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Stachel
08-07-2006, 02:27 AM
Recently purchased my first charcoal grill. My dad always used charcoal so I got that instead of gas. For the most part, have really enjoyed this summer adventure. Have read several threads here and tried some of the recipes; all turned out great! (rib-eye) Have some questions below for your BBQ mavens.

Made the most delicious rib-eyes ever, excellent corn. Very good BBQ's chicken. Fish has been good. Pork loin did not turn out well. Burnt some broccoli. I have grilled mostly attempting via indirect heat, using different woods to see if I can tell the difference.

Found this forum by searching for bbq recipes. Will post an intro in Cattle Call. This post is more of a background w/ questions...

First impressions:
1) My Dad made this all look so easy while growing up!

2) Temperature control is hard! Makes me appreciate the simplicity of my stove & oven.

3) Safety -- I must locate my BBQ grill on a wooden deck. Seeing sparks flying onto my wooden deck is VERY scary. Have purchased the charcoal grill mat / spark shields, but it doesn't cover enough. I keep a gallon of water and a fire extinguisher handy, and am going to rig hose water to that area. (am going to install the "Outdoor Sink with Hose Reel" from Target.com)

Also, last night a charcoal dropped onto the deck while transferring from chimney to side openings, and it nearly landed on my toe! (I was wearing sandals) It made me FREEZE in mid-breath!

4) I need better fire control skills. Am going to read all the threads here on that. Many thanks for maintaining the Roadmap thread. I read today till my eyes were dry.

5) I have several dead temp probes. Amazing they are so unreliable! Found the thread on that here very informative.

I would not recommend the grill I bought, the Napoleon Apollo charcoal grill: http://www.napoleongrills.com/Webshare/Gourmet-grills/apollo.htm
It has 2 big flaws:

1) The base of the built-in chimney starter is not stable. It easily gets knocked off center, and falls down to the very bottom which jams the ash-removal tray. I keep a disassembled wire coat-hanger ready to retrieve it. I tried calling Apollo with questions, but I never seemed to talk with someone who was very knowledgeable on the grill.

2) The ash-removal tray is too small. So when you have more ash than the size of the height of the trey, and you pull out the ash tray, all the ash goes to the very bottom, and cleanup then becomes time-consuming. Then, some will gets wedged in the bottom and the tray won't close all the way. I have dedicated a pair of angled tongs to reaching in and removing ash from the bottom, and my tray still won't close.
It has one great feature: The lid system! I really love how the lid is a fast and easy swivel backwards.

Am thinking about getting the Weber Performer. I have read many of the very helpful Badger (John) person's posts about his Performer. Questions about that model.
- Will that auto-start work with lump charcoal too? Documentation always refers to briquettes.
- Can the auto-start be used after cooking has already started to start new charcoal?

Was also looking at one that could be front-loading, like the CharBroil 940x Charcoal Grill. Though... I imagine the thermal profile of the grill during cooking is also affected by opening the front door. However, how do you load a front-loading BBQ grill from a chimney starter?

Thanks for providing such a great resource!

Stachel

Arlin_MacRae
08-07-2006, 10:01 AM
Welcome aboard, Stachel. I'm glad you're off and running and haven't burned anything you shouldn't have!! :biggrin:

Safety is a good thing. Even though it's hot outside, I wear regular shoes to keep from burning my tootsies. The thought of hot coals, meat, water on my feet just doesn't sound good.

Fire control is going to be your first real hurdle, no matter which pit you use. Try to find a unit with adjustable intake and exhaust - you'll have a LOT more control.

Keep readin' and ask questions when you can't successfully search for the answer.

Arlin

bbqjoe
08-07-2006, 11:13 AM
And don't burn your deck down!!!

jgh1204
08-07-2006, 05:23 PM
I am going to guess you overcooked the pork loin. 150 or so and you are good. Some like it a little warmer and some less(Dr BBQ).

BTW, do you take over any sweet jumps.....(sorry, could not resist).

Brauma
08-07-2006, 07:01 PM
Gosh Stachel I wish you had checked with us first. A Weber Kettle is the Cat's Ass of charcoal grills. Ive got an old Sliver. The kettle design cant be beat. Simple/convection mod.

Stachel
08-07-2006, 08:05 PM
I wish you had checked with us first. Me too!

A Weber Kettle is the Cat's Ass of charcoal grills. Ive got an old Sliver. I *almost* got a Weber, but I didn't like that the lid did not swivel off.

Stachel

Bigmista
08-07-2006, 08:52 PM
Welcome Stachel! You are already learning that fire control is part of the art. Learn to manage a fire and it won't matter what grill or smoker you have. You'll be able to cook on almost anything.

Stick with it. We are here tohelp!

MilitantSquatter
08-07-2006, 10:12 PM
I *almost* got a Weber, but I didn't like that the lid did not swivel off.

Stachel

FYI... Weber sells a lid holder accessory that attaches to the kettle to accomplish that. I don't have it though so can't comment on how good it is but have to imagine its fairly simple and works fine.

Stick with what you have for now and keep practicing !!

Maybe you can line up a lot of bricks on you wood deck. I have a wood deck too but only have the gas grill there. The pit, kettles and WSM's go on the concrete near the garage.

CarbonToe
08-09-2006, 07:01 AM
Two books to buy, first go for How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques by Steven Raichlen as it covers the basics and has some really good advice & recipes in it and once you've started to plough though that then get yourself Dr. BBQ's "Barbecue All Year Long!" Cookbook by Ray Lampe (Dr BBQ).

Sounds like you've got off to a good (but heart pumping!) start!.

BBQ is supposed to be relaxing!

....and as as for Weber products, you pay more but they last forever (not good when you're trying to find excuses to upgrade!!!) and as MSquatter says they do lid holders for the 'cheaper' grills and the top of the ranges tend to come with them.

If you're just after a charcoal BBQ see if you can lay your hands on a Weber One-Touch Platinum Kettle as it's the same as the performer but without all the Gas gubbins (therefore you should be able to pick up a second had one cheaper!). I'd also recommend you buy the bigger one of the two sizes as this gives you more room to place the coals to cook indirectly and you can invest in a Rottiserie in the future.

racer_81
08-09-2006, 08:20 AM
Also, last night a charcoal dropped onto the deck while transferring from chimney to side openings, and it nearly landed on my toe! (I was wearing sandals) It made me FREEZE in mid-breath!



At least you had shoes on.

I know a guy that was pouring his charcoal chimney contents (hot coals) in his grill and a marble sized chunk fell out onto his concrete patio.

He stepped on it. He was barefoot. It embedded in the bottom of his foot, but he quickly scraped it out with his fingers.

Nice blistering and charring, but he healed up okay eventually.

Moral - always wear shoes when bbqing/grilling, even if you are from a shoe-optional state such as Missouri.

And - even though this is not Cattle Call - welcome!

brdbbq
08-09-2006, 08:52 AM
- always wear shoes when bbqing/grilling, even if you are from a shoe-optional state such as Missouri.

Or Kentucky