Kitchen Shrink: Fathers get dressed to grill and chill

For all the fathers who love to use implements, tools and grilling paraphernalia, here are some foolproof outdoor grilling techniques to help in the preparation of a perfect barbecue. Whether Dad is using an old kettle-shaped charcoal grill or state-of-the-art gas grill, he can put these tips to use on his special Sunday or any other day.

1) Scrape the grime off using a stiff wire brush or copper scrubber. The kids can help with this chore, which should be done after each course is cooked and when grilling is finished (and before grilling if needed). Stay away from soap and water, which will destroy the seasoning of the grill's surface.

2) Lightly brush some grapeseed oil over the grid to prevent the food from sticking.

3) If Dad is using charcoal, he should arrange the coals in a pattern to allow for different levels of heat. That is, he will need a warming area for the cooked food and a high cooking spot for the remaining raw ones. Thirty to 40 briquettes should be sufficient for an hour of cooking. The burnt coals need to be emptied after they have cooled.

4) Once the fire is prepared, Dad can add hardwood chips such as oak, hickory, cherry, alder, apple or mesquite woods to flavor the food. Fresh rosemary, bay, oregano or citrus rinds will also add a tangy kick to your grilled foods. He can also throw a whole orange or lime into the coals before grilling.

5) Timing is pivotal. All foods should be done at roughly the same time. So place dense foods on the grill first, such as chicken on the bone and corn on the cob, followed by burgers, fish, seafood and other veggies including peppers, onions and mushrooms.

6) Raw is a sushi adjective, not a barbecue one. Chicken must be cooked thoroughly, same with seafood and most fish (ahi being the exception). Beef and lamb can be pink and juicy, but not mooing and bleating. Cut a test slice into the meat and take a peek, or if you're really a stickler, use a meat thermometer. Vegetables should be al dente to tender, not charred and wilted.

7) Marinate foods with a dry rub or vinaigrette-based dressing before grilling. When using a honey- or barbecue-based sauce, slather on midway through grilling to prevent burning.

8) Meat can take a 15-minute nap after removing from the grill and before carving to let the juices settle.

9) If your eyes are smoke-sensitive, wear goggles and have some eye drops on hand. Avoid wearing drapey, loose clothing. Dads with long hair, wear a ponytail.

10) Finally, use paper (or the new green bamboo) plates, napkins and plastic cutlery or your mitts. No one wants to do dishes on Father's Day. (Certainly not Dad.)

To dress up whatever you're grilling, apply this marinade recipe:

The Kitchen Shrink's Everything and the Kitchen Sink Barbecue/ Marinade Sauce

  • 1 cup of ketchup
  • 1/4 cup of virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of red wine
  • 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar (well packed)
  • 1 tablespoon of mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce
  • Juice from a whole lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper and cayenne to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onion and garlic are tender. Brush generously on all foods midway through grilling, and reserve some for dipping.

   
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