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Any Time is Grillin Time

After grilling out with propane for many years I purchased a pellet grill Friday. I first grilled some steaks. Yesterday I smoked a rack of ribs. Today it was burgers and stuffed peppers. Pellet cooking is all new to me but I'm loving it so far. I started this thread in hopes we might share some kick butt recipes and cooking tips. Talk about the best grills or at least the best for the bucks. The problems we've experienced grilling and the crazy/funny grilling stories ... you name it.. all things grillin.

This is my new grill. It uses wood pellets as fuel. They can be had in natural flavors such as hickory, mesquite, cherry, apple, alder, etc.
They are fed into a burn pot by an auger that is controlled by a thermostat. There is a fan inside that spreads the heat such as a convection oven. The concept is not new but it was new to me a couple of years ago. I've had the desire for one since and took the leap Friday.
My grill came without a cookbook so I'm winging it.

Help a fella out. I need some recipes.



#1 olbriar, May 28, 2012
Don't do what this guy did:
Man eats grill brush bristle, is OK | Courier-Post | courierpostonline.com
#2 breadnatty08, May 28, 2012
Sound advice. I've never owned a grill brush. I've always used a steel brush designed for masonry work lol. Same thing I guess. I recently read an article about cleaning the grill grate with the used crumpled up aluminum foil. Haven't tried it yet but it might work great. At least it wouldn't become embedded in my steak!

My new grill has a porcelain coated grate. I haven't a clue what's the preferred method of cleaning. My Jenn Air propane grill had chrome grates and have lasted well. They would take a vigorous scrubbing without a problem. The porcelain grate is far less quality and doesn't stand a chance of lasting a long time. But, they don't see direct flame. Maybe I'm wrong about them lasting.
#3 olbriar, May 28, 2012
I use a weber charcoal Grill, have for the last 6 years. It's seen better days, the lid is warped, and I have gone through 4 grates, but it's still cooks great. I use a charcoal chimney to light it, takes a little longer, but don't get any lighter fluid taste anymore. Plus it saves money, since we get newspaper anyways.
#4 AntimonyER, May 28, 2012
That's exactly what I do, I love just plain charcoal! Sometimes I go down to Lowe's and they sell all natural hardwood chunk charcoal, such great stuff. Big more expensive, but works great! I think I'm going to have to grill myself up a nice steak and an ear of corn this weekend. Steak: put it on the grill, light brushing of oil, then salt and pepper. Flip and repeat. Take it off the grill, put it on a small plate upside down on a bigger plate and cover with aluminum foil and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Hard to do, but toally worth it! Corn: Take the cob of corn, a pat of butter and a slice of bacon. Wrap the bacon around the cob, then wrap everything in aluminum foil and grill until done. bacon flavored corn FTW, LOL!
#5 Hrethgir, May 28, 2012
Mmmm bacon.
#6 AntimonyER, May 28, 2012
Bacon flavored corn... that's a must try.

When I was a kid my father soaked his charcoal in gasoline. I can still see him tossing matches at the grill and that huge ball of flame lol. Besides dangerous, everything we ate tasted like a 57 Studebaker.
#7 olbriar, May 28, 2012
Cant beat some good ole summer grillin.

I do alsorts when it comes to bbqs, heres a few ideas for ya.

Any meats with some dry rub
Salmon with olive oil, garlic, herbs, chilli wrapped in foil and steamed
Get a good collection of sauces, i have Caribbean hot, jalape
#8 XplosiV, May 28, 2012
I use a Pk Grill (Pkgrill.com) its a charcoal grill I use an Electric charcoal starter no lighter fluid taste.

Pork I use Butt Rub (buttrub.com) Mc Cormick Grill Mates Pork Rub, and Morton Nature Seasoning (Reduced Sodium)

Beef I use nature Seasoning or I'll use a Steakhouse grinder (Mc Cormick) or an itallian seasoning grinder mostly depends on the sides :)

Fish I use a small amount of olive oil, I put Bay Seasoning Shrimp and Crab Boil, and some garlic (Love the G stuff) place it in foil and mmmm

Chicken I found a chicken rub that I've been using also a Mc Cormick Grill Mate at splash of nature seasonings.

We cook out really all year long. I've stood out there in 30 degree weather just to get a great steak :D

Potatoes, Oinons, Garlic, and Baby Carrots, Add Nature Seasoning, A bit of butt rub and olive oil place in aluminum foil and cook until done.

