BY RICHARD MOOREY
IT’S definitely that time of year again. It’s that time of year where you get outside as much as you possibly can in anticipation of the fact that winter officially starts ten days from tomorrow. All kidding aside though our summer season all in all is relatively short so it’s no big surprise that so many of us really do spend as much time outside as we can.
For me it’s not only an increase in day to day activities spent in the great outdoors but a transfer of many of my cooking duties to one of my favourite places in the world . . . . in front of the grill. Having a good barbecue that is versatile does make things far easier and more enjoyable. Having a charcoal burner on one side and propane on the other with a smoker attachment and a side gas element really offers some serious versatility when it comes to outdoor cooking.
The charcoal side with the smoker attachment is definitely for the barbecue purist in me. Lump hardwood charcoal and wood chips in the smoker deliver the options for high heat grilling or low and slow big smoke flavours. This is where it’s at when you are looking at doing some low and slow old school barbecue roasting or some intense high heat grilling.
The propane side certainly has its advantages too. Propane offers much more readily available temperature control. With a quick turn of the knob you can increase or decrease the fire when you are working with ingredients that require a little more control.
Propane is also easier and less time consuming to get rolling when you might be a little pressed for time. The gas side also makes for a great finishing space/warmer when you’re ready to drop the heat a little and finish that roasted item or just to keep your side dishes warm.
Finally having that side burner is definitely another convenience item. So many items can be done straight on the fire and most come out so much more delicious when they are fire licked and wrapped in a blanket of smoke but there are times when a gas element is something that you just don’t want to be without.
A good pasta for instance is a little easier to make on a side element while you’re grilling that beautiful chicken to go with your side element side dish.
If you don’t have all the options don’t feel like it’s a limitation, you can still do amazing things on the barbecue. If you have solely gas or charcoal or even have a few extra options like an infrared burner, a spit or even if you are really equipped and have a built in fryer or wood fire oven, outdoor cooking can deliver just about any meal you can think of and even some dishes that you may have never thought possible!
Your barbecue can not only make great poultry, pork, beef and fish but it also makes amazing breads, pizza, baking and more! So get your adventure on this barbecue season and try some dishes that push your barbecue offerings to new heights and take a few more dinners out of the oven and into the fire.
Chef House Cast Iron Skillet Barbecue Brownies
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Cocoa
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1pinch of salt
Preheat one side of barbecue on high heat until barbecue is 350°F
Line a 12 inch cast iron skillet with cut out parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
Stir butter with sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Add eggs; beat well with a spoon. Stir flour with cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add egg mixture, beating until well blended. Spread batter evenly in prepared skillet.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the cast iron skillet on cold side of barbecue with lid closed or until brownies begin to pull away from pan. Remove skillet and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Richard Moorey (aka Chef House) can be reached with email to firstname.lastname@example.org, through his website at www.evot.ca, or on his Facebook group Evolution of Tastitude. You can follow him on Twitter @House_74.