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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Return of the BBQ Queen

Greetings, dear readers!

It's been a busy week, but tonight I'm pleased to make an announcement: I have resumed my seasonal role as the BBQ queen of Arizona!

As I've written, I've had the cooking bug for a few weeks now. On Friday, I spent the afternoon diligently cleaning the inside of my trusty little BBQ to get it ready for the summer and the heavy use it will undergo. Cleaning the grill of what had to have been a few years worth of ash buildup made me wish I had a larger grill for some of my more ambitious projects (like baking!), but until I can afford a larger grill, this bitty broiler will have to suffice.

The grill is ready

Tonight's debut dish of the season was none other than a London Broil. We bought one on sale from the store about a week ago, and now it was time to eat it. I looked up a few recipes online for cooking it, but in a twist from my usual protocol, I did not want to make a marinade for the meat. I decided that I would score the surface of the meat, but I wasn't sure what else to do in addition to that. I then found a video where the cook massaged the meat with some olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper before throwing it on the grill, and I decided that would be the extra step I needed. I tend not to marinate my London Broils because I feel like they don't add anything to the overall dish that can't be achieved through a low-n-slow cookdown on the grill.

London Broil

Before grilling the meat, I lit the coals using an old propane camp stove, and carefully transferred the hot coals to the barbecue one by one with my tongs because there was a strong breeze blowing in and I didn't want to start a fire in my yard because it's been so dry here. I then threw in several handfuls of hickory and pecan woodchips which I'd been soaking in water for a few hours so they were nice and moist and ready to smoke. I've come to appreciate the use of woodchips, since they enhance the flavor of the meat quite well. Finally, I plopped the meat onto the grill and let it do its thing. I only periodically would come back out to turn the meat, since I was doing this brisket-style in preparation for 4th of July, when I will make a REAL brisket.

Beans on the grill. Kickin' it old-style (note: I have no idea why the image is rendering sideways. It was taken right-side up!)

After about an hour or so, I called the broil done and brought it in. Since my husband asked me to make baked beans to go with the broil, I then proceeded to grill up some onions, peppers and sausage to put into the pot with the cans of baked beans. I was gonna do this old-school and cook the beans on the grill since the heat was already there and I REALLY didn't feel like heating up the house after hearing that it would be over 110 degrees Fahrenheit tomorrow. After adding some fresh coals because the old ones were pretty burned out, I placed my cast iron pot full of baked beans on the grill to cook. Some periodic stirring, and they were good to go after an hour or so. BBQ baked beans aren't bad. It feels like I'm camping when I cook them on the open grill.

All done! Look at that meaty goodness!

When my husband got home from work, he just about had a foodgasm while eating my broil. I was a bit worried that I'd undercooked it because while London Broils have to be pretty rare to be edible due to the nature of the cut, I didn't want my broil still mooing while I was cutting it to eat. Fortunately, my husband called it just perfect and had a healthy helping before going to bed. He had a bit of the beans too, but the broil was far more preferable. I, on the other hand, was glad it came out great. I'm very careful about not undercooking or vulcanizing food so as to render it inedible.

I'm very encouraged by this first creation of the season. I wonder now what other creations I can make for my family. Maybe I'll bake something next. That's something I've been wanting to try for a while.

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