Yall keep the good stuff comin. Like the OP I am always looking for the next great flavor and way to do something. :)
#9 argedion, May 28, 2012
Rubs... I need a rub education.. plain and simple. I used Famous Dave's Rib rub on my first rack of ribs. It was good but maybe a bit garlic strong for my palate. I don't want ribs sweet... peppery.. salty perhaps. I've never used a rub on my steaks. I do like a marinate, some McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak seasoning, and some beer for a couple of hours prior to grilling. I will have to check the rubs a bit more seriously.

Smoked Salmon sounds so good.... mmmmmmm. I've never tried any sort of fish on the bbq. I think I've cheated myself out of some great stuff. Shrimp.. salmon... wow!
#10 olbriar, May 28, 2012
Also not so much 'cooking' but it always goes do well at my pad, potato salad.

Can be made any way ya like, but I like to mix it up and experiment a lil.

As many potatoes as you want
3-4 hard boiled eggs, sliced or segmented
Half n onion
Some sweetcorn
Chopped peppers (chunks about the size of corn)
Finely chopped chillies
Either plain mayo or spice it up with a splash of piri-piri sauce
Maybe a few drops of lemon or lime juice if you fancy it.

... And tada.

Just a side note, almost any sauce can be mixed with mayo to make a nice dip for some lovely grilled chicken mini fillets, shrimp, or just to spread on a burger.
#11 XplosiV, May 28, 2012
rubs are experimental. to find those that give a flavor that isn't over powering in one area or another. I've tried several that were either to sweet or to hot and never just a nice balance. That's how I got to mixing them a bit to give me the balanced flavors. However I am no "Rub Master" just a guy going after a great taste :D

Fish is really good on the grill. I always wrap in foil for two reasons. 1) fish doesn't stick to grill and tear all apart trying to flip it or even just plate it. 2) fish doesn't fall into the coals. Foil solves those issues. a bit of olive oil will help the fish to slide off of the foil with little effort. Foil, Your favorite seasonings, olive oil, and 10 minutes of grill time and wallah you have a great fish dinner. I will at times add lemon or lime zest. Orange zest works well to.

I always find that the things I cook never taste as good when you go to a restaurant.
#12 argedion, May 29, 2012
Soaked charcoal in gas, hmmm. Like this?
Homer Simpson BBQ - YouTube
For some more grilling laughs, and I'm still laughing:
#13 breadnatty08, May 29, 2012
First off, NEVER buy pre made rubs. They're almost guaranteed to be old and stale and how hard is it to mix a few ingredients anyway?

Rub 101 (this coming from a somewhat experienced pit master with limited competition experience)

Start off simple, no more than 6 ingredients. As you get more comfortable you can add more.

As a base try equal parts brown sugar, kosher salt, paprika and half measures of onion and garlic powder and course ground pepper. If you want heat, add a bit of cayenne. Taste it before use! It will be salty but should taste good. Cheap paprika can lead to a bitter chemical taste too.

For pork, sweeter is better. For beef especially brisket, lower the sweet and bump the pepper. Good quality brisket is fine with just salt and lots of black pepper IMHO.

Some people go way over the top with rubs, using 20+ ingredients. I find that useless complication that you can rarely taste. My current favorite rub contains salt, paprika, brown sugar, onion powder,black pepper, Chipotle powder, Ancho powder, cumin and a bit of Mexican cinnamon.

There's a whole lot of BS in the BBQ world. Rubs don't "get into the meat" nor do they appreciably tenderize unless they contain some form of enzyme. You can rub and let sit over night, it won't hurt. OTH, In my own casual tests, I've yet to find a flavor or tenderness difference between over night and one hour before cooking. Also, the highly prized smoke ring? Nothing to do with smoke. Get roast pork from a Chinese take out. It will have the most beautiful smoke ring you ever saw....no smoking involved. Go to any BBQ competition and you'll hear all the talk of layering flavor, shocking the meat, tenderizing by massage, ect. All BS. People see and taste what they want to, whether it's fact based or not.

As for Salmon? Get a cedar plank (a thick cut shake/shingle will do). Place a few lemon slices a little salt and dill sprigs in the cavity of the fish, place it on the plank and grill it closed. Depending on grill temp, ~ 10- 15 min with an internal temp of 135. The plank should be singed around the edges and will impart a nice smoky taste. Simply the best way I know to serve salmon. Clean ups easy too! Sear off some fresh corn and a few spears of baby potatoes and dill for an impressive elegant and almost absurdly easy to prepare dinner. Enjoy!

