A step up for your grill
September 7, 2015
Grilling out for the holiday? I have two words for you.
Grill Grates, or GrillGrates, I’m not sure which is correct, are interlocking plates of anodized aluminum which sit atop your regular grill grate, elevating the food about an inch and, more importantly, putting a barrier between your food and those annoying flareups that char spots on your burger. They’re also magic or something, because food doesn’t stick to them, which had become a real problem with my old grill surface.
I had ordered them a month ago, and finally got around to trying them out yesterday, while I was making my burnt offering (which, thankfully, was not burnt) to the Holiday Gods in the back yard.
People. These things are wonderful. No flareups. No chicken skin torn off and clinging to the grill surface. I can’t wait to try hamburgers, traditionally the worst of all foods to cling to a grill.
My grill is an inexpensive gas model, some 5 or 6 years old; I bought it at WalMart when I caught it on sale one holiday. It’s a four-burner model, my preference because I can light the burners on either end and put food in the middle for indirect heat. It’s been well-used, to the point that the ceramic coating on the grill rack itself has seen its ceramic coating get pitted and broken away. Thus, sticky food.
I put my GrillGrates on my grill surface, interlocking them as indicated. Three of them covered probaby 60 percent of the grill surface — I may order a couple more, though it’s rare I grill more at a time than what I can get on these three. They’re not quite as deep as my grill surface, leaving an inch or two at both the front and the back, but that’s fine. I sprayed them down lightly, per instructions, with canola oil. Turned on the burners and let the grill come up to temp.
Satisfying sizzle when I laid the chicken down, and when I basted it with barbecue sauce. Turned end burners on, adjusted them, turned center burners off. Let chicken smoke slowly over indirect heat for an hour or so, turning and basting occasionally. Gradually raised the heat and continued to cook for a total of about 3 hours, until a meat thermometer showed 160.
The barbecue sauce is based on my childhood familiar West Tennessee Ag Extension Service sauce, except I spice it a bit more. Start with 1/2 cup cider vinegar and a few healthy shakes of Worcestershire in your blender or FoPro. Add a teaspoon of smoked paprika, a half-teaspoon of ancho chile powder or some other moderately hot chile powder; a pinch of cumin, a half-teaspoon of Lawry’s seasoned salt, and some garlic and onion powder. Add a few grinds of black pepper while you’re about it.
With the blender/FoPro running, add 3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil, and 1 stick melted butter, in a slow but steady stream. Boom, that’s it, you’re done.
This is a marvelous sauce for pork or chicken. You can add a can of tomato paste to it and simmer it to make it a good sauce to serve tableside as well.
I thought about making baked beans and potato salad to go with this, but I opted instead for fresh seasonal veggies — corn on the cob, fried okra, sliced tomatoes, purple hulled peas. Worked quite well, but for the fact I’ve been dealing with vertigo and its accompanying queasy stomach, and didn’t want much to eat. But there is chicken left over, and it will go in chicken enchiladas tonight.
I hope you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em thoroughly enjoy your Labor Day holiday and grill all sorts of tasty things. There’s time to get you some GrillGrates before the end of grilling season yet. They aren’t cheap, but the best prices I’ve found are from the BBQ Guys website.
Happy grilling, and happy long weekend!