After enjoying the report given by Weber, that had some great information about our obsession. I decided to see if HPBA had anything for me to talk about, and they did! HPBA posts an annual report called “state of the Barbecue Industry”.
The most notable statistics, to me were as follows;
*More than 15,000,000 grills shipped in 2010, a staggering figure, but gas grills held 57% of sales, while Charcoal had 41%, while electric barely chimed in with 2%.
*82% of North American households own a grill or smoker.
*The majority of grill owners use their grills year round, this was 56%
*The meats that were said to be cooked (we have some work to do here), burgers a whopping 85%, steak 80%, hot dogs 79%, followed by chicken at 73%. What about ribs? They came in at 53%, and no statistics reported for boston butt, or beef brisket.
* The last, and most notable one for me was, Dry Rub usage was up to 44% from 36% 2 years earlier (this means a crusade for dry rub usage needs to be launched!).
In all seriousness, this is some great information provided by HPBA, and this was just the highlights. You can see the full report by going here: http://www.hpba.org/media/barbecue-industry/2011-state-of-the-barbecue-industry-report
As many already know, Weber publishes a survey every year called the GrillWatch Survey, in fact this is the 21st anniversary of the survey (published in March). In the survey, there is usually some interesting statistics, and in this years, there were some interesting points again. Now, before I begin, as we all know the Weber grill, whether charcoal, or gas grill, has been one of the most popular brands of grills over the years, and this is their survey.
But as usual, I felt this survey had some real interesting points to share, for those of us, that love outdoor cooking. The first and most important point is they say we are using our grill more. Another notable point is we are spending more on our grills, meaning more features, and higher quality grills are starting to get the nod over lower quality grills, driving this statistic. But it is also important to note that 58% surveyed still preferred the taste of food cooked on a charcoal over food cooked on a gas (no surprise here). Maybe one of these years they will include some statistics including smokers.
If your interested in downloading the survey yourself, you can see the results of the survey here http://weber.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=154
The time has come to clean your grills and smokers, and cook! Here in Florida it’s been well into the eighties, and we have already been outside cooking for awhile, but for those of you in the great white north, it’s time to go outside!
I don’t know about where your at, but the cheapest thing for us to buy right now down here is chicken leg quarters at $0.79 per pound, so go get some leg quarters and try this recipe;
Grilled Tangerine Chicken w/Tangerine Salsa
* 4 Chicken Leg Quarters
* Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* 3 to 4 Tangerines (diced for salsa)
* Green onions (diced for salsa)
* Cilantro (diced for salsa)
* 2 to 3 mediums Tomatoes (diced for salsa)
* Dried cranberries (for Salsa)
* 1/4 cup Honey (For Salsa)
* HomeBBQ.com Tangerine Pepper Seasoning
* dash Chile powder (for Salsa)
* 1 Tblsp – Tangerine Zest
Preparation: Salsa; Mix green onions, cilantro, diced tomatoes, dried cranberries, and tangerines Add 2 Tablespoons Honey, and a dash of Chile Pepper Mix well, and let rest. Using EVOO Rub Leg Quarters well, and season with Tangerine Pepper Seasoning. Let marinate for at least 1 hour, and no longer than 4 hours. Lightly re-season leg quarters before placing them on the grill. Cook indirect, on a 350 to 400 degree grill. Should take 50 mins to 1 hour at 400 degrees. Check temp using instant read thermometer, and insert into the joint connecting the leg and thigh. This should read a minimum of 175 degrees. Remove chicken from grill and let rest for approximately 5 minutes, sprinkle zest over chicken and serve, with salsa on the side.
I was contacted by Ryan Abeling at www.cheapism.com regarding an article he wrote calling it the Cheap Grills Buying Guide. I have to say, I agree with the fact that where you shop is going to limit your selection, especially if your shopping at the big box stores. If you have a specialty grill store in your area, check them out, they may have a low cost option as well, and they will usually be more knowledgeable, and help make sure your getting what is right for you..
Now, lets get back to the article, and here are some of my opinions.
Gas Grills – Gas grills are the most popular grill owned, for various reasons, bottom line, they are easier to learn and to use. One other point I want to bring out is, if you were used to having a grill, that had ample space between the actual burners, and the grate, with a layer of lava rocks in between, this is not the typical design anymore. The newer designs, use a deflector plate, just above the burner, and that is it. Unfortunately this newer design is more prone to fires! It is real important to keep your grill clean.
We want the best of the cheapest, and Ryan’s pick here was pretty much value based on cooking area, BTU’s, and cost, and he picked the Char-Griller 3001. This is a pretty solid choice for this price range. However, CharBroil does have a couple in this price range that are pretty good performers as well, in case you do not see this in your Big Box Store. If you intend on using this grill often, I think you really need to reconsider your price range (if you can).
