Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Remember those grilling posts I said you'll be seeing...

A third and perhaps final attempt at grilled guacamole
You may recall my enthusiastic announcement last August about adding a grilling dimension to this blog. And yes, a couple posts on grilling followed.  But since then, it's been rather quiet on the grilling front. No doubt, you've been spending sleepless nights, tossing and turning in bed wondering what happened. Well, let me try to ease your mind: This grilling thing, like most everything else, is a little more complicated than it initially looks.

Take for example, my attempt at grilled guacamole. The idea is pretty simple. Instead of chopping and mashing fresh vegetables, I put some grill char on them and caramelized the onions a bit, to give the guacamole some extra depth and smokiness. My first attempt at this was pretty promising, but needed some refinement. However, a couple subsequent efforts foisted on my friends on college football weekends were steps backwards. At least my friends were polite enough to say "Well, it's good". There's also the small matter of the darkening char on the vegetables giving the final product the look of....well, guacamole barf.

I smoked some salmon on the grill for dinner a week ago and it tasted awesome. I'd love to show you pictures, but problem is, all you'd see is a night time photo of a faint pink monolith perched on the grill, looming in the darkness. As the days get shorter, I'm finding myself doing more and more grilling at night, and my camera either doesn't have a flash, or I haven't figured out how to activate it. There wasn't much to the smoked salmon, I just sprinkled salt and pepper on top and used apple wood, then spent the evening playing around with the heat controls all night controls until I got it done. A post that goes like "I didn't do a lot to prepare it, I don't remember exactly how I made it, and I can't even show it to you, but that smoked salmon really tasted awesome" is rather pointless.

And then there's something else I learned about gas grills: They're not as predictable as you might think. When the propane tank is full, the heat level is noticeably lower, too low to get good grill marks on the food. When roughly half the tank is full, there's plenty of good heat which I can control using the grill knobs. When the tank is nearly empty, the heat level starts to decline again. None of this is rather surprising, but of course, it's something I need to get a better handle on with more experience. It's led to a couple grilling efforts being moved to the stove top in order to get dinner on the table before everyone starved.

It has been said "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly".  So I'll be keeping at it. The good news for you is that I won't bore you with my grilling failures. Unless they're funny, like creating "guacamole barf".  I'll deal with the failures, you'll just read the good stuff.

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