Since I'm in a sharing mood, a bonus

My current favorite KC type sauce based loosely from Poppa Jacks Shed Spread (which was too darn sweet for me)-


Andy spread

2 c tomato sauce (I like redpack)
1 c tomato puree (fresh much better than canned)
1/4 c tomato base (ketchup)
1 lb brown sugar
2 tbl molasses (not black strap!)
1/4 c Worcester sauce
2 tbl soy sauce
1 tbl yellow mustard prepared
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 sp cayenne or Chipotle powder
1/4 cup rub
1/4 c bourbon
1 tbl Apple cider vinegar
1/2 lemon squeezed

Wisk everything but the lemon juice together, bring to boil and simmer to thicken, about an hour (*depends on wateriness off tomatoes). Reduce or eliminate the cayenne/ chipotle if you don't like heat (or if your rub is very hot). Add lemon when reducing is done and check for tartness. If you want a richer sauce, add a pat or two of butter at the end.
#14 pastafarian, May 29, 2012
Pasta, great tips!
We don't grill much meat in the restaurant, just chicken. We marinate them in a "herb oil". Basically a mix of whatever herbs we have in the house with oil and salt: parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano.
For our pork confit (which isn't grilled, but I'll share anyway), we cut pork shoulder into steak like pieces (about 1" thick), top them with very course rock salt, thyme leaves, crushed garlic cloves and juniper berries. Let them sit for 4 hours under refrigeration. Afterwards, rinse off everything and cover the pork in duck fat (any type of animal fat will work, like lard), and bake covered at 300 degrees for 4 hours. Once slightly cooled, separate the pork from the fat and shred. This stuff is delicious! Put on a sandwich, pizza, or whatever.
Grilling wise, I stick to basics (I'm pretty much a vegetarian), but always seasonal. For veggies: corn, squash (zucchini, yellow), tomatoes (wrap the grates or keep them above the heat), mushrooms are all great. As always with grilling, keeping it as simple as possible is the best!
#15 breadnatty08, May 29, 2012
I've never confit pork, but I have done it to duck because my wife loves the stuff. I do a lot of barbecue (not to be confused with grilling!!!) during the summer months. I tend to make it for others and don't eat much of it myself. For the camping trip I pre made 6 racks of baby backs, 2 butts which I pulled and prepared with a hot vinegar based sauce and a couple of platters of my evil beans (cooked navy beans prepared with BBQ sauce,brown sugar, onions, peppers and burnt ends/pulled pork bark that is then finished cooked in the pitt under the dripping meat for a couple of hours, a heart attack on a plate!). I had a birthday party in our back yard for my then 6 year old son. We had several people come uninvited just for the barbecue. I think I may be getting the hang of this.

Bonus grill recipe-

Grill pizza! Easy and impressive. Find a simple pizza dough recipe, easy to find on the net, there's like 5-6 ingredients max (flour, water, yeast, salt, olive oil and maybe sugar) Easy to make in a food processor. Roll out the dough (1 lb of dough should make 4-5 10" round pies). For sauce? don't use any! A little crushed tomato with a little crushed fresh garlic, olive oil and salt is all you need. It will cook on the pie. Get the best mozzarella cheese you can find and some fresh basil leaves. Get the grill ripping hot, oil it well (dip balled paper towel in vegetable oil and apply to grill). Grill one side of the dough till it bubbles on top and has good grill marks underneath. Turn it over and spoon a thin layer of tomato, a layer of thin sliced cheese and a few basil leaves. Cover and cook till bubbly (5 min). Use very good quality tomato and cheese and be prepared for the "this is the best pizza I ever ate" comments. Bask in the glory of all your (non) hard work.

If you're doing a lot of pies, you can grill all on one side first, then grill the "b" side and add your toppings for rapid fire delivery.
#16 pastafarian, May 29, 2012
Pasta, I've grilled a lot of pies and I like your tips on precooking one side. Only problem I always encounter is ensuring you have your toppings baked enough (especially the cheese). I recommend "marking" the crust so you have some grill marks, topping it (keep it sparse for grilled pizzas), then turn down the temp on the grill if possible, make sure it's covered and you'll have a very even cooked pizza.
One of the other great opportunities to grilling pizza is to grill your toppings beforehand whether they're meat of veg. Also, if you have some wood chips, smoke some tomatoes and crush them up to make the sauce. MMMMMM! :)
If you're at all curious:
<--- this pie is from our restaurant.
#17 breadnatty08, May 29, 2012
As long as you use fresh cheese (the pre shredded dried up stuff takes a long time to melt and tastes more like cardboard than cheese anyway) and don't get carried away with toppings (like you said, sparse), cooking the toppings has never been a issue for me. I've done this on both gas and charcoal with great results. Didn't think to mention a smoke source because I have a smoker box or simple hobo pack by default when I grill. A little wood smoke will improve the pie, a lot of smoke is a no-no. The wet dough attracts creosote like a magnet and will get bitter fast. Prefer oak over hickory for pizza, mesquite is too assertive.
#18 pastafarian, May 29, 2012
You bring up a good point with wood even though your pointing it out for pizza any food you cook can be complimented or ruined by the wood you choose. Mesquite is a very strong flavor wood and should be used for Beef and some Pork. If you like light flavors Pecan is very good. I'm still learning woods and which to use for what (based on my and the family's taste) quanity of wood is important to much can be over smokey and to little is not smokey enough. Again things your Experience is going to teach you based on your particular Taste. Apparently Olbriars dad love the taste of a Studebaker. :D

