I use a plastic spray bottle or a giant bug sprayer to baste
meat on the grill with apple juice. Depending on what type
of meat it is, I’ll add other things to the apple juice
such as Jack Daniels, bourbon, gin, rum, beef broth, or chicken
broth. This adds moisture and flavor to the meat.
2. Building a fire
Primarily, I use wood logs as opposed to wood chips because
they provide lasting smoke without burning too quickly. In
my Weber grill, I use wood chunks (about the size of a fist)
instead of logs because they fit the shape of the grill better.
The types of wood I use most are oak, hickory, and apple.
However, certain woods taste better with other meats. Salmon,
for example, works well with cherry, alder, or apple wood.
3. Dry Rubs vs. Marinades
For large pieces of meat like brisket and shoulder, I use
a dry rub. I use marinades, or “wet rubs,” mainly
on fish and poultry. Many people think that marinades are
used to tenderize meat, but over-marinating can cause meat
to get mushy. A marinade is really used to impart flavor and
is essentially an inexpensive salad dressing. The ratio of
oil (the most expensive ingredient in a dressing) to acid
is lower in a marinade.
4. Store-bought spice mixes
The Montreal steak seasoning sold in the grocery store is
pretty good, although I don’t like the granule-size.
I pulverize it in a coffee grinder, which I use only for spices,
and then I doctor it up a little bit and add my own touches.
My favorite tool for grilling is a pair of heavy-duty rubber
gloves, preferably ones that are heat-resistant. These are
great for picking something up off the grill that is too heavy
for tongs or too big for a fork.
Grill baskets are great for cooking fish because the fish
won’t stick to the grill, but that’s really
the only thing I use them for.
Whole duck is my favorite thing to make on the grill. Most
people don’t expect me to say that, but I love duck.
(And my favorite food is Chinese!)
7. Sauce vs. No Sauce
I’m not really a sauce person. I make a lot of sauce,
but it’s more of an accompaniment to the meat. Good
tasting barbeque doesn’t need sauce; you should be able
to eat the meat by itself.
When I do use sauce, it’s at the end of the cooking
process. In the last 15 to 30 minutes on the grill, I will
put the first layer of glaze on one side of the meat and
let it set. Then I turn the meat and glaze the other side.
I do this every few minutes until the meat is done.
I don’t use foil, also called the “Texas crutch.”
Why would I want to steam my meat? Foil is a shortcut –
it works, but I personally don’t use it. I’m not
against foil, but it’s not for grilling. I teach my
barbeque classes the technique of low and slow cooking. I
tell them, “This is my way. I’m going to teach
you my way now, but you can do whatever you want when you
leave here.” If they want to ruin their barbeque with
foil, then that’s their choice.
I love to grill eggplant because I just like eggplant, especially
with a little garlic butter. Portobello mushrooms and peppers
(red and yellow are my favorite) are very good grilled as
well as sweet potatoes. I cook sweet potatoes in a smoker
or oven, then slice them and put them on the grill. They’re
10. Indoor grilling
When I’m too lazy to go outside and fire up the grill,
I’ll use a grill pan. I also have a George Foreman grill,
which works great. It’s easy to use, easy to clean,
and imparts some grill flavor on the food.