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The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke

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Direct Grilling Season is Here

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This entry does not have any tips, tricks or discoveries. It is just a celebration of a topic that only grill lovers from cold climates can appreciate, I realized last weekend that for all intents and purposes, Winter was finally over and spring is here. While I was able to use my gas grill and smoker all but 2 weekend this past Winter, direct grilling was out.  For people into grilling, being able to once again direct grill has many happy implications.
 
Signs of the Season:
• The daytime air temperatures are finally hitting 50 degrees (10 C) with some regularity during the day. This means you can keep the lid open for a while and not lose all your heat.
  • The nighttime air temperatures are regularly above freezing. My remote read thermometers don’t seem to tolerate below freezing temps and often don’t transmit all the way into the house.
  • People no longer look at you like the neighborhood curiosity for standing out by your grill.
  • Last Friday the local supermarket had one 4’ (1.25 m) wide shelf holding two types of charcoal, lighter fluid etc. Sunday this shelf space had grown to four 4’ (1.25 m) wide shelves with over a dozen different types of charcoal and wood chips. Soon some of these items will make their way to the front of the store.
  • The people at the checkout counter no longer look at you like you have two heads when you buy charcoal. If you want to see strange looks, try buying a bag of charcoal when it is 3 degrees (-16 C) outside.
  • You can find charcoal in just about every drugstore, market, and hardware store. In the winter there are one or two stores often with one or two bags selling at twice the price.
  • Friday the hotdogs were tucked away in a cooler in a remote corner of the store. Sunday they were in a cooler in the middle of the store. The rolls were nearby.
  • Ribs are back in the meat counters. Try getting ribs around here in the winter. If you can find them at all, you can only get baby backs.
  • You don’t really need to pre-plan your cook. You see something in the store that tickles your fancy: you buy it, you go home, fire up the grille and cook it. You don’t need to shovel a path to the grill, hope the plastic cover isn’t frozen to the grill and hope it won’t take twice as long to cook.
  • You don’t have to bundle up to go out site to check the grill. I made pulled pork 3 weeks ago and the overnight air temps were high teens and low 20’s (-8 to -6 C). I made it again last Friday night and the air temps were in the 50’s (13 C) through the overnight. Big difference in the quality of the experience.
  • You don’t lose 100 degrees of temperature just popping open the smoker lid to mop or move your meat. The recovery time is under 5 minutes, not 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Higher air temps mean less charcoal or propane consumption.
  • This time of year “tending the grill” starts becoming a good excuse to get some quality time outdoors. “Oh well I need to keep a close eye on this.”
  • I can cook after work. The days are getting longer and now that I can direct grill again I can throw on some quick hitters after work.
  • The sky is the limit on what you cook. During the winter you are somewhat limited to roasts and larger items that can be indirect grilled or smoked. No such restrictions now.
  • A friend said to me last Fall there is a “Law” in Massachusetts that the grilling season extends from Memorial Day to Labor Day. While I don’t think that law is strictly enforced, the return to grilling season for everyone is certainly a cause for celebration


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