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Tips & Techniques

Welcome to my first installment of Tips and Techniques for Grilling and Barbecuing. Backyard cooking (whether you actually do it in the backyard or not isn't important) seems to generate an enormous number of secrets and tricks. This is probably because cooking by it's very nature is more and art than a science. Remember that what works for someone else might not work for you. This collection is neither complete or guaranteed so take everything with a grain of salt. There is also no order.

When grilling kebabs judge the cooking time of each item. Precook those things that will take longer then assemble the kebab and grill.

To help keep meats moist during a long grill or barbecue, add a pan of water close to the fire, but away from the meat.

If you use the same marinade that you've soaked meat in as a baste or sauce, remember to boil it for a couple of minutes first to insure that any bacteria is killed off.

When grilling whole chiles be careful of the smoke. Chili smoke can burn the eyes almost as effectively as putting the chili right in your eyes.

When cooking Vegetables on over an open flame, presoak them in cold water for half an hour to keep them from drying out. If you're cooking vegetables with a thick skin, cut off ends to allow water to enter.

To get evenly cooked sausage, split it lengthwise, leaving the casing intact on one side. Lay it out flat on the grill, turning occasionally. Cook until done all the way through the middle. This will give you quickly grill, taste sausage without all the oil and fat.

When buying charcoal, look for the basics. Charcoals made with lighter fluid additives don't burn evenly or cleanly. So try to find charcoal without additives that are not made by pressing sawdust and charcoal dust into cute little squares.

When using lighter fluid to start your charcoal, let the fluid soak into the briquettes for a minute before lighting. This help dissipate some of the lighter flavor avoid life-threatening flare-ups. To completely avoid lighter fluid invest in a charcoal chimney or an electric charcoal lighter.

Unless specified for a particular recipe, always us the leanest meat possible when grilling. Not only is it more health, but it will reduce flare-ups and help keep your cooking equipment cleaner.

When cooking larger pieces of meat, like roasts, over charcoal, pile the coals on one side and place the food on the other. This allows for indirect cooking and reduces charring.

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