Monday, April 12, 2004

On a lighter note...
It occurs to me, as I update our "menu" on the left sidebar, that I risk bringing on the whole BBQ'ed vs grilled debate that defines me as being from someplace north of the Mason-Dixon line. Actually a long way west as well. Where I grew up, (obviously the best place to grow up since that's where I did it) in sunny So. California, anything that was cooked outside was referred to as "Barbeque." I had no idea this was in any way controversial until I dated, for short time, a No. Carolina guy who felt it was his sacred duty to correct me of this error. You see, where he was from, only if it was smoked over a wood pit and served out of a truck in a gravel parking lot, could you call it BBQ. Everything else was "grilled." This is different than the fully legitimate criticism I share of many so called "Barbeque" restaurants that serve boiled food covered in BBQ sauce and call it Barbeque. That's not BBQ, that's stew. But even if I flame broiled the chicken on the Weber, adding a nice coating of BBQ sauce at the end, if I called that barbecued chicken I was up for an argument. You ask about what kind of sauce qualifies as BBQ sauce? Vinegar, tomato, sugar, chiles, all controversial subjects. Don't even go there.
Now according to one legitimate looking source on the net, barbcue'n.com, "Grilling is quite a bit different from barbecuing. During the grilling process you are cooking at high temperatures, often in excess of 700 degrees, directly over the heat. In barbecuing, the heat is not directly affecting the meat. The heat is raising the temperature in the cooking chamber where the meat resides. Proper barbecuing temperatures are 210 degrees to 225 degrees. This is the optimum temperature for prolonged barbecuing. It also produces the most tender meat due to the slow cooking resulting from indirect heat." On the other hand, the Barbeque! Bible seems to have no qualms about including a preponderance of recipes for foods cooked at some sort of higher heat on a metal grill, exactly what I did with the pork tenderloin. But then of course the book reviews pick him to pieces on this point.

I'm one of those people who wants to do the right thing, especially where people have a lot invested in something that doesn't hurt me much to adapt around. But on this one, I think I'll probably always call it barbecuing when we throw hamburgers on the grill, and worse yet, my son (who at age 9 already has a (genetic? learned? instinctive?) sense of ownership about the Weber, right down to polishing the outside cover after every use with no hints whatsoever from me about men and their grills) will probably grow up saying the same thing. I think it's no big deal to use grill and BBQ interchangeably. So roast me. I'm feeling stubborn.

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