Seasonal Grilling 101

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I love grilling during the Fall!

Apples and pears and squash! I also love grilling duck stuffed with apples and oranges and grilling a big ole brined turkey for Thanksgiving of course!

During the fall, I seem to crave big pieces of meat and colorful root vegetables. Since they are big and heavy and dense, they take a longer time to cook meaning that this is the season to perfect your indirect cooking!

And, if you have any questions, please write me at hello@carolinacuetogo.com

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Truth be told, I prefer grilling in the winter! That’s when I really crave grilled meats and roasted vegetables. And there is no better tool to cook these foods than an outdoor grill. In the wintertime, indirect heat is your best friend. And almost everything that I grill in the winter is cooked by this method. Indirect heat means that there are not briquettes or lit burners under the food and the food is cooked by convected heat that rotates around the food just like a convection oven.

Here’s a basic tutorial to remind you of the finer points of direct, indirect and the combo cooking methods.

If it takes 20 minutes or less to cook, use direct heat. If it takes more than 20 minutes to cook, use indirect heat.

That said, the more experienced the griller, the more often they will use what I call the Combo method; searing over direct heat and finishing the grilling over indirect heat.  It is the way most restaurant chefs prepare meat and my favorite way to grill steaks, chops and pieces of meat that benefit from the eye appeal of great grill marks (searing) and the gentler cooking of indirect heat.

In the winter, however, I generally choose hard squash that take an hour or more to cook and roasts, whole birds and larger pieces of food so that I can preheat the grill, set the burners on indirect heat and let the food cook with very little tending. And, remember, indirect grilling has to be done with the lid down and very little peeking!

Try this menu, it’s one of my favorite winter meals!

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Summertime and the living is Outdoors!

My-oh-my, how I love cooking and eating outside. It is as close to a vacation as you can take without leaving your backyard or balcony!

This is the time of year to cook the freshest available fish and meats, fruits and vegetables. And this time of year, I use the Grilling Trilogy more than any other time of the year. I love going to the farmer’s market and buying whatever appeals to me—even if I’ve never tried it before—and taking it home to grill. If you know the difference between direct and indirect grilling and how to use it, all you need to make great tasting food is olive oil, salt and pepper—my trademarked Grilling Trilogy!

Here’s a basic tutorial to remind you of the finer points of direct, indirect and the combo cooking methods.

  1. If it takes 20 minutes or less to cook, use direct heat. If it takes more than 20 minutes to cook, use indirect heat.
  2. If you don’t know how long your food will take to cook, I have another rule of thumb. The larger the food, the heavier the food, the denser the food, the longer it will take to cook and you need the indirect method. The smaller, the lighter, the more delicate the food, the less time it will take to grill the food and thus the direct method.
  3. When you grill by the indirect method, you don’t need to turn the food. When you grill by the direct method, you turn the food, once halfway through the cooking time. If you’ve never grilled before, using the direct method is an easy way to grill steaks (link to Steak 101), chops or smaller pieces of meat, turning once halfway through the grilling time to cook evenly and get grill marks on both sides of the food.
  4. That said, the more experienced the griller, the more often they will use what I call the Combo method; searing over direct heat and finishing the grilling over indirect heat. It is the way most restaurant chefs prepare meat and my favorite way to grill steaks (link to Steak 2.0), chops and pieces of meat that benefit from the eye appeal of great grill marks (searing) and the gentler cooking of indirect heat.

In the summer, I generally choose a combination of land and sea to go along with fresh vegetables, berries and anything else I find that is ripe and ready.

The major exception is tomatoes. I LOVE summer tomatoes and generally eat those raw, sliced with salt and pepper or my favorite! An over-the-sink tomato sandwich with real Hellmann’s mayo and Pepperidge Farm white bread!

Get Grilling! and try this menu, it’s one of my favorite meals! Link to recipes in recipe section