The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke
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Fourth of July Fun - Pt. 1

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Fourth of July has a long tradition of grilling. I figured this July 4th I would do some traditional grilling. Burgers and dogs. Now I couldn’t just leave it at that, what goes with burgers and dogs? Potato chips. Steven Raichlen is fond of saying if something is good cooked a certain way, it is even better grilled. So grilled potato chips it is. My mom was going to be there and I could here her saying “We need another vegetable.” So grilled corn rounded out the menu.

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Grilled potato chips are great. I can take or leave regular potato chips, but I love these. Make extras-trust me.

Grilled potato chips are easy to make but due to the number required they can be time consuming. I thought I had this one licked with the two Steven Raichlen grill grids I’d just bought. I would be able to do a double batch this time. Well there was one little hiccup I hadn’t figured on: The grids fit OK, but with the angled side handles took up just enough room that the grids wouldn’t lie flat. Now I will bend the handles so they are more upright, but there was no time for this now. There were two things I learned about these chips. The grill temp is very important. Something around medium to medium low, 350 (175 C) or so, is the safest, but they take longer. So I went for medium high and had to constantly check to make sure the chips hadn’t started burning. One sign is the edges start to change color, but it is better to check and start turning ahead of this. The second item I learned was not to store them in a covered container after they come off the grill. Last time I pre-cooked the chips I put them in lidded plastic drop in pans and they got limp and soggy. This time I left them uncovered until it was time to eat. They stayed nice and crispy.

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The grilled corn and chips were the starter course. You can see the peppers for the July 5th kebabs on the table.

The corn was next. I have already discussed Grilled Corn in a blog entry so I won’t go into great detail here. One of the things I like about corn grilled out of the husk is it is seasoned and ready to eat the moment it comes off the grill. It is quick to prepare, quick to cook and seems to disappear pretty quickly around here too. The high heat serves to caramelize the plant sugars and makes the corn real sweet. The high heat was popping some of the kernels and put nice grill marks on the corn. The smoke flavor that direct grilling out of the husks adds is a nice contrast to the sweetness of the corn.

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The grilled corn and grilled potato chips were a great beginning to this traditional 4th of July meal

After the corn was done it was on to the burgers. Today I was doing Steakhouse Burgers from Mastering the Grill. These burgers use A-1 on the inside as well as some horse radish and onion to add both moisture and flavor. I had made the patties ahead of time and kept them in the fridge. All I needed to do was melt some butter and coat the hot dog and hamburger buns. Then it was off to the grill. I was grilling six 1/3 pound (150 g) burgers, 10 hotdogs and all the buns were to be toasted. As a result even my six burner grill was crowded. I learned something new about my grill when it is crowded: Food up against the back wall cooks faster. Normally I don’t put food right up close to the back wall, but this time I needed all the room I could get. Turns out the back wall gets hot enough and acts like another cooking surface. I put some hot dog buns up near the back wall and they cooked up in about half the normal time. Fortunately I was keeping an eye on things and they didn’t get too far out of hand.

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Hot dogs and Steakhouse burgers-can’t get much more traditional than that. Traditional doesn’t mean boring though.

This was an easy cook, the burgers were on for 5 minutes for each side and the dogs were on for 2 1/2 minutes per side for 4 sides. So both items took exactly 10 minutes. One of the things I like about these burgers where the ingredients are on the inside is they stay moist even if you keep them on a bit too long. While these were cooked just right, it is nice having that safety net if you have a lot of stuff on the grill. My grill has a top bun rack but it doesn't hold a lot and takes longer 3 to 4 minutes and I would have to do 3 rounds. Not enough time there. To get these done I used the main grill grate. The buns only were on for 30 seconds a side or so and it was just a matter of swapping them out for new ones.

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The 3 day 4th of July weekend was off to a great start

It was time to eat and these burgers didn’t disappoint. I also love the Kayem deli style hot dogs with there natural casings, which finish off really crispy on the grill. Today’s meal turned out great tomorrow should be even more fun. I will be smoking a Boston Butt for Sunday and grilling beef and lamb kebabs. It is always fun for me when I get to play with the grill and the smoker on the same day. It usually means good eats too.

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SOME RELATED ENTRIES:
  GRILLED CORN Veggies Picture Entry
  GRILLED POTATO CHIPS Sides Picture Entry
  STEAKHOUSE BURGERS Burgers Picture Entry
  FOURTH OF JULY FUN - PT. 2 Blog Entry


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