The Art of Outdoor Cooking
Outdoor cooking is an art: it involves creativity, learning certain cooking fundamentals, and having a “fiery” passion for good food. With a little time and effort, you can become a great outdoor chef and prepare grilled or barbecued meals that will bring a smile to the faces of your friends and family.
You also need to pay attention to food safety through proper Food Storage and the safety of pets or children who may be around the hot grill while you are cooking. You also need to understand how to select the freshest and highest quality ingredients for your backyard grilling masterpieces. Finding reliable, high-quality meat is critical to a successful barbecue.
Outdoor grilling is a relaxed cooking experience that allows you to socialize with others while you work. And eventually, it won’t seem like work at all. You’ll be so confident of your skills that grilling and barbecuing will look like pure fun.
Indoor and Outdoor Kitchen Design for Grilling
What would your ideal outdoor kitchen look like? Maybe you’re not thinking “kitchen” at all. You want the standard kettle grill that has been a favorite for decades, perhaps a table nearby to set the food on as you prepare it, and of course, a cooler with the appropriate beverages. Or you could be a little more elaborate and have a built-in grilling area in one corner of the patio. Maybe have a small refrigerator there, so you don’t have to keep running back and forth from the kitchen. Or you could go upscale and have a full stainless steel outdoor kitchen with nearly enough cooking capacity as a small restaurant. Now, the choices of equipment available to the backyard chef are seemingly endless.
It’s party time. Don’t forget the kids when you’re grilling, cotton candy is always fun and a snap to make. Adults will appreciate an appetizer of flavored popcorn. Try a hot and spicy mix by adding dried oregano, cayenne pepper, and cumin. Go all out with a chocolate fountain for dipping strawberries, pretzels, or cake chunks.
Your first step is to design your outdoor cooking area and select the equipment that best fits your cooking needs and budget. There are a few questions you need to answer. Do you prefer the ease of gas barbecues or the enhanced flavor that charcoal/wood grilling allows? Do you want to have backyard parties and entertain lots of guests, or will you be cooking for just a few people? A griddle Makes cooking delicate food like vegetables and fish a snap
Tips and Techniques
Easy gourmet grilling starts with great ingredients, and then from there, you have many ways to add flavor before, during, and after the meat is cooked. One secret all great chefs, indoor and outdoor, rely on is to start with the freshest, best quality meats. (And let’s not forget fresh vegetables. Grilled vegetables such as squash and pepper can be delicious, too.) If you’re lucky enough to have prime beef at your grocery store, you’re well on your way to preparing great steaks. But even less expensive meat, chicken, or pork, for that matter, can turn out delicious, spend a little time enhancing the flavor of these foods. How do you do that?
Recipes and Menus
One of the pleasures of outdoor cooking is discovering and trying a new recipe that turns out delicious. It’s also fun to create your recipe collection. Researching methods for outdoor cooking is easy. Some cuisines are natural for grilling, such as Spanish, Mexican, and Italian.
Marinades enhance the flavor and tenderness of meats. The base of the marinade can be wine, beer, or citrus juice. Alcohol is an excellent tenderizer, and it gets the flavor of the rest of the ingredients into the meat, as well as adding flavor of its own. However, the downside is the temptation to overindulge in the beer or wine you’ve used in the marinade while you’re cooking.
Easy gourmet grilling can also be safe grilling if you take a few simple precautions. The same fire that will help you create a delicious meal can present dangers to you, your guests, and your property. Your first consideration is where you locate your grill. Flame-ups occur on a grill—sometimes the food catches on fire- and you don’t want that to result in a nearby tree or your patio roof catching fire. Accidents like this happen all the time and are easily preventable. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, or even a garden hose if that is possible. Having a large pitcher of water close by can also be useful for dousing flame-ups.