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Fuel:
Whether youíre grilling with natural gas, propane, charcoal or real hardwood, there are pros and cons to each. Gas & propane are quick and easy. They are a great heat source if you just want to throw a couple of burgers on the grill, but they donít add any flavour to your food. Charcoal and real hardwood takes longer, but adds a great smoky flavour. Theyíre convenient and easy, but those self-lighting briquettes are loaded with petroleum, not something you really want to flavour your food. The best fuel for charcoal grills is natural hardwood charcoal. It lights fairly quickly and imparts a wonderful flavour to all your food

Mounding the coals works almost as well as a chimneyWarm up:
No matter what you decide for fuel, one thing that is common to them all is allowing the grill to heat up.
For gas barbecues: Give yourself plenty of preheating time so the grill is really hot when you start cooking. Turn up all the burners to high when lit to get everything nice and hot, keeping the lid closed of course. When the food actually goes on the grill, itís now time to lower the heat as needed
For  charcoal grills:
The best way to start your coals is with a chimney starter. With crumpled newspaper in the bottom and the charcoal on the top, no lighter fluid is needed. Just light the newspaper on fire and time will take care of the coals (about 30 minutes). Be careful loading the barbecue with these hot coals, the handle will be hot. Without a chimney, just mound the coals in the middle of the barbecue, and with the vents wide open on the bottom, squirt some barbecue starter on the charcoal and light to get going. Don't put the lid on, lots of air is needed.

Your fire:

Low and slow with indirect heat for ribsA bbq mit is ideal when moving the coalsA two temperature cooking area is ideal for most circumstances. This will allow you to move the food to the cooler section if itís cooking too fast, and move the slow cooking things over to the hotter section. When wanting direct heat, bank the coals to one side of the grill. This will give you a hot area, and the cooler area is around the coals and towards the other side.

Temperature:
An important ingredient to a fire is air. The more air the fire gets the hotter it is. Therefore if you want a hotter fire, open the vents below wider to allow more air in; and to cool the fire, close them more. You can completely extinguish the fire by cutting off the air all together. Closing both the top and bottom vents will put out the fire and you'll have charcoal left for the next bbq.


How to use your barbecue as an oven:
A drip tray, an oven thermomter, and you're ready to use your bbq like an oven. Click for recipeLarge roasts and whole chicken require an indirect heat. To set your barbeque up for this, remove the grate and set the coals up to either side of the grill. Place a disposable aluminum roasting pan in the middle. This will catch any juices that fall and can be used for gravy if desired. Return the grate to the barbecue and place the roast in the middle, above the drip tray. Itís a good idea to monitor the temperature for something like a roast. Place an oven thermometer that has been lightly covered with dish soap, at the centre, where the meat is.
For a gas grill, have the heat (set to medium-low) coming from one side and the food on the other. If you have 3 burners, turn the middle one off and have the heat coming from both ends

For less sticking:
Starting with a clean grill always helps. Fire up the coals and place the grills over top. When the grills are hot, now is the time to clean them. Use a stiff wire brush to remove any softened leftovers.
Next, fold a paper towel into a little square, grasp it with some long handled tongs and dip it into some cooking oil. Quickly wipe the grill to clean it and oil it at the same time. Return the cover to the barbecue to let the grills heat up again. Repeat the oiling just before the food goes on if you plan on cooking something that sticks, like fish.

Flare-ups:
You can reduce flare-ups by letting excess marinades drip off before putting the food on the grill. This is especially true with marinades that use sugar, oil or butter. When flare-ups do happen, move the food to a cooler spot. Having a squirt bottle with water in it is also a good idea to help with flare-ups.

Smoky flavour:Notice the vents going over the food, not the coalsAdding wood chips
Even with natural charcoal, you may still want more smoky flavour. Soak some wood chips in water for 1 hour before using. These may be hickory, mesquite, apple or any other desired flavour. When the food goes on, throw some of these chips directly on the coals. Youíre neighbours will be jealous of the smell!
For a gas grill, smoke flavour can be added too. Simply use the same soaked wood chips and wrap in heavy-duty aluminum foil to create a small pouch. Poke holes in both sides of the pouch. With the grills on high for warming, and just before it is hot enough to grill, toss the pouch below the grate. When you start to see smoke, its now time for the food to go on
The vents to the lid should always be placed on the opposite side of the wood chips, directly over the food .

Click for our bbq sauce recipeBarbecue sauce:
Always brush the sauces on near the end of cooking. The sugars in the sauce will burn if put on too soon.
 

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