When we were doing our due diligence for opening GrillBillies Barbecue Supply, we reviewed most of the gas grills on the market which proved to be a confusing task. If it is confusing to us avid grillers, it must be that much more confusing to the homeowner. Below are some basics to consider when purchasing your next gas grill.
A quality gas valve is one that will work properly on any setting and especially on low eliminating “flame out”.
By the same token, when turned on high it should get blistering hot.
Manufacturers of lower quality grills will usually “skimp” on these.
Unfortunately, price dictates the longevity of the cookbox.
The cookbox is usually the first thing to go on less expensive grills.
Now, you may think you got “ripped off” when you bought your last grill but in most cases you pay for what you get.
Better quality cookboxes are made of cast aluminum, stainless steel or heavy duty porcelain coated steel.
A better quality cookbox can extend the life of a grill 5 to 10 years.
Some are warrantied for the life of the grill.
Another thing to look for is a deep cookbox.
It helps to eliminate flare ups and makes for better heat retention.
Less expensive grills usually have thinned walled burners that are subject to corroding quickly.
Also, they may burn unevenly lacking uniform heat distribution in the cookbox.
Better burners are made of stainless steel, cast stainless, thick steel or cast iron.
Side ports on the burners avoid fat and juices from clogging them.
Plates covering the burners play an important part in creating better results by capturing more of the juices rather than having most fall to the bottom of the grill and requiring more frequent cleaning.
Capturing most of the juices on the plates/bars creates vaporization of the juices and adds flavor back to the meat.
Usually a good quality 4 burner gas grill will be $450 and up.
From there price is determined by the size of the grill, accessories, how “flashy” it is etc.
Manufacturer warranties are an indication that the product has been built to last and last as long or longer than stated.
Look for warranties that apply to the burners, cookbox, gas valves and pedestal/stand.
Less expensive grills will not come with any meaningful warranty.
Select a knowledgeable dealer.
One that just doesn’t sell grills but also cooks on the grills he sells.
The better the dealer knows his product the better he can fulfill your needs.
“The best relationships are those that are based on trust and integrity”
“Courtesy of Obie-Cue BBQ Seasonings”
Obie-Cue Ham Recipe Halts Ho-Hum Ham!
Note: This recipe uses a smoker for cooking. If cooking on a gas grill click here.
Most of today’s hams are sold cured, smoked and (if you’re not too picky) ready to eat, but geeze! they are so BORING. Transforming ho-hum ham into a real treat is easy.
Ingredients: Cured shank ham (the plain-old standard ham), Apple Juice, OBIE-CUE’S BBQ BOMBER
Time: Initial overnight marination, 2 hours of spiced marination, 2½-3½ hours cook time, 30 min resting
Most conventional (cheap) hams are massively brined, because the meat market loves to sell you salt water at meat prices. The label on the ham I’m using states that “23% of the weight is added ingredients”, which is nearly 3 lbs. in a 12 lb. ham. The meat is completely saturated and doesn’t have room for more flavor or anything else.
Let’s begin by splitting the ham and stripping out the excess brine, then we’ll infuse wonderful flavor deeply into your ham.
Splitting the ham is the most difficult part of this recipe, but all it takes is a sharp, thin-bladed knife and patience. Hams are roughly oval in cross section and like our legs, the bone isn’t centered, but off toward the skinny end of the oval, meaning there’s a lot more meat on one side than the other. The shank is the knee joint, and again like your own leg, has one big bone on top and two on the bottom.
Pointing At Second Bone Extending The Cut On The Meaty Side
Look at the one bone side and probe with your knife to locate the bone. Start your cut at the bone on the skinny end and follow the bone all the way down and then back in to the center, roughly splitting the ham into halves. Skip over the two-bones and extend your cut all the way to the edge of the meaty end then back up to the single bone.
Deepening The Cut To The Bone Turning The Knife To Cut Around the Bone
Then, stick your thumbs in the cut to hold the split open and start cutting up and down the bone following it around until that whole side is freed. Repeat the procedure to completely bone your ham.
Completely Boned Ham-Two Halves Plus The Knee Joint
Removing the skin and most of the surface fat is optional, but I like to do it to improve the smoke penetration.
Drop the halves into gallon Zip-lock bags and add several cups of apple juice to both. Burp the bag to remove all the air you can, and refrigerate overnight, or at least 6 hrs. Turn the bags once or twice, when you think of it. Most of the unneeded salt will gradually move into the apple juice.
