JEFF TIEDEMAN: Grill matesMarinades, rubs, sauces bring out the best in meats, fish.
Grilling season is just around the corner.
And according to a new poll conducted by the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, six out of 10 Americans say they can’t wait to fire up the grill and kick off National Barbecue Month. (In fact, nearly 90 percent said they plan to enjoy grilled food in their own backyard during the warmer months.)
The poll also said that when it comes to enjoying a meal from the grill, 65 percent of Americans like to “dress it up” with a sauce, marinade or seasoning.
That goes along with one of my main objectives this summer — to expand the use of marinades and tenderizing techniques when I use my gas grill and smoker.
Marinades came to mind several times recently — after reading a recipe in a food magazine for an Indian-style grilled chicken, looking over a press release from McCormick, the spice folks, and another successful attempt at smoking salmon.
I know a smoker isn’t a grill, but there are some cooking techniques that are shared by both, including brining. (Actually, brine is a type of marinade, a saline solution in which food is soaked before being smoked or grilled.)
Before placing some salmon in my smoker a week or so ago (supplemented with apple chips), I marinated it in a brine of sea salt and teriyaki and hoisin sauces for four hours. And after about three hours in the smoker, the salmon practically melted in my mouth.
When I asked co-worker Eric Hylden about using marinades, he said that his brother-in-law, a commercial fisherman in Alaska, has been brining fish and meats for a half dozen years or so and thinks it may be a way for people to cut down on their use of salt.
While my experience with rubs (both dry and wet), mops, glazes, etc., is almost nil, I’ve made my share of marinades and barbecue sauces. In fact, sauces and marinades was the one of the topics of a community education cooking class for men that I taught this past winter in East Grand Forks.
I think the students liked that particular session the most, since they were able to sample grilled beef and pheasant that had been marinated in a mixture of honey, teriyaki sauce and orange juice along with some garlic, onion and rosemary, as well as trying shredded cooked chicken and pheasant in homemade barbecue sauce. (See recipes for both at www.grandforksherald.com/ event/ tag/group/ Life/tag/food/.)
Some of what I’ve learned about marinades and the like has come from experimentation and also cookbooks such as Stephen Raichlen’s “The Barbecue Bible,” which contains more than 500 mouth-watering recipes along with tips and techniques for grilling.
Some other cookbooks I’ve contemplated buying that might be helpful in my pursuit this summer include:
n Bobby Flay’s “Grill It!”
n Tracy Cumbay and Tom Schneider’s “BBQ Sauces, Rubs & Marinades For Dummies.”
n Alex Skaria’s “The Asian Barbecue Book: From Teriyaki to Tandoori.”
n Chris Lilly’s “Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book.”
One more thing:
Before you pick up the phone or send off an e-mail to let me know you’ve already started grilling this spring or that it’s a year-round activity for you, let me say I’m a fair-weather griller.
Heck, I thought that’s why they created accessories such as the Foreman Grill.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at email@example.com.