With spring here, it’s time to dust off the grill (if you put it away, that is) and showcase your skills with an early start to one of America’s favorite family pastimes—charcoal grilling. An outdoor cookout is an inexpensive way to gather family and friends for great-tasting barbecue that celebrates the start of warmer weather.
Whether it’s a quick meal fired up for the family, or a big backyard cookout for the whole neighborhood, grilling gives you the flexibility to prepare delicious food that feeds a crowd without spending a fortune. Try these cash-saving tips:
•Ribs, whether beef or pork, are an inexpensive, yet popular star of any cookout. “The secret to any rib is to cook it low and slow so you get tender meat and great flavor,” says Chris Lilly, owner of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Ala. and six-time Memphis in May champion.
•Expensive cuts of meat tend to get a lot of attention— but you can create a great meal with a cut that costs less. Try grilling chicken wings instead of chicken breasts, or go with flank steak for a different beef option.
•Nothing says a backyard barbecue like a hot dog—try taking this staple to the next level by topping with flavorful fixings right from the charcoal grill, such as onions, peppers or a spicy corn relish.
•Hamburgers are the most popular food to hit the grill for very good reasons—everyone loves them and they are inexpensive to prepare. These days, burgers seem to be getting bigger and badder, but grilling veteran Lilly recommends keeping it simple. To achieve burger perfection, choose fresh ground beef and handle it as little as possible. That means flipping just once while cooking!
•Choosing the right charcoal is key to any cookout. This spring, Kingsford charcoal has improved its briquet formula to make it better than ever. America’s top-selling charcoal now features deeper, wider and longer grooves to catch the flame more quickly and burn longer, making your bag of charcoal last longer.
For more tips, recipes and instructional videos inspired by new Kingsford briquets, visit Kingsford.com.
Created by Champion Pitmaster Chris Lilly
Expert’s note: The flank steak is one of the most overworked muscles of all cuts of beef. If prepared wrong, it is the toughest. If prepared right, it is one of the best-tasting charcoal-grilled foods. Try using this versatile cut of beef as a topping for salads, a filling for quesadillas, or as a signature entrée. Some fresh herbs, a quick grill and KC Masterpiece on the side will make this steak explode with flavor.
Makes: 6 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes, plus 2 to 12 hours for marinade
Cook time: 10 minutes
2 flank steaks, approximately 2 pounds each
1/4 cup thyme, freshly minced
2 tablespoons tarragon, freshly minced
2 tablespoons black pepper, coarsely ground
1 tablespoon rosemary, freshly minced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Add all seasonings together in a small bowl and mix well, forming a coarse paste. Spread paste evenly over both sides of each flank steak. Wrap each flank steak individually with plastic cling wrap and refrigerate for
2 to 12 hours.
Build a charcoal fire for direct grilling. Grill steaks directly over coals (approximately 450° to 500°F) for 5 minutes on each side. Internal temperature of steak should reach 140° to 150°F for medium rare to medium doneness.
For optimum tenderness, cut flank steaks across the grain into 1/4-inch slices and serve.
Created by Champion Pitmaster Chris Lilly
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1-1/2 to 2 hours
4 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound chicken wings
1-1/2 cups Hidden Valley Original Ranch dressing
2 cups KC Masterpiece Original Barbecue Sauce
Light grill using Kingsford Charcoal with Sure Fire Grooves. Mix garlic, red pepper and salt; rub onto wings. Pour ranch dressing into food storage bag; add wings. Shake bag to coat wings.
Remove wings from bag; place on aluminum foil, fold into cooking pockets and seal tightly. Place pockets on main grill rack for about an hour and a half. Remove wings from pockets and finish directly on grill over moderate flame. Turn every two minutes until wings develop a crust.
Baste wings with barbecue sauce. Serve warm.
If smoker is available, arrange wings on smoker. Cook for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Remove and place on grill over moderate flame and grill as directed above.