— — By Dave Lobeck CNHI News Service
I think we are far enough into April so I can't jinx us by saying spring is here. Wow! Didn't that seem like a long winter?
As we enter the outdoor grilling and BBQ season, I thought I would compile a “Top 10 List” of things to get done to optimize this year. Why 10? TV host David Letterman does it and he seems to do fine it, so here goes.
1. Do not think of the outdoor cooking season as Memorial Day through Labor Day. Start cooking outdoors this weekend and make a commitment to keep the momentum up right through the holidays, and when I say “holidays,” I am referring to Thanksgiving and Christmas.
2. Take an objective look at your grilling equipment. Do you use a kitchen fork and a plastic Teflon spatula when you are cooking outdoors? If so, that's simply disturbing. Commit to some quality grilling utensils made of steel. All you really need is a nice spatula and a good set of tongs.
3. Commit to trying some different dishes this year. When the average person thinks of grilling, they envision hot dogs, hamburgers, steak and chicken. While those are delicious, try grilling vegetables. Or how about slow smoking a pork butt? Ever tried beer can chicken? Make 2013 your year to stretch your skills.
4. Use charcoal. I know, I know. Tex (my neighbor) gets frustrated that most of my columns deal with real charcoal grilling. I also have a gas grill, and I certainly appreciate its convenience on certain nights. But please, I beg of thee. Break out a real charcoal grill occasionally on the weekends.
5. Involve family and friends in the outdoor cooking process. The social side of outdoor cooking is almost as important as the end result. I would ask that you commit to involving your kids or grandkids. Pass on the legacy and art of outdoor grilling and barbecue.