American Beer Month
What the home grill cook needs to know
Internal temperature is what counts in cooking. You need enough fuel to keep
your fire going to generate heat to cook your foodstuffs completely. A meat
thermometer is a necessary tool.
Keep raw meats, poultry and seafood chilled until just before grilling or
BBQ. Do not reuse marinade that's touched raw products for basting during
cooking. Instead, reserve some fresh sauce before marinating, and use that to
baste. For more summer food safety tips, see the USDA link below.
Amazingly enough, many people do not know how to grill a beer brat. Chef
Mike Zeller (pictured with author Lucy Saunders) of Johnsonville Sausage in Sheboygan, Wis., was born on Bratwurst Day
in 1959 and knows the technique by heart. Start with 24 oz. of beer in a pot,
add one large sweet onion that's been peeled and sliced, bring to a simmer.
Drop in your brats, and let simmer about 5 minutes. Then place on the grill
to complete cooking for a snappy and smoky flavor.
"The biggest mistake you can make is to cook the brats over too hot a fire,"
says Chef Zeller. "Cook brats slowly over a medium-low heat - when your coals
are just glowing - and they will cook evenly without charring."
Remember that foods will continue to cook for several minutes after removing
from the heat source, so don't slice into it right away. Let it sit, and
gather up its juices.
Gas vs. wood
If you like the convenience of gas, you can grill slow and low, too. This
year, as most homebrewers already know, new safety standards require that
your tank be fitted with overfill protection. Check with your propane dealer.
You just won't get the taste that real wood and lump hardwood charcoal can
deliver. Some gas grills have additional racks to hold trays of wood chips
for smoke seasoning. That works reasonably well, too.
If you decide to use charcoal instead of real wood or gas, be sure NOT to use
one of the instant igniting kinds. They reek of chemicals.
Fire prevention tips
Spray the ground and any foliage within 6 feet of your grill with a blast of
water from the hose before grilling (remember to soak any nearby bark mulch).
Keep grill clear of overhanging tree limbs, power lines, away from house or
apartment, and if tailgating, at least 5 feet away from garage or vehicles.
Always have a fire extinguisher.
Use a sheet of aluminum foil under drippy, fatty cuts of meat or poultry to
Apply sugary BBQ sauces in final 15 minutes of cooking, again to prevent
flareups. Better still, just warm the sauce and serve it tableside.
Links for tips on better grilling:
www.beercook.com - profiles of chefs and more recipes from author Lucy
Lucy Saunders is the editor of www.beercook.com, and author of COOKING WITH
BEER (Time Life Books, 1996).
Return to introduction.