I live in Florida, and I cook on my grill all year long, so longevity is a real issue for me, and if it is for you, you need to attempt to get into the $400 range and above and consider a Weber. Weber’s entry level Spirit line, is solid and the Weber E-210 is a great little Grill starting right at $400.
Charcoal Grills - Charcoal grills are a different animal entirely, here is where many get their first taste of fire control, a real outdoor flavor, and real satisfaction if, you have the time to do it! If your willing to take the time to get your fire going (the best method is using a charcoal chimney, and not lighter fluid), use either a hardwood briquet or lump charcoal. There is no doubt THIS IS the better way to grill food.
Back to the article, and my opinion.. Ryan’s pick here was the Char-Griller 2123, now I am not real sure I agree with that particular model. I really don’t want to appear that I don’t like Char-Griller because I do, they are very popular on this site, but not necessarily as a grill. Their popularity here is mostly as a low cost offset firebox smoker (with optional side firebox, and with some mods given in a tutorial on this site). But I know Char-Griller does work as a real solid charcoal grill as well.
My personal choice here though, is the Original Weber Kettle, you can still buy an 18.5″ Kettle for around $69 and a 22″ kettle for around $88 (you may have to look harder for these, but they are available on Amazon). I have had my Weber Kettle for about 16 years, and it still works just as well, and almost looks as good today as it did the day I bought it, and I have never even considered replacing it. Now I believe Ryan did mention the One Touch Gold, which gives an easier way to handle ash, but it is more expensive.
Whatever grill you decide on, please make sure you keep it clean, and it will be much easier to stay safe!
I am one of the guys who loves my gas grill, and I really do not care what others say.
I like the ease of use, predicable performance, easy of cleaning, and all of that. But, it took me awhile to learn how to get “real wood smoke flavor” from my gasser.
When using my smoker, I have learned to love certain smoke flavors with certain types of meat. For example, I like fruit woods such as Cherry, Apple, and Peach on poultry and pork. For beef (primarily Brisket Burgers on the gasser), I like a touch of Mesquite.
I have also played with specialty chips such as the Jack Daniels barrel chips and such with mixed results. To get the smoke flavor, I use a “Smoke Bomb” loaded with chips or pellets of the desired flavor.
A Smoke Bomb is basically a closed container with only a couple of air holes to allow smoke to escape.
A Smoke Bomb can be made that lasts a long time, even to an hour or more if needed. It works so well because it restricts the oxygen to the chips or pellets, producing a longer and smoldering burn that reduces flare ups and quick burning.
I started with the most simple of Smoke Bombs, just heavy duty aluminum foil. I made a double layer big enough to resemble a small grapefruit with chips or pellets inside. Sealed it up good and poked one or two tiny holes in the top with a tooth pick or my trusty Thermopen. Place it on a burner and when smoke starts emitting from the holes, it is time to cook.
The next step up for me was one of those stamped and bent sheet metal boxes sold by Home Depot with “smoking chips” in them. They are about 5-6 inches long, 3 inches wide, and an inch deep. The first thing is to throw away the “smoking chips” unless you really know what they are. If you try to use these open boxes with chips, you will need to soak them first or they will just ignite and last a minute or two. Not even long enough to do a smoked hot dog. So, I wrapped the box with good ole HD aluminum foil and poked a couple of small holes in the top to restrict combustion air. Worked like a charm. Biggest benefit was that the box gave some form to the Smoke Bomb when compared to HD foil only. Worked well.
My final evolutionary step was a cast iron skillet to hold the chips and pellets. I found an old 7 Inch skillet at a garage sale for $2. I cover it with HD foil with a couple of teeny -tiny holes again. One quarter to one half a cup of pellets or chips produces plenty of smoke for a good steak cook. Because of it’s mass, I put the skillet on my side burner to get the heat up and start the smoke. Then, the skillet fits perfectly on the two left hand burners on my five burner gas grill.
I defy anyone to tell that my steak cooked with a Mesquite Smoke Bomb came off a gasser! Outstanding wood smoke flavor, and that is what BBQ is all about.
Chips a pellets are available at many places, including WalMart if you watch the BBQ area closely. Small quantities of pellets are available on-line in many flavors. I tequires so few pellets or chips per cook that they are really cost effective when used only for flavor.
By Kevin Bevington
Ok, we made our rub. Now that we have our barbecue tasting good, we want to make sure we are cooking it properly. BBQ that is cooked properly will actually stand out better than BBQ that may actually have better tasting seasoning and sauce. This is where a lot of new barbecue competition teams miss the boat, and especially those in the backyard trying to cook bbq for their friends and family.
Let’s start with the tools you will need to bring you closer to your tender barbecue goal. First, let’s talk about your cooker, or bbq smoker. Let’s face it, you can cook barbecue on anything, bullet style smoker, offset fire box smoker, ceramic smoker, electric smoker, pellet grill, charcoal grill, and even a gas grill.