Buck Reed, The Supermarket Gourmet

This summer, I did not have a grill to work with, so I have been hitting the Frederick barbeque circuit. I would mention names, but nobody is paying me to advertise them, so at least I can be honest. (Apparently, honesty is somehow linked to an economic factor in my world.) Anyway, the first thing I noticed is how expensive it is. One place offers a pretty good deal if you go in with your family or friends and order a plethora of food served on a garbage can lid. And another place that charged me over $17.00 for my lunch had a broken leg in the chicken. That’s a pretty hefty price for what I call Navy chow.

No doubt, when we think of a grill, images of summer come to mind. Hot dogs, hamburgers, steak, and chicken breast make an appearance as well. But barbecuing in the fall season calls for a different mind set.

First of all, fall is a mighty fine time to upgrade your equipment. There is bound to be a sale at the hardware stores that might snag you a pretty sweet deal on a nice rig. It is worth keeping your eyes open anyway.

When I think of fall grilling, I think more low and slow. Meats that are put on the grill should be suited to longer cook times that will benefit their overall quality and flavor. This is the time for whole chicken and turkeys and larger cuts of meats, such as pork butt or brisket. Smoking is a great option for this time of year. I love my smoker in the fall and winter; it just seems to work better in the cold weather, and the food tastes better. Just set up your equipment where you can keep an eye on it, and go ahead and rake leaves or other yard work as your grill does the work.

Low and slow calls for a different set up for your grill. All summer long, you have been working with burgers and hot dogs that call for direct grilling—that is grilling right over the heat source, weather it is charcoal or gas. But fall grilling calls for the indirect grilling procedure. For this method, you have to look at your grill and see how the air flow works. Ideally, there should be a vent below and one at the top. These vents should be on opposite sides of each other. So you need to set up your heat source close to the vent on the bottom, and keep it clear on the opposite side, under the upper vent. This will create airflow that draws the heat from underneath, carrying it over the food you are cooking and out the upper vent. Now all you have to do is place the food in the proper spot to cook and adjust the vents to get the air flow you desire. Once you get this set correctly, it is easy to just close the lid and walk away, checking on it every once in a while to move your product around and/or turn it over.

Add in some delicious sides or grilled apples and you can make some memorable meals on a clear fall afternoon.

Have an idea for an article or need a recipe, please email me at rguyinthekitchen@aol.com

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