questionsit's grillin' time! what are your favorite…

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My wife uses a simple marinade of soy sauce, honey, and orange juice. It works very well for being so simple. I think she also mixes in a few spices sometimes, but they don't appear to be essential.

EDIT: We use this marinade mostly for steak, but I believe it works well with chicken too.

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Here's a dessert to try on the grill. Grilled Pound Cake S'Mores

http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/606/Grilled-Pound-Cake-SMores114240.shtml

It works pretty well and is simple. Personally, I would try it more for the novelty of dessert on the grill than the finished product since I found it to be ok, but not great. The kids were pretty impressed that the grill could do dessert.

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I am a fan of using red wine as a base for marinades, but beyond that, it's all experimentation for me. Different every time. Don't use forks to turn the meat. Tongs are the way to go. Using a fork (or fork-like tool) causes some of the juices to leak out, drying the meat. Get some hickory (or mesquite) chips, soak them thoroughly, and add to the charcoal. The flavor imparted from the smoke is better than just about any marinade.

Happy grilling, and remember to kiss the cook!

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Notta secret. Indirect smoking BBQ is the bomb.
Lookup the manion method. Tho a lot of folks did it that way for many decades, he gets named for it for putting it on the Net in writing.
For me, I start maybe 10 pieces of charcoal in a coffee can. While that is happening, I arrange another 20 or 30 across the back behind a metal screen, and wrap a skinny log of wet oak and hickory chips in some tinfoil. I put the started chunks evenly across the cold ones at the ends, and place the tinfoil log in the middle. Then I spread the meat and marinated chicken across the nekkid grill, make sure the bottom and top vents are open maybe 1/4", and turn them maybe every half hour for four or five hours.
That's right. You want this for dinner, start about breakfast time. I can almost guarantee no leftovers.

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A grilling staple during my childhood was something my dad called "Sophisticated Hot Dogs"--an all-beef hot dog split length-wise with a few dill pickles in the middle, sprinkled with a little cheddar cheese and wrapped in a thick-cut piece of bacon. I haven't had one of those in years, but just thinking about it is making my mouth water!

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A good tip for juicy hamburgers (from Paula Dean the queen of diabetes mind you) is to cut up butter into tiny pieces and mix throughout the burger meat. The juiciest burger you will ever eat!
Ground beef from grass-fed cows is good stuff. You pay more for it but there is a noticeable difference in the texture and taste.

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It's ALWAYS grilling time as far as I'm concerned.

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This is an obvious one, but very popular at my place. Take fresh ears of corn, peel back (but not off) the leaves and get rid of the silk. Spray lightly with butter or olive oil flavored cooking spray and dust with ground sea salt and whatever you like such as fresh ground pepper, chipotle or cayenne powder, rubbed Italian seasonings, etc. Pull green leaves back up into place and wrap in foil. Lots of people don't wrap in foil when using leaves but I find the corn to be much more sweet and moist when I do. Cook for about 15-20 minutes on the cooler part of the grill turning frequently.

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@wnyx585am: That marinade sounds tasty for steaks and chicken too. I'm thinking maybe not on pork, but that's cuz I love pork and don't like to mess with it much (except for the addition of bacon, of course ;) The dessert sounds fun (and messy!) I think if we had kids, we'd definitely give it a try. I'll stock that one away in my brain for the future.

@rprebel: The only time I've used red wine in a marinade, it was a butter/red wine mix for an indoor grilled flat steak. Was quite good, now that I remember it. Will look into more options with the red as hubby and i both like it (him even more than me). Definitely agreed on the tongs vs. fork argument. We have a gas grill, so we can't add flavor-y things in - or can we? Is that something that can work with a gas grill, anyone?

@gidgaf: not sure that's an option for us unless we really plan ahead on a weekend. sounds great though. Also, is this the kind of thing that our neighbors won't appreciate since we're third floor in a condo?

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@elizapipp: Sounds delicious and definitely something my husband would be down for. Not sure how I feel about the pickles inside of the hot dog, but I'd be willing to find out!

@jimmyd103: we don't cook much from Paula Dean (and that school of cooking) so I don't feel too bad when we do decide to. I bet the burgers like that are fantastic. I don't actually know if our local butcher shop is grass-fed - I'll have to check. It's a small, family owned place with high quality products, decent pricing and a ton of pre-seasoned and "exotic" options available too, plus fresh seafood bright in every week.

@xavoc: I would agree, but we live in a third floor condo, across the street from an airport (read: giant, empty fields) so the wind here gets pretty intense. If the temperature is cold and you add in the extra crazy wind we get here, it's not always grilling time, sadly. If only...

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Oh, here's an informal one we use a lot-- cool the grill with beer, liberally doused over food while cooking. Works as well (better in my opinion) with fresh lime or lemonade. Lime or lemonade make a great marinade as well.

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@moondrake: awesome tip about the foil. i'll give that a shot as i HATE dry corn. i'm not sure how i feel about pouring beer all over the grill - do you think we would have issues with the gas grill going out?

I probably should have noted previously that I'm totally not the one does the actual grilling. I prep everything and then I hand it all over to the Grillmaster, of course. So, if I'm asking silly questions, that's likely why :)

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@smtatertot13: Not silly at all, and I don't know the answer as i have never used a gas grill. Charcoal and mesquite are my grilling fu. I don;t usually do the actual grilling either, but I supervise as my friend who likes to stand over a hot grill will overcook most stuff, although he does a better job with the corn than I do. I had to teach all the guys the proper use of lighter fluid. 1. Douse charcoal. 2. PUT THE MESMERISING ACCELERANT AWAY! 3. Go away for a few minutes. 4. Come back, light fire. They would always light it as soon as they'd applied it, and burn off the lighter fluid before it got a chance to soak into the charcoal. Then they'd put ever more lighter fluid till the whole area and half the food smelled of the stuff.

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@moondrake: Yup. That's a tip all in itself. The lighter fluid is supposed to be all burned up and the charcoal mostly white on the outside before you spread the charcoal and start grilling.

I build a pyramid with the charcoal, coat with lighter fluid, and light it. I walk away for 10 or 15 minutes until the flame is gone and there is smoky, ashy charcoal. Then, spread out the charcoal and put the grate on and start cooking once the grate is hot. Preheating the grate helps make sure the food doesn't stick.

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@moondrake, @omnichad: It's great that someone knows proper lighter fluid technique (I didn't know about waiting for the charcoal to soak up the fluid!). But why not upgrade to a charcoal chimney and skip the environmentally dubious lighter fluid? It just uses some newspaper to start the coals in a favorable oxygen environment without stacking. Plus, Alton Brown showed me you could use the chimney as a way to powerfully and deliciously sear tuna (and steaks before finishing through some other method).

For food, one of my favorites is dry or wet brined pork chops. You can soak the chops in a brine for 4-16 hours with herbs, spices, and sugar. Or you can just cover the chops in coarse salt for 4-8 hours and then rinse them off. That's the oh so popular method that I've used for my deep fried turkeys and fall apart pork belly. It forces water into the cells of your meat, making it juicier and more tender. Another fav: bratwurst parboiled in a mix of beer, onions, and butter first.

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Charcoal only. I use my propane grill maybe 4 times a year, but the charcoal grill is used all year long.

Also, stay away from lighter fluid altogether and buy a nice chimney charcoal starter. The nice Weber ones are around $16 or so, and you can find cheaper versions for around $10. It's super easy to use and keeps your food from tasting like the lighter fluid.