Not to start a controversy...but I just gotta "pick a nit" here. I have always disliked the terms "Barbecueing" and "Grilling". You see, here in North Carolina we have raised the art of cooking "cue" to a very high level. All my life "Barbecue" has been something we EAT
not something we do. It is a noun...not a verb. The term "barbecueing" came from the earliest attempts to mass market outdoor cookers and was, in fact, stolen from Eastern NC where they have long owned "Barbecue cookers". This name was misappropriated by marketers on the west coast to sell the first charcoal grills. If you talk to a real old time pit master here in Eastern NC you will find that they "Cook" Barbecue or they "Make" Barbecue or they "Smoke" Barbecue...but they NEVER
barbecue. In fact, as with Raine (a pit master in his own right) they don't even refer to their cooking devices as 'barbecues" or "grills". They simply call them "cookers".
The problem with referring to these processes by these names is that it is intimidating for less experienced cooks. As a cookbook author (shameless self-promotion
) I have spent the last 2 years in book signings, cooking demonstrations and teaching various and sundry classes on cooking. One of my most popular (to date) has been the class on Outdoor cooking that I did as part of a charity benefit this spring. Over 60 people signed up a we spent the better part of a Saturday cooking and eating some really great outdoor food. The best compliment I recieved was from a 68 year old woman who had never used any sort of "grill" in her life because she was afraid she would "mess somethin' up". She told me that I removed her fear by calling the cooking processes Broiling (what "grilling" actually is) and Roasting or Baking (What "barbecueing" actually is). I cannot take credit for my attitude towards terminology...it comes from none other than James Beard who believed in simplifying the processes in cooking as much as possible to make it more accessible to non-experienced cooks. He never titled any of his three books on Outdoor Cooking "Barbecue This" or "Grilling That". They were titled "Cook It Outdoors", "The Complete Book of Outdoor Cookery" and "James Beards Treasury of Outdoor Cooking"
I won't bother to explain as everyone on this board is an experienced cook but if you are ever trying to explain outdoor cookery to a neophyte, just tell them that a "Grill" is nothing more than an outdoor oven and can be used for everything an indoor oven can. Even baking breads and desserts!
Direct heat grilling is broiling and indirect heat grilling is roasting or baking.
As for the controversy of charcoal versus gas, thanks to the good people at Char-Broil, we became a 2 grill family this year. I have always preferred cooking over charcoal and my wife loves a gas grill. She and I agree that charcoal gives a better flavor but it is
hard to beat that gas grill for convenience. If you are going to use charcoal, lump charcoal is the only way to go (other than wood which most mass marketed chacoal grills are unable to handle as hardwood fires just get too hot). Why? My future son-in-law is a chemistry nerd with 3 majors at NC State (go Wolfpack). He already has a degree in Chemistry and is nearing completion of 2 other majors; Molecular Biochemistry and Chemical Engineering. He tested the most popular brand of Charcoal briquettes in response to a discussion he and I had about the merits of lump charcoal over briquettes. The list of chemical additives in the briquettes was daunting to say the least. I couldn't even pronounce half of the chemicals. He has switched to lump. He says it is "safer".
The other thing I would recommend is NEVER
use Lighter fluid or that quick start charcoal with the lighter fluid already in it. Petroleum is simply NOT
a valid flavor component.
I am sorry for the nitpicking...but I do tend to get passionate about certain things.