Foodbuzz’s 24 x 24 x 24: Girl’s Guide to Grilling

Welcome ladies (and any gents that may be visiting).  Today’s post is something special; something unique.  I was chosen to be among the few, the proud, the many — to be one of 24 bloggers to participate in Foodbuzz’s 24 x 24 x 24.  That’s 24 meals, in 24 locations in 24 hours.

I am excited to present to you: The Girls Guide to Grilling!

Who says grilling is a man’s sport?  Well, over the past couple of weeks, this barbecue virgin took on the charcoal and the flame so I could provide for you, my faithful readers, a beginner’s-style guide to grilling.

I’ve researched.  I’ve practiced.  And I’ve executed a very sucessful barbecue cookout right in my own backyard.  The menu included a Greek Turkey Burger that would knock your knickers off, and a Teriyaki Burger worthy of putting the grilling gods to shame.

But first, the research…

Turns out, in the barbecue world, you ought to be careful with your terminology (is it weird that I am thinking in a southern accent right now? I thought ought’n and yur…hm?). Grilling is a term that should not be flung around and used promiscuously.  Use it with delicacy, or don’t use it at all!

According the “The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking & Entertaining” written by Cheryl and Bill Jamison, grilling only refers to cooking over direct heat, or open flame.  We must not refer to other outdoor cooking methods as grilling.  For the purposes of this post, I only researched and practiced one cooking method, direct-heat grilling.

Grilling is my method and charcoal briquettes is my source of fuel.   I loved this quote from “Weber’s Charcoal Grilling: The Art of Cooking with Live Fire” by Jamie Purviance, “In the charcoal world, we prefer timeless methods to push-button convenience.  We prefer the fickleness of a live fire to the predictability of propane.  We prefer rustic smoky flavors to clean-burning gas” (pg. 6).

Lessons About Outdoor Entertaining:

1.) Don’t be a Perfectionist! “Don’t fret if you’re flower beds aren’t freshly weeded, the deck needs staining, your cloth napkins don’t match, or you don’t even have cloth napkins…You want to spoil your friends and you do that by putting your energy into pleasing them at the table” (Jaminson, pg 3).

2.) Keep your abilities and equipment in mind. Don’t try to do what your abilities and equipment won’t allow you to do.

3.)  Remember the 3 P’s: PREP, PREP, PREP! Do as much of the work as you can in advance.  It will save you from panicking when guests arrive!  On a personal note, I stayed up prepping until midnight the night before.  I am so glad I did!

Lighting the Grill:

1.) Clean out the previous soot and ashes.

2.)  Use one of those fancy-pants chimney lighters, or do it my way: Wad up some newspaper and pile briquettes around newspaper.  You will want enough briquettes to spread out tightly, yet evenly on the bottom grate.  One tip says to leave 3-4 inches of a border surrounding the food you’ll be cooking.   Now light the newspaper, use lighter fluid if needed.  I used a lot.  🙂

Make sure your briquettes begin to glow before walking away.  This may require squirting on some more lighter fluid.  I did this a lot.  😀

3.)  When the briquettes turn gray, spread them out evenly on the grate.

4.)  Clean your cooking grate.  This can be done while you are waiting for the charcoal.

5.) Administer the hand test. What is the hand test you ask?  Well, according to all three books I researched from, the hand test is the best method for checking the heat.  I watched a cooking show that explained it this way: hold your hand a few inches above where you would be cooking and count, “One, two, thr-damn that’s hot!”  When you get to that point you pretty much know it’s ready. As a general rule: 1-2 seconds is high heat, 3 seconds is medium high, 4 seconds is medium and 5+ is low.

I began cooking with high heat.  I first seared both sides of whatever I was cooking and then, as the coals began to cook, I allowed the meat to cook through.

I practiced this method with turkey burgers, asperegus and pineapple (at my “Getting to Know You Party”); and with chicken and sweet corn.

Other tips for successful barbecuing:

1.)  Avoid fat dripping into the fire, which creates an undesired smoke.  This smoke from the fats gives the meat a charred flavor rather than a wood-smoked flavor.

2.)  Lay out everything that you are going to need for grilling, before you get started.

3.)  Use Kingsford Briquettes with Ceadar planks pieces.  I am not getting paid to say this or anything, I just really enjoyed the flavor they produced.

Now to the Main Event:

The main event was supposed to be a Girls Only BBQ Party.  Unfortunately, many of my girlfriends where out of town, on vacation or had other plans!  So I improvised, I invited my husband’s (the youth pastor) entire youth group to come and sample my recipes!  After working with teenagers for 5+ years (and being one before that), I feel like they are some of the toughest critics. On the menu:

The Opa! Burger, Dan the Man’s Teriyaki Special, grilled asparagus, and lots of potato chips.  For dessert, Strawberry Shortcake.

My idea was to give the kids a “menu” of sorts, so they could choose what to eat.  The menu listed each burger and the ingredients in order to create my recipe.  I also provided regular old burger fixings for my little picky ones.  I figured one or two of them would try my recipes, but surprisingly most of them tried one or both burgers!

