7.07.2005

First time for everything

Squash-'n-ZucchiniIn my many years of cooking outdoors, I've never used a gas grill. I got one free from my few minutes of fame and finally got the nerve to take the helm the other night.

One of our favorite meals is a simple mix of roasted zucchini, fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced basil, lightly toasted pine nuts, cooked pasta and salt, pepper and olive oil. The residual heat of the cooked pasta gently cooks the tomatoes and the dish is best served at room temperature. And, it has hand size pieces for Frankie to grab (if you use amusing shapes of macaroni).

This time, the only difference I made to the recipe is I grilled the zucchini and summer squash. I cut them in quarters, tossed them with oil and grilled them for a while on medium on a cast iron platform. It required 60 grams of propane (in case you were interested in ridiculous details). It was fun, quick and I might even use my gas grill with some regularity. Totally inappropriate for the low 'n slow thing but quite handy for the lightning fast dinner preps.

11 comments:

drbiggles said...

Yeah yeah, we know gas grills are convenient. But what'd it taste like compared to what you do over wood?
I've had a handful of things off a gas grill, I suppose they're cooked and all. But they're missing one of the main reasons I cook outside, smoky flavors.
I'll have to eat crow though, I'm sure. I can't believe the SF Bay area will remain a place where I can cook over a wood or charcoal fire for long. No future for me.

Biggles

dave said...

Oooh, I knew you'd be around to lambaste me for this.

The only extra taste you get (vs roasting) is a bit from the char. It was for the convenience but you're right, no smoky goodness.

drbiggles said...

MmmMm, lamb baste.

Hey, sawr some cat food cans in the charcoal area of our local grocery store. It's filled with smoking chips. You pull off a sticker on the top and just set it over your burners or something on your gas grill. Surely it's for low temp cooking, even so it looks as though you may be able to get some smoky goodness with that easily.

dave said...

Sounds good but isn't that getting back to smoking with unburned wood or wood that's so fresh it brings with it creosote or other nasty volatiles?

drbiggles said...

Well, the wood needs to be seasoned. And creosote will only condense on your meat under certain instances. Such as, using the exhaust vents to regulate. Use the intake vents to regulate temperature. Don't put cold meat in the smoker, moisture will accumulate on the surface and this could lead to that bitter taste.
Keep in mind, we humans have been using wood fires to cook our food for centuries. If done properly, you'll be fine. If this was such a bad thing to do and doctors were finding large numbers of cancer and deaths due to barbecue related incidents, we'd know about it. So far, the only thing people are complaining about is the high particulate matter that burning wood creates.
You're clearly twitterpated about burning wood at all. It's up to you, but until someone can point to a study that was done by scientists or doctors, I'm smoking my food.
Here:

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/
Do a search for barbecue and click on the first link. They discuss smoking food, shortly though.

If the USDA doesn't have a problem with it, neither do I. This isn't to say the USDA is always right or the last word, but it's a good start to see if there's a smoking gun.

Biggles

drbiggles said...

Whoa !!! Hang on!

Let me back track a second here. Don't worry about the meat sweating in my previous post! That's for cold smoking meats, not at the higher temps such as 200 degrees plus.

Biggles

Dave said...

"You're clearly twitterpated about burning wood at all."

I'm not twitterpated about anything, just curious about the volatiles from wood that's not preburned (ie, lump).

And, by the way, I have found one major limitation of the gas rig. It just can't hit the low temps of my faithful weber. By barely cracking the lower vents and opening the top, I can usually achieve 225 or so while the lowest on the gas rig is about 375-400-deg-F.

dave said...

By the way: Twitterpated = "confused by affection or infatuation". I thought that was made up but I was wrong. In fact, I am confused. Nice word Dr. B. Sorry, I thought you were making up words. My apologies.

drbiggles said...

Hey man,

Heh, twitterpated. Good one huh? I am actually known for making up words as well. Keep your eyes peeled.
I've heard that about gas grills. I know some you can take down low, but as you found out, not many go.
375 to 400 is the lowest? With just one burner going? Damned. I wonder if you could yank out a burner and put in a smaller one. Otherwise, that's an awfully large veggie caramelizer. You could make corn bread in there ...

Dave said...

It's only a single burner rig. Just got an oven thermometer at lunch to give it a long term trial to check for temperature and stability thereof over time. I'll post results.

drbiggles said...

Too bad you can't break, turn off or plug up half the burner. That'd get you dialed right in. At that point, you could do VERY easy smoked brisket, shoulder and chile peppers !!! Turn it on and walk away, except for smoking chips from time to time.

Biggles