May jump-starts the outdoor cooking season as National Barbecue Month. Of course, most outdoor cooking takes place over Memorial Day weekend with Memorial Day itself sharing holiday duties with National Hamburger-Cheeseburger Day and National Barbecue Day.
First and foremost, be safe. Basic safety tips include making sure you are not wearing any clothing that has hanging shirt tails or sleeves, apron frills or strings when you barbecue. Don't leave the grill unattended and always have a fire extinguisher or hose nearby. Don't let any other activities take place near the grill (such as kids playing). Also remember food safety - make sure foods are properly handled from start to finish (this includes thawing, marinating, and cooking to proper doneness).
What is the difference between barbecuing and grilling? Many people use the terms interchangeably, but technically they are two different things. Grilling is cooking the food directly over a high heat source. Barbecuing is all about slow, indirect, low-heat which gives food that characteristic smoky flavor.
You can further enhance your food by using marinades, rubs, basting sauces and mops. Avoid high salt or high sugar recipes or mixes. Too much salt can leach out moisture from the meat and sugar can burn too quickly. Also make sure not to over-marinate as the texture of the meat can be compromised.
Barbecue is the proper spelling of the word, but you will also see it spelled barbeque, and abbreviated as BBQ, Bar-B-Q or Bar-B-Que.
Carol Schimmer is a registered dietitian and clinical nutrition manager with Providence Medical Center.
Pork Chops in Ginger Marinade
4 boneless pork loin chops, 1 1/2-inch-thick
2 cups dry white wine
1/2 cup sliced green onions
4 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon dry ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Combine all ingredients in a ziplock bag; seal bag and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours. Remove pork from marinade and discard marinade. Grill chops, over indirect heat in covered grill, or pan fry for 12 to 15 minutes, turning once.