The Opa! Burger:

If you closed your eyes and took a bite of this burger, you might be transported to Greece, or maybe a section of New York that is highly populated by the Greek.  The burger patty includes turkey burger mixed with smoked bacon and Greek spices.  It’s topped with melted mozzarella and stuffed in a pita along with feta, Greek relish and hummus!

Ingredients for the burger (serves 12-15):

  • 2lbs lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 pound chopped smoked bacon
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp red curry powder

Ingredients for the Greek Relish:

  • 1/2 c. diced cucumber
  • 1/2 c. diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 diced red onions
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c. Greek Yogurt

Other Ingredients:

  • Mozzarella
  • Feta
  • Hummus
  • Pita Pockets

Directions:  For the meat, chop the bacon and mix together with meat, dry ingredients and Worcestershire Sauce.  For the Greek Relish chop up veggies and mix with spices and yogurt.  Cook the burger patties through, top with a slice of mozzarella and let cook until mozzarella is melted.  Stuff a pita with the burger (cut in half), hummus, Greek relish and feta cheese.

Dan the Man’s Teriyaki SpecialI named this one after my dad. You see, my cousins owned a restaurant.  I am pretty sure every member of my family (me being the last) has worked there at some point, including my dad, who is an amazing cook!  On the menu was the Teriyaki Burger.  That’s where I got my inspiration for this creation.  It’s a beef patty, Swiss cheese, Canadian bacon, grilled pineapple, teriyaki sauce, tomato, lettuce and mayo, all on a sesame seed bun!

Ingredients for the sauce (serves a lot):

  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Corn Starch to thicken

Other Ingredients:

  • Mayo
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Pineapple
  • Canadian bacon
  • Swiss cheese
  • Lean ground beef
  • Sesame seed bun

Directions: Mix together in a small sauce pan, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic powder, water and corn starch (first mix corn starch with a little cold water).  Cook over medium heat and stir periodically, until sauce thickens.

Cook the burger and through on the grill.  When the burger is half way cooked, grill the pineapple.  While still on the grill, top the burger with a little teriyaki sauce, Swiss cheese, Canadian bacon and grilled pineapple.  Place on a bun with lettuce, tomato and mayo!

The Mostly Girls Barbecue Party:

The majority of the kids loved the burgers.  I tried to get them to yell Opa! but I only had one taker.  One teen told me my teriyaki burger was better than Carls Junior’s!

Overall my research, practice and barbecue was a success!  Below are some more photos from the Barbecue.  Enjoy!

See ya’ll tomorrow!

–Shawnee, The Ex-Perfectionist

‘Cause life isn’t perfect, but with a little planning and preparation, you can almost come close!

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24 Responses to Foodbuzz’s 24 x 24 x 24: Girl’s Guide to Grilling

  1. actorsdiet says:

    congrats on getting chosen! i am not a griller but i do love eating the food!

  2. Congrats on being chosen! How excitin!

    I want to eat both of these burgers! Wow! They look awesome!!

  3. Kate says:

    thank you for all the tips! i really want to grill more often but get intimidated by it. and the greek burgers sound like they are right up my alley!

  4. LOVED READING THIS POST!!! I am a total grilling virgin (unless you count my George Foreman, which I don’t), but you have definitely inspired me to give it a shot on my own! 🙂

  5. What a fun post!! I love grilling!! 🙂

  6. This post was perfect for me- usually I hand Hubbs whatever needs to be grilled, but you’ve inspired me to give it a go on my own 🙂 Looks like you had great grilling success! YUM, that Ops Burger looks fantastic!

  7. thehungryscholar says:

    Congrats and love the post!

    I love grilling. Just need a damn grill!

  8. mmoyal85 says:

    Thanks for the tips!!! That looks like an AWESOME burger 🙂

    Now, if only I had a grill………

  9. Awesome post! I love the tips you provided!

  10. What a great summer post!

  11. I love grilled asparagus! This reminds me, I need to start whipping out the grill.

  12. Chef Dennis says:

    Congrats on the foodbuzz honors!! and that opah burger sounds delicious! great job grilling and thanks for all the tips!

  13. Simply Life says:

    oh yum! that looks like a great time and wow, you really came up with some great burger recipes!

  14. I loove some good grilled food! That teriyaki burger sounds awesome 🙂

  15. Heather says:

    This is AWESOME. My fiance and I just got a grill for our wedding, and I can’t wait to try it out. I’ve never learned how to grill, so this is very helpful. Thanks!

  16. Sojourner says:

    Those burgers tasted sooo good! Thanks for letting me try new things in a safe environment 🙂

  17. little (A) says:

    Pretty much the best burgers I have had this summer. What is more impressive is that I loved them both, when considering I really dont like burgers as a rule. These were definitely amazing.

  18. Great tips! Congratulations!!

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  20. MaryMoh says:

    This is a lovely post…very informative and interesting. That juicy burger is sure making me very hungry!!

  21. Mom says:

    Wow Awesome Blog. Loved the pictures too. The sandwiches sound Great!

  22. Julianne says:

    Loved the sandwiches. I would like to come over and have one.

  23. Ok. You can come over. 🙂

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