The Low Carb Luxury Newsletter: 
Volume III / Number 11: June 14, 2002: Page 5
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      Richard's Random Thoughts
Grilling Guide - Part 2


                                        [ See Part One of the Grilling Guide here from our last issue. ]

A number of people wrote to say they used tips and recipes from Part One of our Guide for their Memorial Day weekend cookouts last month, so we hope Part Two can be of help for the rest of the Summer. Father's Day, 4th of July, and well, just for no holiday reason at all. Cookouts are just fun! And when I'm tossing steaks, chops, chicken and more on the grill, I feel very lucky to be a low carber.

In our last issue, we highlighted Spareribs, Hamburgers, and Shish Kebab. This time we're going to explore the savory delights of thick juicy steaks, and succulent chicken!

Fire Up That Grill!



Steaks

Steak on the Grill Since the dawn of humankind there have been but a few earthly pleasures that have remained unchanged... and one of them is the pleasure of eating succulent meat cooked on an open fire. There's something about placing a thick, piece of red beef on top of a searing hot grill that evokes those connections with our ancestors in ways that broiling or frying can't replicate.

There's a subtle art to properly grilling a steak, and if you're one of the many weekend barbecuers who serves 'em up like good ol' Dad did dry, tough and tasting of burned soccer cleats you might benefit from a few helpful hints.

Books for the Grill The Cut of Meat:
While obviously the choice of steak is subjective, there are certain cuts that will have your guests clamoring for just a tiny nibble more.
John Willoughby, senior editor at Cook's Illustrated magazine and coauthor of Thrill of the Grill: Techniques, Recipes, and Down-Home Barbeque and Let the Flames Begin, is partial to skirt steak and porterhouse steak. "Skirt is the most flavorful steak of them all. It has rich, deep beef flavor," says Willoughby. "Porterhouse is that really tender steak. It has the tenderloin, the most tender muscle in the whole animal, and the top loin there's two different textures of meat and the bone."

John Dewar, owner of John Dewar & Co. in Newton Center, Mass., a meat purveyor to over 250 restaurants in New England, prefers a bone-in ribeye steak and a boneless sirloin strip steak (also known as a New York strip). "The ribeye probably has more flavor than the strip but is a little greasy; the sirloin has a nicer texture and a nicer finish in the mouth," he says.

The one common denominator of all of these steaks: They are fattier cuts. There's a direct correlation between the amount of fat in a piece of beef (marbling) and its flavor. Ahhh... yet another reason to be glad I'm a low carber!

The Fire...
Gas vs. charcoal, briquettes vs. wood.   These issues are endlessly debated in grilling circles. One thing everyone agrees on is that a charcoal fire burns hotter than most gas grills, a critical factor in getting a good sear on the meat. Willoughby prefers a Weber kettle grill. His choice of fuel? Hardwood, which burns faster than briquettes. He pooh-poohs charcoal with the fluid already in it. "It gives off a chemical flavor," he notes.

Dewar finds his gas grill just fine and dandy. "A lot of my chef friends are purists and laugh at me that I don't use charcoal or wood. But [my gas grill] seems a lot easier. It does a serviceable job on the steaks, as long as you start with good steaks. That's the secret," he says. Adds Willoughby: "Better to grill on gas than not grill at all."

The Cooking...
Now comes every weekend warrior's grandest moment: Dropping those bad boys on the fire. Before you do, make sure your grill has had time to get hot, hot, hot: Anything less and you won't achieve those wonderful sear marks. (Searing ain't just for looks, it helps hold in the juices.) For flavoring your steaks, salt, pepper and a little oil will do the trick.

Keep the lid off your grill when cooking steaks; keep it on for slow cooking roasts or whole birds.

Steak To flip or not to flip? That is the question. Willoughby has no problem with pushing and prodding the meat. "On the other hand," he notes, "you shouldn't be flipping it back and forth all the time. When you cook on high heat, you're driving all the juices to the center. I think flipping interferes with that."

The goal is to achieve a juicy on the inside, nicely crusted on the outside piece of red heaven that will have your guests hollering compliments ("This beats a steak at Outback!") rather than avoiding any mention of the meat "Boy, that salad was filling!").

For a 1 to 1 1/2" steak grill 8 to 10 minutes for rare, 10-12 minutes for a reddish-pink medium rare (our favorite), 12 to 15 minutes for medium, and 16 to 26 for well done. Use the pressure test as a second judge, where the more rare the steak, the softer is should be. Let the steaks sit 2 to 3 minutes before serving so the juices can flow to the center. Remember, actual time will vary slightly with the heat of your fire and thickness of the steak, but a little trial and error and you'll be a pro.



  Chicken

Grilled Chicken Is there any aroma more appetizing than chicken cooking on the grill? Delicious with no seasoning other than its own natural flavor cooked over charcoal, chicken on the grill can also assume an infinite variety of tastes.

