Country Kitchen: Barbecuing Season

Country Kitchen: Barbecuing Season
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With the approach of summer, barbecuing season has begun in New England. In areas further south, we find that this is nearly a year-round activity or way of preparing meals. Some families in northern climates do cook over grills even when the temperatures are below freezing.
However, we think more of barbecue season as warm weather approaches. This method of cooking foods has been around for centuries although not with the modern grills we have today.

More than meat can be cooked on the grill, and elaborate outdoor cooking systems now are available. There are smokers and even outdoor ovens as part of a complete barbecue/cooking center.

Spanish Origins

The word “barbecue” has its origin in the Spanish word “barbacoa.” This refers to a frame made by using sticks for placing meat on to roast. Then the cook originally laid the wooden frame over a deep pit containing fire or coals.

Sometimes meat, such as a whole pig, or even an ox in early days, was roasted, or barbecued, over the open fire pit. Smaller meat, such as birds or game, would be placed on a spit and turned over the fire or coals.

Simple to Elaborate

In our early days of barbecuing, Jim and I used a charcoal grill on which we cooked various meats and vegetables. Nowadays gas grills have become popular and are much quicker to get started. Although Jim says he still likes the flavor of food better when cooked over charcoal.

These the modern barbecues range from simple gas ones with a grill over the gas flame to mini kitchens in the backyard. The latter might include a refrigerator, sink, and even a bar. There might be two grills, a warming area, and stovetop burners in the complete backyard cooking center.

Menus Vary

The barbecue menu varies and might include meat, poultry, and seafood to fruit and vegetables. Sometimes these will be alternated on a skewer. You even find in the supermarkets packages of fruits and vegetables cut just the size to be skewered and in most any variety you desire.

Some people like to keep the barbecue menu very simple, while others plan a gourmet meal. This depends on your taste and the time you have for cooking.

Even bread accompaniments can be cooked over the grill. A friend also makes delicious pizza on her barbecue.

GRILLED CHEESE BREAD – Split a loaf of French bread lengthwise. Toast it over the grill on both sides (crust and cut). Spread with ¼ cup butter mixed with 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese. Place this near the fire so the cheese will melt. Then cut into slices.

SKEWERED MEALS – These have many variations. You can mix almost any type of vegetable, meat, seafood, and fruit. It’s best to have these ingredients cut in similar sizes so they’re all finished cooking at the same time. You can marinate beforehand and brush with your favorite barbecue sauce while cooking.

*Alternate cubes of cooked pork with cooked sweet potato and pineapple. Brown and heat through over the grill.

*Wrap scallops in bacon; alternate with large mushrooms and pineapple on a skewer.

*Skewer large peeled jumbo shrimp with green and red pepper squares, and pineapple chunks.

*Use beef cut into 1 ½-inch pieces, small onions, chunks of zucchini, and cherry tomatoes.

Article (C) 2005 Mary Emma Allen

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About The Author

Mary Emma Allen researches and writes from her multi-generational NH home. Check out her new site, Tea Time Notes

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