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Derrick Riches

Derrick's Barbecues & Grilling Blog

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New Recipe: Garlic Basted Tomahawk Steaks

Sunday June 1, 2014
Garlic Basted Tomahawk SteaksThese delicious tomahawk steaks are seasoned with a simple rub, placed on the grill, and basted with a garlic, herb-butter concoction throughout the cooking process. A fantastic treat!

Try Garlic Basted Tomahawk Steaks

Photo 2014 Regarding BBQ Inc., licensed to About.com, Inc.

Top 10 Books on Grilling

Saturday May 31, 2014

A great book on grilling gives you loads of recipes with a lot instruction to help you be the best griller you can. These books are the best you can buy and give you recipes, examples and enough instruction to get the beginner going and to make the master better. These books are for general grilling skills both gas and charcoal.

See which ones made the Top 10 Books on Grilling.

Yellow Flame in your Gas Grill

Friday May 30, 2014

Is the flame on your gas grill yellow? Are you having problems with uneven heating? Is there a sooty flavor on your grilled foods? Could be that your burners are out of adjustment. Yes, a in a few minutes you can tune up your gas grill and get it back to perfect working order with just a screwdriver. When the flame on your gas grill is yellow it means that the gas/air mixture is not right. By yellow, I mean that the flame is mostly or entirely yellow. It can be caused by a dirty or clogged burner, a worn out burner, or by a badly adjusted burner. Since adjusting the burners is typically an easy thing to do we will start there. Of course you might not have adjustable burners but most full sized gas grills do have this "feature". A quick inspection of the base of the burner will tell you if your burner can be adjusted.

To adjust the burners on your gas grill you are probably going to have to get under or inside the grill. The adjustment point is where the burner connects to the grill manifold (usually right behind the control valves). Gas grills come in a number of configurations and you may need to consult your manual to find the adjustment screw. This screw holds a sleeve in place. This metal sleeve is slotted and when the screw is loosened you should be able to rotate it. So that you can clearly see the flame remove the cooking grates and barrier over the burners.

With the grill off and cool, loosen the screw and rotate the adjustment sleeve. Tighten the screw and relight the grill. Wait a minute for the flame to settle in and see if you still have yellow flame. If you do, repeat the process until the yellow is almost eliminated. Good flame is predominately blue but may have yellow tips. Once you have that burner burning mostly blue repeat for the other burners.

If no amount of adjustment fixes your yellow flame problem try removing the burners entirely and cleaning them out. Debris or dust inside the burner can cause yellow flame. If the burner is damages, rusted, or has holes in it, it will need to be replaced. See my article on Gas Grill Repair for help.

Photo 2014 Regarding BBQ Inc., licensed to About.com, Inc.

First Look: Smokin' in the Boys' Room

Thursday May 29, 2014
Smokin' in the Boys' RoomMelissa Cookston is the barbecue competition circuit's winningest women and in this new book she reveals her secrets. To say that Melissa is the winningest women is rather sexist. The truth is that she is one of the greatest champions of competitive barbecue in recent years. True, this is a very male dominated area, but her gender has nothing to do with winning or how good she is. I had the chance once to watch Melissa work and I have seen few people who possess the focus and determination that she puts into every food item she loads into a turn in box.

For those who want to win a barbecue competition, this is a good book to buy. Melissa is honest and detailed when it comes to all the barbecue recipes and techniques. While it contains recipes for some of the axillary competitions she has entered over the years, the emphasis here is ribs, brisket, chicken, and the category she is most known for, whole hog. Six pages, in fact, are dedicated to preparing and smoking a whole hog, something most of us will never do. There is, of course recipes and information on pork shoulder and Boston Butt, so that the rest of us can get something out of the lessons being taught.

To fill out the book, Melissa draws from her Mississippi roots, including all those recipes you would find in the kitchens of most every home along the might river between Memphis and Baton Rouge. The problem with these is that they are very typical and the sorts of recipes the internet is flooded with. The half of the book dedicated to barbecue is good, very good, particularly for those who want to cook on a competitive level. The half that isn't about barbecue is the usual stereotype of southern cooking.

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Image Andrew McMeel Publishing LLC.

What flavor do you like in your Barbecue Sauce?

Wednesday May 28, 2014

Barbecue sauces come in lots of flavors and styles these days. Putting aside whether to tomato or not and the whole argument over vinegar, mustard or ketchup, lets take a quick look at what really matters, the flavor. I like my barbecue sauces to bite you back a little with just a hint of sweet. So tell me what flavor you prefer to dominate your barbecue sauce.