Chicken halves, quarters, or leg-thigh combinations are frequent choices for outdoor barbecues. However, any part of the chicken may be cooked on the grill, adjusting the cooking time for smaller parts such as breasts, thighs, and drumsticks. The key to perfectly cooked grilled chicken is low temperature, at least six inches from the heat, and adequate, non-rushed cooking time (see table below). A cost-effective way to feed the family, entertain friends, and save energy, grilling chicken is a leisurely process to be savored and enjoyed.


Safe Handling:
  • Thaw chicken in the refrigerator or microwave oven, never on the kitchen counter or picnic table.
  • Keep uncooked chicken in the refrigerator or cooler until it’s time to grill.
  • Serve chicken from the grill on a clean platter, never on the dish or platter used to hold raw chicken before cooking, unless that platter has been washed thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Wash hands, kitchen counter, cutting boards, knives, and other utensils with hot soapy water after each contact with raw poultry or other meat.
  • Chicken should be well-done, never medium or rare. If an instant-read thermometer is used, a temperature of 180ºF should be reached; for boneless parts, 160ºF.

Grilling Table:
Product Direct Heat
(4" to 6" from coals)
Indirect Heat
(covered grill)
Rotisserie Smoker
(200-255ºF)
Whole Young Chicken (3-5 lbs.)   1 to 1½ hrs. 1½ to 2 hrs. 3 to 4 hrs.
Dark meat bone-in chicken parts 40 to 50 min. 30 to 35 min.    
White meat bone-in chicken parts 30 to 35 min. 25 to 30 min.    
Boneless Chicken Parts 10 to 15 min.      
Roaster (6-7 lbs)   2 to 2½ hrs. 3 to 3½ hrs. 3½ to 4½ hrs.


Grilled Chicken Proper Cooking:
To preserve chicken's natural moisture and to prevent dryness, leave the skin on during grilling and remove before eating, if desired.

Flatten chicken halves with heel of hand before placing on grill for more uniform thickness and even cooking.

The most accurate way to tell when chicken is properly cooked is with a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should reach 180ºF for whole chicken or parts with bones; boneless parts should be cooked until the internal temperature is 160º F. Chicken is done if juices run clear when pierced with a fork. When in doubt, remove the chicken to a plate and cut with a knife to be sure the center is no longer pink.

Chicken drumsticks, thighs and legs (which consist of thighs and drumsticks attached) require a longer cooking time than chicken breasts.

Microwave Speeds Grilling:
To shorten grilling time, chicken can be partially cooked in the microwave oven before being placed on the grill. However, partially cooked chicken should be grilled immediately. While charcoal is heating, microwave chicken on High, about 5 minutes per pound (less for cut-up parts), then grill about 20 minutes.

Now, here's a favorite Grilled Chicken recipe I hope you'll enjoy:


Grilled Lemon-Lime Chicken Breasts Grilled Lemon-Lime Chicken Breasts
  • 8 boneless chicken breast, skinless
  • 1/2 cup light olive or macadamia oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime peel
  • garlic to tast (fresh or garlic powder)
  • 2 Tablespoons cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Rinse the chicken breasts under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Place chicken in a non-reactive container (either plastic, glass, ceramic, or other non-metallic material). You may use a plastic zip lock bag also.

In a small mixing bowl, combine oil, lemon and lime juices, lemon and lime peels, garlic, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Pour lemon-lime mixture into bowl or plastic bag. Cover or seal and place in a refrigerator. Marinade in refrigerator between 2 to 6 hours (the longer the better), turning the chicken breasts occasionally.

Prepare a medium-hot grill fire and well oiled.

Remove chicken from marinade and discard all remaining marinade. Place chicken breasts on the grill and cook 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Only turn them once! Total cooking time is 10 minutes. Test for doneness by cutting into the breast.

Serves 8.   2.1 grams of carbohydrate per serving.



I hope this Two-Part Series has given you the push to go fire up that grill, and that you'll enjoy it as much as I do!

                                                                          Grill Happy!
                                                                             Richard




Crispskins All during the month of June the Low Carb Nexus is offering our own Crispskins All-Natural Pork Rinds on sale at 20% off... and shipping is included!   These All-Natural Chicharrones come in Original, Barbeque, and the ever popular Salt & Vinegar!

Naturally Zero Carb, Crispy and HUGE... these pork rinds are made right here in good ol' North Carolina! Taste the down home flavor and enjoy some crunch with your low carb lunch!

We also have a lot of new products, like Judy's Sugar-Free Brittles, and Assorted Caramels! Check out our Breaking News for more information!

                             Low Carb Nexus — "Where Low Carb and Low Prices Meet!"







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