The Low Carb Luxury Newsletter: 
Volume III / Number 10: May 24, 2002: Page 5
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      Richard's Random Thoughts
Grilling Guide

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, and with it, the start of many cookouts (I'll be in charge of), I thought it would be a great idea to put together a guide for we very lucky low carbers who get to enjoy meat and veggies on the grill all Summer!

Before we get started on an overview of some of my favorite items on the grill, let's be sure of a few really important safety tips.

Smart, Safe, and Healthy...

Grill Man     Number 1   Keep it clean.
Never use the same plate for cooked and raw meats (beef, fish, pork, chicken.)

    Number 2   Toss that sauce.
Throw away marinades that were used on raw meats.

    Number 3   Utensils count too.
Never touch cooked foods with utensils that were used to handle raw meat.

    Number 4   Cook it right.
Cook pork to 155°F, hamburgers to 160°F, and chicken to 165°F.

    Number 5   Wash those hands.
Wash hands after handling raw meat and before you touch anything else.

    Number 6   Stay cool.
Keep cold foods cold until just before serving.

    Number 7   Chill out.
Put leftovers in the fridge within two hours of serving.

A cookout means more than just great taste. Make it a safe meal that's healthy and delicious. Look for more Good Rules for Eating and enjoy good health.

Now, I'd like to share some helpful tips for making my favorite grill offerings!



Spareribs

Great ribs don't have to be complicated.

A rub tailored to fit the taste of you family might be as simple as 2 tablespoons each of ground black pepper, salt, paprika, and garlic powder mixed together.

The thin, papery skin is removed from the back of the racks of ribs by pulling it off with a pair of pliers or working underneath it with your fingers and lifting it off. About 3 tablespoons of the dry rub is applied to both sides of two racks of pork spareribs (about 6 pounds in all) and the racks are left to sit for up to an hour.

The method for cooking is called indirect grilling — meaning the coals are on one side of the grill while the meat is positioned over a drip pan on the opposite, cooler side of the grill.

About two cups of hickory chips that have been soaked in water are wrapped in foil. Small holes are punched in the top of the foil package, which is then laid on the charcoal after the briquettes have begun to turn gray with ash.

Spareribs After positioning the ribs, the grill is covered and the ribs are cooked, turning them about every 30 minutes. Total cooking time ranges from about two hours during hot weather to closer to three hours when the cooler fall weather sets in. After the first hour, you will probably need to add 10 to 12 fresh briquettes to the fire. The ribs are done when the meat begins to pull away from the bones.

If you are using a gas grill the technique is similar. The fire is ignited on one side of the grill but not the other. The wood chips are put in the grill's smoker box or a foil packet of them is laid on the grate over the fire. The flame is raised to high until smoke begins to pour from the smoker box or packet. The flame is then reduced to medium. With either the gas or charcoal method, a medium heat — around 350 degrees Fahrenheit — is what you're looking for.

Once done, the ribs need to rest. The ribs can be wrapped in aluminum foil, placed in a paper bag and allowed to rest for an hour to let the juices flow back through the meat and the flavors to meld.

After that, barbecue sauce — your own low carb concoction or one of the commercial sugarless low carb sauces — is heated and spooned over the carved ribs.

In Memphis, a town known for its ribs, they save a little of the dry rub and apply it after the cooking to enhance the flavors, and many people prefer their ribs served "dry".

A variation on this method, when you have a party so big that your grill won't handle enough rib racks at one time, is to start them over direct flames until they display the grill marks you are looking for and have had time to soak up some smoke. After that, finish them in an oven, at 350°F.

If you are really in a hurry, put the racks directly over a medium fire, turning them every 5 minutes for the first 20 minutes. Then let them rest in a slow oven, 225°F. Again, the ribs are done when the meat begins to pull back from the bones.



  Hamburgers

Burgers Not much of a mystery here, but there are a few suggestions to make your burgers tasty and juicy. The first is to buy beef that has some fat in it because fat is flavor. Ground chuck is the meat of choice — lean enough to not melt away to nothing, but with enough fat (about 20 percent) not to give you a dry burger.

Handle the meat as little as possible: a few pats to form it into a patty. Anything more will rob the burger of its juiciness and primal flavor.

Wet or oil your hands before dividing the meat and forming it into patties.

Common mistakes that grillers make include not oiling the grate and not resisting the urge to press or poke the burgers. Oiling the grate, and buttering or oiling the patties, will keep them from sticking. Pressing the patties does nothing but extract the juice, leaving them dry and tasteless. Poking them with a fork also lets juice escape, so resist until the very end.

Grilling burgers about 4 minutes a side over high heat, and resisting the urge to needlessly turn them, will give you medium, well-formed burgers.

While tradition calls for the simplest meat mixtures, it's your hamburger — so, if you want to mix in onion or garlic powder, oregano for an Italian flair, or baste them with Worcestershire sauce, go ahead.

Also don't forget to try unusual toppings. Grilled onions or sautéed mushrooms along with slices of crisp bacon are nice touches. How about substituting Gruyere cheese or Italian Fontana for the usual American cheese?



  Shish Kebab

Shish Kebab is strictly defined as "Cubes of skewered marinated meat and vegetables that are then grilled or broiled." And in its original form, it nearly always used lamb. Now, however, most any combination of foods skewered together are called a shish kebab.

Kebabs can be great fun for parties and other get-togethers, since they go with so many combinations of marinades, sauces, condiments and side dishes. You might consider providing bowls of various chunky foods to let guests make up their own combinations. You can serve chopped onions and green and red bell peppers. Or choices could include pieces of blanched summer squash squash, raw or cooked mushrooms, sliced fresh fennel and Belgian endive, raw or lightly cooked Brussels sprouts, radicchio and arugula and sauteed eggplant.

One of our favorite ways to make kebabs is to alternate pieces of highly-seasoned or marinated pork with chunks of smoked sausage. Other savory combinations mix pork with seafood, such as lobster, monkfish, shrimp or scallops.

You might also want to serve Veggie Shish Kebabs as a "side" to go with your grilled steaks, ribs, burgers, or chicken. Here's a wonderful recipe from the Atkins Center:



Veggie Kebabs

Veggie Kebabs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 medium zucchini, scrubbed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 18 large white mushrooms, washed, stems removed
Combine oil, thyme, salt, and pepper in a very large bowl or 2 gallon resealable bag.

Add vegetables, toss to coat. Marinate 30 minutes. Thread vegetables on 6 metal skewers. Grill over medium heat 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender and have grill marks.

Makes 6 servings — 4.2 net grams of carbohydrate per serving.



I hope this gives you a great start on a Memorial Day Cookout. In the Next Issue, I'll continue with more great grilling fare!

                                                                          Grill Happy!
                                                                             Richard




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