I try to find things that complement the meat and really just bring out its natural flavor.

Seasonings IMHO is like Oil in the car better to run a little light than to over do. Again most of all this is going to depend on your individual taste. I've known guys who over smoke and what I eat from them taste like they drug it out of a forest fire more than the grill.
#19 argedion, May 29, 2012
I love BBQing and grilling! I've got the first big family BBQ coming this weekend. Going to smoke 2 racks of ribs and a shoulder for some pulled pork. I use my own blend of spices for my rub, just a small tweak to a basic recipe found here. I just tweak the ratios on a couple of spices and add a couple of my own. Before I put the rub on I soak them for a little bit in a 1:1:1 ratio of apple juice, dr. pepper, and apple cider vinegar. Then the rub goes on liberally. I smoke them using apple wood, gives it a nice, mild smokey flavor, and spray them every hour with a mist of the same mixture that I soaked them in.
#20 MSUgEEk, May 29, 2012
Good luck with your weekend BBQ. I will doing a family BBQ this weekend myself. I, too, was thinking about some ribs. It's obviously to me that I've got to put a rub together. Everyone has me excited about trying something. I also plan on doing some KC strips one night with mesquite pellets. It's all a big adventure on a new grill.
#21 olbriar, May 29, 2012
Good luck man! Once you get started, it's an addiction! I can't wait for get togethers to come around so I'll have an excuse to BBQ obscene amounts of meat! lol I don't do it much with just me and the wife, too much trouble to prep and slow cook for 6 hours or so for just the two of us. I still do it a couple of times a year though for just us.
#22 MSUgEEk, May 29, 2012
That is what I'm finding cool about the pellet grill. You still have prep time but being as it's a constant temp cooking and convection... It takes less attention. No flame ups or need to turn the meat. I smoked ribs for nine hours last Saturday. I was working in the garden and couldn't help but put an eye on the ribs a few times. But, they needed no attention and I could have just as easily been at work or something.
All I need to do now is get my time/temps down. What I really need to work on is my lack of rub knowledge and cooking something besides steaks, chops, and burgers.
I have grilled a very boring past... very simple things in a very simple manner. I want to learn to cook all the things take a bit more time or more expertise.
#23 olbriar, May 30, 2012
9 hours for ribs? Beef? The reason I ask is that unless they're huge, 9 hours is a really long time for pork. I've never gone more than ~6 hours for any pork rib, baby backs take 4-5 max. That's @ ~225-250. 9 hours is brisket/pork butt territory, though like many in the BBQ world my temps are going up and cook time going down. Large beef ribs can go to the 9 hour range easy too. If your ribs are fall-off-the-bone? You've over cooked them! A proper cooked rib should be tender enough to easily bite clear to the bone without pulling away any meat outside the bite radius. If you're getting these results with that long of a cook time for pork ribs, you should check your pit temps. If you go too low and slow, you may get your diners low and sick.

As for simple? Simple is best! But doing simple really well is hard. More often than not, complicated rubs and sauces are little more than a distraction for the cooks inability to do the simple things correctly or to use quality ingredients. If I do a BJ's cryopack brisket, I use a rub. If I splurge and get an angus brisket? Salt and pepper! I still want to try a Wagu brisket, but can't find a local butcher that can provide one at even close to a reasonable price.
#24 pastafarian, May 30, 2012
They were large and beef ribs. I smoked them right at 200F degrees. They were done but as you advocated... not falling off of the bone. I was very pleased with the ribs but not that fond of the rub I used. I will turn up the heat a bit next time and cut down a bit on my cook time. It was my first attempt and I left the grill on max smoke which kept the grill at it's lowest temp setting.

Do you have a recipe for cooking fresh asparagus spears?
#25 olbriar, May 31, 2012
I was able to come up with a post cooked and cooked again pic. :p
#1534 Unforgiven, Mar 18, 2018