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       Volume I - May 23, 2008

Did Someone Say BARBECUE?
by Patty Liston

Oh boy—warm weather and outdoor cooking! Can anything be better? We found this helpful information from Chef2Chef and thought it worth passing on:

How to Pick Your Steak:

Leaner cuts (less marbling) have more flavor but tend to be a bit tougher if cooked past medium. The sirloin, New York, round and flank fall into this category.

The most marbled cut is the rib-eye. Often called a cowboy steak. It is cut from the same piece of meat as the prime rib. It has flavor and tenderness but has more fat in it. It remains a good steak even cooked well done.

The most tender but not necessarily the most flavorful steak is the tenderloin. It is a muscle that is hardly used by the animal, so it eats very soft. It has little marbling but remains tender because of the fine muscle texture. A prized piece of meat and the most expensive cut of beef. Best if ordered up to medium but remains tender, although slightly dry if ordered well done.

In a nutshell: most flavor: Sirloin and New York; most tender: Rib-Eye and Tenderloin.

Checking for Doneness Using the Touch Method:

For rare, let your left hand hang loose in front of you. Poke your right index finger into the fleshy part of your left hand between your index finger and thumb. It will offer very little resistance and is soft and pliable. This is how a steak cooked rare will feel to the touch.

For medium rare, extend the same left hand but this time spread out your fingers and poke the same spot with your right index finger. You'll see that it is firmer and a little springy to the touch. This is how a steak cooked medium rare will feel.

For medium, make a fist with your left hand and poke again. It should feel firm and only give a little. This is how the medium steak will feel. For those how like their meat well done, guess how that feels? Very firm!

Tips for Grilling Fish:

I hesitate to recommend cooking times for fish or any other product on a grill. The reason for this is that every grill cooks differently, so my time on my Weber gas grill will be different than your charcoal grill or Hibachi.

But I'm going to give you a guideline anyway, because overcooked fish and seafood is basically "cat food" in my opinion! So here goes! These guidelines are based on direct heat cooking over a medium hot grill. See, confusing already!

Small whole fish will need about 7 minutes on each side. A little longer if stuffed.

Large whole fish will need about 15 minutes per side, again longer if it is very large or stuffed.

Fillets (like salmon) will need about 6-8 minutes per side. Trout fillets may only need 4 minutes per side.

Steaks (like halibut or salmon) usually need about 5 minutes per side.

Kabobs are usually cut into chunks a little over an inch thick and will need about 12 minutes turning often.

Cook fish on an oiled grill skin side down for the first part of the cooking time. The skin protects the fish from burning and drying out. It also can provide natural oils to your grill, so when you flip the fish it doesn't stick.

Remember Please: These are just guidelines to use in planning your meal. Every grill is different and will produce different results. Oh yeah! Remember to always cook fish and seafood like shrimp on a cleanly scraped grill that has been brushed with a little oil or fat. Do not "dry weld" your fish to a filthy grill!

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