Another Reason Not To Use Propane

3 07 2009

I saw this on Twitter from @aribadler.  It’s a story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about propane tanks that show they are full, but really aren’t.  As I’ve made clear before, I think grilling with propane is cheating…and it’s just lazy.  Why even grill out?  Still, I know it’s more popular than using wood, so I thought this would be of interest to those of you that choose the gas.

Last summer two of the nation’s leading sellers of pre-filled grill tanks —- Blue Rhino and AmeriGas —- reduced the amount of propane in their tanks from 17 pounds to just 15 pounds. Company officials said the change allowed their tanks’ retail price to remain the same at a time when propane prices had spiked. Although propane prices have dropped significantly, the companies haven’t increased the amount of propane in their tanks.

[snip]

Because Blue Rhino and AmeriGas have changed tank labels to say “15 lbs” they’re complying with weights and measures laws, regulators at the Georgia Department of Agriculture said. But some consumers —- who assumed that the uniformly sized metal tanks would be filled to legal capacity —- are crying foul at what they consider sneaky shortchanging.

Like most other things in life, your better off buying local. 





Campfire Cooking

28 07 2008

The Lansing State-Journal has an article on their website this mornng about campfire cooking.  Man, does that bring back memories.  My friends and I used to “camp” every weekend.  Campfire cooked food was what I always looked forward to.  The LSJ doesn’t offer a whole lot of insight in exactly how to cook over a campfire other than to throw a commecial in there for a tuscan grill maker. 

The most important thing, make sure you’re burning a hardwood.  Softwoods not only taste bad, but they can be hazardous.  Just like on the grill, I prefer hickory.  Once you get a fire going, you have options.  Metal pokers aren’t really a good option.

Metal pokers might work for marshmallows, but are very limited when it comes to cooking a whole meal. But in a pinch, they’ll get your dogs hot enough for a bun and mustard.

You can do better than hot dogs.  The easiest way is to wrap your food in a piece of aluminum foil and throw it directly into the fire.  It will take quite a while to cook meat this way because you’re basically steaming.  This works good for vegetables.  Toss a little butter in the packet and you’ll have the best tasting veggies ever.  Be careful not to throw it directly into the fire.  Use some hot coals near the edge so it doesn’t burn. Read the rest of this entry »





Higher Prices to Ruin Memorial Day…

22 05 2008

…and I don’t mean gas prices.  I saw the following story on ABC 3 and honestly, it’s just depressing.

This weekend thousands of you will fire up the barbeque to kick-off the summer grilling season, but if that’s the plan, you better bring the bank.

From ketchup to paper plates food inflation is the highest in almost two decades.  

The average price of a cook out will cost American’s six percent more than last year. 

This is just the beginning. Analysts say next year, it’ll be even more expensive  just to stay home and make burgers.

Man, they can even ruin grilling.  I already got my burgers and buns…we don’t need no paper plates or ketchup….I’m kidding.  I’m not that cheap, but really, that is depressing to think about it.  You can’t leave because it’s too expensive and you can’t stay home because it’s too expensive.  We might as well not have holidays.





Grilling A Pizza

23 04 2008

Who knew it was possible?  I got the idea after eating at Weber Grill (review here).  My girlfriend and I went to Chicago for date night one weekend and Weber Grill was recommended by my brother who was supposed go with us with his wife but then backed out at the last minute.  Everyone thought I was nuts ordering a pizza at a place like this, but the concept sounded so good, so I got a pepperoni pizza as an appetizer.  It was delicious.  A few months later, my girlfriend and I took my mom to a doctor in Chicago and since we were close to downtown, we took her to Weber Gril for lunch.  This time, we got the buffalo chicken pizza as an appetizer.  All three of us loved the smoky taste and I knew then, I had to try it on my own.

Pizza DoughSo, today, I started out with my homemade piza dough from a recipe I got from one of my friends moms.  She used to make homemade pizza for us every Friday and Saturday night.  It was definately the highlight of the weekend when I was in high school.  It’s a pretty simple, basic pizza dough recipe of yeast, water, salt, sugar, canola oil, and flour.  I’ve healthied it up a little bit by doing half AP flour and half wheat flour.  It changes the taste a little bit, but nothing bad.  I actually think it might taste better.  I let the dough rise over night then fired up the grill after running a few morning errands.

Charcoal Lit
Charcoal is something else I get picky about when I grill.  I only use natural lump hardwood charcoal.  In this case, I’m using a brand called Cowboy Charcoal Co.  I know it’s minor, but I try to use as few chemicals as possible when cooking and briquettes are pressed together with chemicals.  Nothing terrible, but it just adds a slight taste.  NEVER. NEVER.  NEVER use lighter fluid.  Forgot about dangers of it.  Lighter fluid leaves a bad taste if it doesn’t burn all the way off and it almost never does.  Spend the $6 and get a chimney starter.  Usually, I use parafin wax to start my coals, but I didn’t have any.  The easiest, cleanest way to start the fire is by rolling up a paper towel and spraying cooking spray on it.  The coals will take about 20-25 minutes.  I actually got mine a little too hot today and the fire died pretty quickly after I got cooking.

Grilling PizzaNow it was time to cook the pizza.  After rolling the dough out and brushing on some garlic butter, the dough rounds when straight on to the grill grates.  I had considered using a cast iron skillet, but thought I’d try this.  It worked great.  The fire was hot enough the dough cooked really quickly.  Almost too quickly.  I was yelling back in the house to my girlfriend to bring the sauce and cheese.  AfterGrilling Pizza only a minute or two, I flipped the dough and started spooning on the sauce.  It didn’t take long at all.  By the time I was putting on the cheese, I was a little worried that I was taking too long and the pies were going to be burnt on the bottom.  At this point, I put the grill cover on for just a couple seconds to melt the cheese.  Less than five minutes after I put the raw dough on the grill, I was taking them off. 

Grilling PizzaSo, how they’d stack up to Weber Grill’s?  Pretty darn close.  The crust had a nice smokey flavor.  The cheese was perfectly melted.  I add a few spices (oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes) to the sauce and that made for a spicy sauce.  This was much, much better than cooking them in an over and it was really quick.  It took longer for the coals to warm up.  I felt bad about wasting the fire so I grilled some burgers for dinner later tonight and I grilled some pineapple and peppers for my girlfriend to eat.  Don’t be intimadated by pizza on the grill.  It’s not as hard as you would think it would be.  If you don’t make your own down, just buy one of those pre-packaged ones.  All the flavor is coming from the fire and it’s totally worth the time and effort.