, when you are about to buy a grill, get what you can afford but only what you’re going to use. If you are only going to grill occasionally, and just for a handful of folks, you probably won’t need the six foot, stainless steel grill you may secretly lust over; the two or three burner number with storage space beneath, preparation shelves on one or both sides that is piped into your house gas supply is going to be perfect.
If you want to move your grill around, and the hassle of buying a bottle of propane (perhaps minutes before you had wanted to grill and forgot to replace the bottle last time) doesn’t bother you, go propane.
If, however, you are an artist on the grill, and you want to be able to color your grilling with the subtleties of mesquite wood chips over a pecan fire, you are going to want a coals-based charcoal grill.
Looking at the Weber grill, a grill master can see the entire spectrum of a coal-based fire. The Weber enables you to place coals in a pile in the middle for maximum heat, or spread them around to create hotter and cooler cooking zones.
The Portable Kitchen allows you to do pretty much the same thing, but also, because it has a longer area for coals, and multiple airflow vents, can really serve, as it says, as an entire kitchen: you can cook an entire meal on this grill or one like it. With coals at one end for maximum heat, and carefully venting the fire, a person can have areas ranging from as hot as you like, to warming temperatures, enabling you to grill steaks at one end while you sauté vegetables in the middle and bake a cake at the far end from the fire.
Beyond the basic design of the grill, a griller must select tools. This is where the fun starts.
Grill Tools You Gotta Have
While some simply pour charcoal briquettes into a pile, soak the pile with fuel then strike a match (think Homer Simpson here) a true griller has many other options. You may use an electric element, on top of which you pour the coals. This has the benefit of starting the coals from the bottom up. Alternately, one may use a sheet metal, two-chambered chimney: crumpled newspaper or a small tepee type wood fire goes in the bottom chamber, while the coals are poured in the top. Again, this lights the coals from the bottom up, uses a minimum of kerosene (which doesn’t taste or smell that great) and gets the coals ready more quickly.
- You will need tools (this is probably why men grill more than women) at the very minimum:
- A spatula and a
- Fork, all with long handles to keep from cooking your hand.
- For grill preparation, you will want a scraper and a stainless steel brush to clean the grill after grilling.
You would do well to have one mop to oil the grill before cooking on it to reduce sticking, and another to baste meats. A portable light (battery powered) will help you when you are cooking at night with sub-optimal lighting.
You will want to experiment with different woods to impart different flavors, textures and subtleties to the meats. If you are cooking fish, you may want to cook with a cedar plank, which allows the fish to bake without burning. This is the only time a soft wood is used in grilling.
There are a rich variety of baskets to use for grilling vegetables or more fragile meats like fish. Most are adjustable, with some more specialized, some with tubular areas for cooking corn on the cob. Corn you may alternately soak un-shucked in water for half an hour and grill over a cooler fire. Consider, also, soaking bamboo sticks in water to use for kebabs. If you are serious about cooking vegetables this way, you may first soak, then freeze the bamboo sticks to have them ready for future grilling.
A visit to any decent hardware store or the grilling area of a big box store will reveal to you a treasure trove of tools, devices, and implements that will turn your grilling into a gourmet’s inspiration.
About the Author
August Bering V, “Augie” to his friends, is President of Bering’s Hardware in Houston, TX. Bering’s is well known for a broad range of carefully selected home goods such as housekeeping products to grilling products and accessories, and red carpet service that has delighted customers for generations since 1940. From your bridal registry, decorating your first home, to your first baby registry, Bering’s has special gifts for special occasions and the right tools for the right job. Augie enjoys spending time with his family and friends, grilling and cooking, playing hard outside, travelling, design, art, live music, and spending as much time as he can with his family.
What are your favorite tools you just can’t live without? Let us know below!
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