Tag Archives: Charcoal Grilling

Cooking Tip: Rescuing BBQ

Every once in a while, no matter how you try, BBQing, or even cooking in the oven or on the stove just is NOT going to cooperate with you.

I had an incident like that a few nights ago. It was relatively easy to prevent in the first place, BUT I was rushed and distracted by a head full of other tasks that needed to get done. Here’s exactly what happened:

I was grilling whole boneless chicken breasts. I’ve done it dozens of times before and rarely have a problem. I got in a hurry though and just spread out the charcoal evenly to cook via direct heat. That would have worked if they were fillets cut thinner, but these were whole boneless breasts. They were thick enough that I should have cooked them slower over indirect heat (charcoal off to the sides).

Instead, the outside was cooking fast, but the centers… not so much.

That’s largely seasoning that blackened there also, by the way. 🙂

But, because I *am* a super genius:

I was able to salvage it and create a nearly perfect dinner. I just threw the chicken in the microwave for about a minute and a half (one piece at a time) and cooked the rare part without drying out the rest of the chicken breast.

Despite how the PC might be making it look, (my color seems to be acting up) there was no pink left, but it was still very tender and juicy. I should note also that with the minute and a half cooking time in the microwave that we have a 1200 watt microwave. It’s STRONG. 🙂 End result though:

So the lesson for the day is be creative if your meal isn’t turning out as planned. Some chefs will tell you that a microwave has no place in a real kitchen. I think I just proved otherwise, lol. Even if your attempt to rescue your meal fails, you’re no worse off than if you’d goofed it completely without trying a fix, right?

Another option with the chicken would have been to cut it up and cook it in a skillet on the stove, but that would have dried it out unless I was super careful.

Improvise, adapt and overcome. 😉

New Year’s Eve Dinner

We stayed home for New Year’s Eve this year. Avoided the crowds, the drunk drivers and the police sobriety checkpoints. Besides, the big screen provides a better view of the NYC fireworks than camping in Times Square would, LOL.

I made grilled chicken for dinner tonight. I have the usual pictures also, but I wanted to give a couple of tips for any charcoal grilling newcomers.

First is a piece of equipment that I consider essential. I was and still am one of those people who couldn’t get a traditional charcoal fire going to save my life. Then I discovered this:

It’s called a charcoal chimney. Stuff the bottom section with newspaper, junk mail sales ads or similar paper (crumpled up) then flip it over and fill the top portion with charcoal. Put the chimney on the lower rack for charcoal in your grill and light the paper. 15 minutes later you’ve got perfect coals for cooking over. Empty the chimney’s coals onto the rack, put the grilling rack on the grill and you’re ready to go. This thing really is flawless. You also avoid the need for any lighter fluid and the nasty aftertaste that it can add to food.

Here’s the end result there by the way:

Yes, it was dark out when I started. It gets dark crazy early here this time of year. The glowing charcoal at night made for a neat picture though. 🙂

Now the next thing I want to mention is how to avoid flare ups on a charcoal grill. Flare ups happen when fat melts from the heat and drips down onto the charcoal. The way around that is indirect heat. You arrange the coals along two sides:

And then put your food along the middle so that it’s not directly above the hot charcoal:

yeah, my iPhone’s flash finally decided to work, LOL.

Yes, the food is a bit too close together. Ideally you want it spaced out a little more so that it gets more uniform heat all around the individual pieces of food. By the way, indirect heat has two other advantages; you lose a bit less moisture, and it’s slower than direct heat. That gives you time to finish that side dish that’s taking longer than you thought, LOL.

So back to the chicken. It all got my usual Salt Pepper and Garlic treatment, then half got some lemon pepper seasoning and the other half got some chipotle pepper seasoning.

After grilling, add in some Au Gratten potatoes and steamed veggies and you have a nice relaxing meal at home to enjoy: