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How To Grill

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Season 1

Show 109: Tackle the Tailgate

Autumn means tailgate picnic time. Which brings us to the ultimate tailgate picnic-done Greenbrier-style. Hotdogs with distinction (stuffed with cheese and jalapeno chilies). Burgers that are always juicy (stuffed with herb butter). An eye-popping, jaw-dropping barbecued cabbage (stuffed with bacon), and s'mores like you've never seen before. When it comes to a tailgate picnic, at BBQ U it's a whole new ballgame.

Today's menu:

  • Perfect burger
  • "Hot" dogs
  • Grilled sausages
  • Barbecued cabbage
  • S'mores
How to make a better burger
  • Choose beef that's not too lean (15 to 20 percent fat is ideal)
  • Handle the meat as little as possible. Excess kneading bruises the meat.
  • Ground chuck and sirloin make the most flavorful burgers.
  • Keep it simple-I like to make burgers w/ beef and that's it. Place the seasonings and condiments (onions, tomatoes, relish, mustard, etc.) on the buns not in the meat.
  • Cook the burgers through. With today's rampant bacterial contamination, you can't be too safe.
  • Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness. Insert it through the side of the burger. The internal temperature should be at least 160 degrees.
  • To keep well done burgers juicy, fold a piece of herb butter into the center of the burger.
ETHAN'S S'MORES printer-ready version

Here's how Greenbrier pit master, Ethan Hileman, makes s'mores. The ingenuity of his method lies in inserting a sliver of chocolate into the center of the marshmallow. This keeps the chocolate in the s'more, not melted all over your fingers.

Serves 6

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate, broken into 1/2 by 1 inch pieces
  • 1 dozen marshmallows
  • 24 chocolate chip cookies
  • long skewers or sticks
1. Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. If working on a charcoal grill, rake the coals into a mound in the center. If using a gas grill, you'll need to cook the s'mores over the side burner, or remove the grate, so you can stick the marshmallow right over the heat.

2. Insert a sliver of chocolate into one flat side of each marshmallow. Skewer the marshmallows on long skewers, sticks, or a barbecue fork and place over the fire. Roast until dark brown-even black-rotating the skewer to insure even cooking. You can even set the marshmallows on fire. (Again, rotate the skewers to insure even burning.) This will take 3 to 5 minutes. If you've lit your marshmallow, blow out the fire

3. Immediately, position the marshmallow on top of the chocolate. Place another cookie on top and press down to squish the marshmallow and chocolate. Pull out the skewer. Wait for a few seconds for the hot marshmallow to melt the chocolate, then eat the s'more like a sandwich. Barbecue doesn't get much better than this!

© 2006 Steven Raichlen | site design Benjamin Wilchfort