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Grilling is Evolving

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

With the arrival of summer’s sultry days, grilling season is fast upon us.

Everywhere you look there are great new grill recipes, grilling gadgets, grilling sauces and, of course, the grills themselves. But none of these will do us any good if we have no idea how to use them.

So we talked to grilling expert Jamie Purviance and asked him for some tips.

Over the past few years, he's noticed some big changes in the way we grill.

``The repertoire's expanding quite a bit,'' he says. ``It used to be that the focus was on the meat and the main course, and the deserts and appetizers and side dishes were done in the kitchen. Now people are trying to do more and more of that kitchen stuff on the grill.''

We're grilling more ethnic foods and more vegetables, and we're using the grill more than ever for all sorts of entertaining. And that ties into the fact that grills, especially gas grills, are changing. They're practically outdoor kitchens, with rotisseries, extra burners and built-in refrigerators.

Along with the sophisticated grills are a whole bunch of sophisticated toys, such as silicone basting brushes, grill pans, griddles, smoke boxes for fragrant wood chips and the very handy Looftlighter. Charcoal purists will love this gadget, which blasts charcoal or wood with air heated to more than 1,000 F, igniting it in seconds without the need for lighter fluid.

In fact, charcoal is another big trend, especially with smoking food.

“Grilling is as thrilling as learning a new sport.''

Charcoal Purists

"If you're a charcoal purist, it's only a matter of time before you're going to get into smoking,'' Purviance says. "Think about getting a smoker or a Kamado Joe.'' The advantage of a smoker is that it maintains a low temperature for a really long time without the need to feed the fire. Also, get to know your charcoal - briquettes give you consistent, long-lasting heat, while lump charcoal has a more natural aroma and higher heat, but is more erratic and faster burning. The best results are if you use both.

One of the hottest trends in grilling these days is going meatless.

Where not so long ago lighting the grill meant steak or burgers, now it can mean anything from salad to dessert. After all, our grills are becoming outdoor kitchens, so why couldn't you cook anything on them you'd cook inside?

Original article by Joanne Sasvari