Ten Tips to Make Your July 4th Cookout Sizzle from Smoke In Da Eye Competition BBQ Team

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As millions of American's prepare to fire up their grills for the upcoming Fourth of July Weekend, Smoke In Da Eye (http://www.smokeindaeye.com) award winning competition barbecue and grilling team offers 10 tips for taking your cookout to a new level.

SmokeInDaEye Competition BBQ

"Summer cookouts don't have to feature tasteless burgers and charred hot dogs. Our goal is to bring bigger, badder, bolder barbecue to your backyard," stated SmokeInDaEye.com pitmaster Clint Cantwell.

As millions of American's prepare to fire up their grills for the upcoming Fourth of July Weekend, Smoke In Da Eye (http://www.smokeindaeye.com) award winning competition barbecue and grilling team offers 10 tips for taking your cookout to a new level.

1)     Light my fire. While countless individuals will fire up their charcoal grills this holiday weekend with a heavy dose of lighter fluid, an inexpensive charcoal chimney and a crumpled sheet of newspaper provides a much more effective starter and your food won't smell like a burning car engine.

2)     Tool time. One of the most effective and multipurpose tools one can have when grilling is a set of long handled tongs. In addition to allowing you to flip those steaks and burgers while remaining safely away from the flames, they're also useful as a grate cleaner (grasp a ball of tinfoil in the tongs and scrub the grates clean) or to oil the grill (grasp a ball of paper towels dipped in vegetable oil and wipe away).

3)     Be one with the grill. The more you use it, the more comfortable you'll be trying items other than hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. By knowing its hot spots, how temperatures react when you open and close the lid, and other nuances, you'll be cooking up grilled pizzas and rack of lamb in no time.

4)     It's the bomb. When cooking on a gas grill, bring depth of flavor by wrapping a handful of wood chips (available at most hardware stores and major grocery chains) in a double layer of foil, poking a few holes in the foil, and placing the packet under the grates. The chips will slowly smolder, releasing flavorful smoke from this inexpensive "smoke bomb" while ensuring a quick cleanup.

5)     Flipping out. While most people insist on poking, twisting and flipping grilled items every 15 seconds, resist the urge and limit turns to no more than two per side. Meat, fish or poultry that normally stick to the grates will release naturally, while the food will be able to absorb all the great color and flavor the grill has to offer.

6)     On the rise. Just because your beautiful steak or pork chops is done grilling doesn't mean it's finished cooking. Due to carryover heat, internal temperatures will increase roughly 10 more degrees after being removed from the heat, meaning a medium-rare steak should be pulled at 125-130 degrees rather than the desired 135-140 degrees.

7)     Going against the grain. Finding ways to take tougher cuts of meat over the top is central to the art of grilling and barbecue. But despite having the perfect recipe and the perfect execution, your brisket, flank steak or flat iron steak is still going to taste like a dry, chewy shoe if you don't slice it across the fibrous grains that run through the meat.

8)     The juice is loose. The cooking is complete and now it's time to eat. Or is it? By letting the meat rest 10 minutes, the internal juices have time to reabsorb rather then flow all over your cutting board. The result will be a more tender and juicy meal.

9) The doctor is in. Create your own "signature" barbecue sauce by adding layers of sweet (fruit juice, fruit preserves, honey, and/or molasses), heat (ground peppers such as chipotle or ancho), and tartness (apple cider vinegar) to your favorite store bought brand.

10) Make PETA proud. Grilling doesn't have to be an all protein affair. Impress your friends and family by poking several holes into a disposable aluminum pan and throwing in cauliflower florets, sweet potato slices, halved figs or countless other fruits and vegetables along with some olive oil and seasoning. Heat the pan over medium-high heat, tossing the contents periodically until carmelized and tender.

"Summer cookouts don't have to mean tasteless burgers and charred hot dogs. Our goal is to bring bigger, badder, bolder barbecue to your backyard," stated SmokeInDaEye.com founder Clint Cantwell.

Founded in 2006, Smoke In Da Eye (http://www.smokeindaye.com) is an award winning competition BBQ and grilling team. The team competes in various contests sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) and New England Barbecue Society (NEBS) throughout the Northeast. In addition to countless awards, the team has also been featured in a variety of media outlets and conducts barbecue and grilling demonstrations.

Most recently the team extended an offer of free barbecue for life to NBA All Star LeBron James should he opt to leave Cleveland and relocate in New York City. Day or night, LeBron can sink his teeth in to slow smoked beef brisket, mouth watering pulled pork, beef or pork ribs, smoked chicken and more. Making the pot even sweeter is the fact that Smoke In Da Eye barbecue and the team's secret competition sauce are not available through any retailers or restaurants.

The team also manages a popular outdoor cooking blog, A BBQ Nation, located at http://www.abbqnation.com.

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Clint Cantwell

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