Friday, July 3, 2009

Holiday Grilling: Independence Day, Canada Day, 14 Juillet, Grundlovsdag - - -

Grilling on Independence Day is a sort of American tradition: but this isn't the only country where people celebrate something special by setting meat over a fire until it's ready to eat.

While I was looking for something else, I ran into a PR Newswire article about grilling on holidays. Turns out, people like to grill on:
  • Canada Day
  • Australia Day14 Juillet
  • Grundlovsdag
  • Midsommarafton
  • Dia del Padre
  • Pfingsten
  • Summer Bank HolidayFerragosto
  • You get the idea
It may not be quite universal, but my guess is that people in many cultures like to get back to a very basic food preparation techniques: grilling. I find a lot of satisfaction in turning raw meat into something with a taste that you won't get in an oven - and the PR Newswire list suggests that quite a few other people do, too.

Meanwhile, in America, Good Advice and Fussy Cookery

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service has some good advice: and some that strikes me as verging on the fussy.

The USDA FSIS article is intended to keep people from making themselves sick. It boils down to 'keep your food clean, and heat it thoroughly.' All good advice.

As usual, in this sort of article, they say that it's important to use a meat thermometer. In the case of smoking meat, which the article discusses in some detail, that may be a good idea.

I don't use a meat thermometer, although I don't see any harm in doing so.

My guess is that not everyone likes meat the way I do: fairly well done. When "grilled" means that a piece of meat has started changing color on the outside, but is just barely not raw inside: yes, then I see the need for a thermometer.

I pay attention to food safety, though. On those rare occasions when I've grilled a steak and a test cut through the thickest part shows a touch of red inside, it either goes back on the grill or in the oven until it's done.

Complicated Recipes, Exotic Dishes, and Grilling My Way

About the most exotic foods I've grilled are shishkebabs and corn on the cob (delicious, in both cases).

The corn on the cob is simple, done my way. I grill the meat first, then as that's getting toward the end of the flipping cycles

I put corn cobs on the grill with most of the husk and in place. I've read that it's a good idea to soak the corn cobs before grilling, but ours is pretty fresh, so I don't.

Depending on how hot the grill is, I'll leave the cobs on a couple or five minutes, lift the lid and see what's happening. That's why I leave 'extra' husk on. When it's burned up to near the cob, I flip them and repeat the process.

So far, they've turned out pretty good.

But, not all people are as simple - or crude? - as I am, so I put links to some of the more likely-sounding articles, websites, and recipes in the "Background and resources" section at the end of this post.

Gluten - This I am Fussy About

I'm able to digest gluten, happily, but my oldest daughter can't. Thanks to her need for gluten-free foods, I've become more aware of that particular dietary requirement. The "Background and resources" has one or two leads that might be useful. Or, not. The "Supermarket Guru" search was surprisingly unhelpful that way.

My Plans for Independence Day

My wife may have something else in mind, but I plan to celebrate America's birthday by grilling burgers at noon. I do that most Saturdays, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it on July Fourth, too.

Background and resources:

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