Chilling N’ Grilling

Summer is generally the season for grilling in the minds of most people. For another good many of us, grilling happens year ’round.  Whichever group you belong to, it’s time to get off the lighter fluid!

First of all, some basics. There’s a big difference between a ‘cookout’ and a ‘BBQ.’ A cookout is literal, you are cooking outside. Simple. If you are barbequing, you are slow cooking over a wood fire. Same thing you say? Not at all! Firing up the gas grill is fine, go for it, but there’s nothing like the flavour of meat or veggies off the BBQ grill.

If you’ve shelled out for or grown your own organic veggies and want to throw them on the grill, you don’t want coals tainted with poison cooking them! Same goes for natural chicken or farm-raised lamb! Don’t lose all the flavour on the home stretch! Chill out, and make the grilling itself more natural.

You’ll need three things to get your non-toxic BBQ going:

  1. A grill
  2. Wood lump charcoal
  3. A chimney to get the fire started

To start your fire, use the chimney, which is as easy as:

  1. Rolling up some newspaper
  2. Stuffing the bottom of the chimney with it, then flipping it over
  3. Filling the chimney with charcoal and lighting the paper (inside the grill)
  4. Go prep your grill items, maybe pop a beer, let the fire … um … be fire
  5. When the chimney is crackling, dump the fire into the grill
  6. Your fire is happening!
  7. Consult your manual or web recipes for the type of fire you’d like.

Most of us have experienced a cookout where a friend fired up the grill the old fashioned way (whoosh!!), and literally almost smoked everybody out of the small courtyard! People coughing their lungs out and scampering away from the area. While a person’s grill is their own business—but incidents like these are a perfect example of chemical nastiness where a non-desirable kind of fire can not only absolutely ruin the meticulously marinated flavours of your favourite meats, it can also give asthma to all your friends and family members.

Yes we’ve all torched our share of burgers and hotdogs over a way-too-hot grill that was smouldering with lighter fluid. Chalk it up to youth (and too many beers to care?). But now we’re more, um … mature? Is that it? Let’s hope so.

People (OK, guys mostly) tend to hang out around the fire; it always happens. It becomes the place to be. So take your time, build a nice one, have a beer, and enjoy a nice BBQ. Fluid or the gas grill may be quicker, but what’s the rush? Take it slow. Chill, meet, grill!

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