POLL: What flavor do you like in your Barbecue Sauce?
1) Sweet
2) Spicy (Hot)
3) Savory
4) Fruity
5) Smoky
6) Sweet and Spicy
7) Something Else (please leave a comment)

First Look: Hephaestus Patio Pro

Saturday May 24, 2014

Patio PizzeriaBesides being a hard name to type, Hephaestus builds an impressive cooker. Built like similar box style smokers, the coal grate on this unit is adjustable, allowing it to be raise to just below the middle of the three doors. With the included pizza stone in place this turns this traditional smoker into a high temperature pizza oven that, of course, can be used for a wide range of oven like tasks.

The unit comes with a water pan so it can work as a water smoker. The three doors allow access to either the food or the fuel and it comes in stainless steel or enamel red. Coming in at around $4,000 this is an investment but it looks well built, versatile, and large enough to do most anything.

Find out more at Hephaestus

Image: Hephaestus

Checking for Gas Leaks

Friday May 23, 2014

Recently I discussed the importance of Cleaning your Venturi Tubes. Equally important to the maintenance of your gas grill and the not burning down of your house is checking for gas leaks. These two culprits account for the vast majority of fires associated with gas grill. Propane and natural gas are heavier than the air around us. Meaning that they will fall down from your grill. If you have an enclosed cart or an enclosed space that gas can collect in large amounts, particularly on a windless day. So checking your grill for leaks is the most important Common Gas Grill Problem you will encounter. Propane and Natural Gas have distinct odors so if you have substantial leaks you might be able to smell them. However, this isn't sufficient a test for finding LL potentially explosive leaks.

To check your grill for gas leaks you need a small basting brush and a bowl of very soapy water. To check for gas leaks you need gas so make sure your fuel tank is full and that the tank valve is in the on position. This will pressurize the fuel lines from the tank to the control valves. Do not light the grill. Do not smoke. Do not have any open flames anywhere near by. Now brush your soapy water over all hoses and connections. Apply slowly and watch for bubbles to form. Any place you have bubbles forming (there will be bubbles from the application already) you have a leak.

Leaks can be caused by loose connections or by cracked or broken hoses. Once you have identified any potential leaks turn off the gas and disconnect the fuel line. Loose connections can be tightened but cracked, broken or worn parts will need to be replaced.

Photo 2014 Regarding BBQ Inc., licensed to About.com, Inc.

How Often do you Cookout?

Wednesday May 21, 2014

May is National Barbecue Month and so lets get a feel for how often you head outback to grill or smoke. I realize that if you are reading this that you probably cook outdoor often, but still it doesn't hurt to ask. Once, a few years ago I set out to cook three meals a day on the grill or smoker for a full week. Turned out that the family ended up eating more than normal, but it certainly wasn't a chore to do. I've found that once you've got the experience with a wide range of foods you really can do all the backyard cooking without a lot of extra work. Anyway, this weeks question is:

POLL: How Often do you Cookout?
1) Several Times a Week
2) 2 to 3 times a week
3) Once a week
4) Few times a month
5) Once or twice a month
6) Rarely
7) Almost Never

Timing Pork Chops

Tuesday May 20, 2014

I've said before that pork chops are about the easiest thing you can grill. The biggest problem with chops is overcooking them no matter how they are cooked. This goes back to the old myth of pork, that it has to be cooked to death to be safe to eat. Truth is that pork is now considerable "cleaner" than it once was due to efforts of the National Pork Board and the pork producers. Now you want to get pork to a temperature around 140 degrees F. (68 degrees C.) before you take it off the grill. Remember to let it rest for 5 minutes before serving so that the chop finished cooking and the juices redistribute. With chops I find that time is the best way to determine doneness. For pork chops 3/4 inch thick your cooking time should be 8 to 10 minutes total, 4 to 5 minutes per side with your grill hot. If your chops are thick (1 1/2 inches) the grilling time should be 12 to 16 minutes (6 to 8 minutes per side). So watch the clock and avoid overcooking your chops. You'll enjoy them much more if they are grilled right.

Photo 2014 Regarding BBQ Inc., licensed to About.com, Inc.

First Look: Patio Pizzeria

Monday May 19, 2014

Patio PizzeriaImagine that ideal pizzeria. Not those spray butter greasy 30-minute or less joints, but the real deal with the giant brick pizza oven in the back with a seemingly endless array of pizzas, sandwiches, and breads coming and going hot and fresh. That is what Karen Adler and Judith Fertig are aiming at in their latest book, Patio Pizzeria. See, they have noticed that the oven in your kitchen just can't get hot enough to make all those wonderful things that the brick pizza oven in our pizzeria can. Fortunately that grill in the backyard probably can.

Adler and Fertig are authors of some of my favorite grilling and barbecue books and this one is equally good. While one might think that a grilled pizza book is would be a little light on content, this one could keep you busy all year round with a collection of pizzas, both traditional and loaded, panini, bruschetta, and even some great salads. This is a whole meal cookbook that is inventive, fresh, and informative. Definitely worth the read.

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Image: Perseus Press

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