Bagged, Juiced & Well “Burped” Ready For Overnight In The Fridge
The next day, dump the apple juice, and rinse the ham. After draining for 20 minutes, thoroughly coat all sides with BBQ BOMBER. Cover, and let your ham rest for a couple of hours as it absorbs the BBQ BOMBER.
After Two Hours The BBQ Bomber Has Melted & Been Absorbed By The Ham
Build a medium charcoal fire and when it’s well-lit surround it with unlit charcoal (lump has no binders or additives to give an “off” flavor as it lights) which will gradually ignite to give long-lasting heat, and add plenty of smokewood chunks. Add more wood as needed to keep the smoke plentiful. I will use a Big Green Egg with a baffle (the plate) between the meat and the fire. If you don’t have a baffle or waterpan between the meat and the fire, you will need to rotate the ham every 30 minutes or so to keep from scorching it. Just leave the top vent open a fat crack, and close the bottom about ¾. Bring your temperature to 220-250 with lots of smoke. When your temperature is stabilized and the pit is thoroughly heated, start the two pieces with their cut sides getting maximum exposure to the smoke and cook for one hour, until they show some color from the smoke. After 60 minutes, reassemble the two halves and tie them tightly.
Hold At 240 Degrees
Reassembled & Tied To Put Layer Of Flavor In Middle Of the Meat
This is your payoff for all the work splitting the ham, because you just put a layer of smoke and spice right in the middle of the ham. Since the brine’s been stripped out, the meat has plenty of room to absorb all that delicious flavor and as your ham finishes cooking the smoke and spice flavor will infuse all through it. Continue cooking for another hour or two until a meat thermometer in center of the biggest chunk hits 145-150. (Remember, it’s already “fully cooked”) Pull your ham and quickly wrap it in foil.
Getting Close To Wrap Wrapping At 145 Degrees
Resting Under Three Layers Of Towels Finished & Ready
Let it stand at least 30 minutes to equalize temperature throughout. I like to let my ham rest in a pre-warmed ice chest so it stays nice and hot. Slice and serve, and enjoy smoky flavor in every bite!
YUM! It’s Completely Boneless For Easy Slicing
“We are not actually grilling the pizza, we are using the grill as an oven”
Brought to the US by Italian immigrants in the late 1800’s, pizza has become one of the most widely eaten foods in the country. Over the years pizzerias have popped up all over the place making pizzas in every shape, way and form.
With the advent of pre made foods, making your own pizza from scratch has become increasingly popular. Being able to buy quality pre-made dough at your local supermarket has made the process easy and fun to the extent that the whole family can get involved.
With that being said, knowing a few techniques will make the process less frustrating.
We ran into hurdles in our first attempts such as just rolling out the dough, thin centers, dough “spring back”, under cooked areas and more. With a little research, and some trial and error, we have gotten the process down pretty “pat”.
OK, here are some basics:
Buy decent dough. This may require trying a few and evaluating.
ALLOW THE DOUGH TO REST. This makes forming the dough a lot easier.
Use a pizza stone. A stone will distribute heat evening over the bottom of the pizza.
Give your grill time to completely heat up (lid, sides, all its components etc.). You need radiant heat to properly cook the top.
Don’t over heat the grill. Too hot you burn the bottom and under bake the top.
Flour and flour. Flour any area the dough will touch to keep the dough from sticking.
Place flour on the peel before putting the formed pizza on it.
Minimize “liquidity” toppings. It will make the top soggy.
This should go without saying, cook raw meats before topping.
Open a bottle of red wine, turn on some opera and get to work.
1 Ball of Dough
2 cups Flour
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
Topping of Choice
Gently remove the dough from the wrapping. The less unnecessary handling the better.
Lightly flour the surface where you plan on working the dough.
Place the dough on the floured surface and gently form the dough into a ball and place a bowl over it. Allow to rest for about 1 hour.
After one hour, push your index finger into the center of the dough and if the indentation remains it is ready to kneat.
Start spreading the dough from the center first just to start flattening.
Move to the edges and start to spread.
Move back to the center and again start to spread to the center.
Caution: don’t over spread the center or it will become thin.
As the dough starts to flatten, pick it up off the surface and hold by the edge and work the edges turn the dough in doing so.
Place the dough back on the surface and keep moving from edges to center until you have spread the dough to size.
Apply your toppings.
Coat the edge of the pizza with the vegetable oil.
Slide the peal under the pizza.
With the grill heated up to 450 to 500 (including the pizza stone).
When you hit your target temp, wait about 5 minutes before putting the pizza on the grill to allow the grill interior to heat up completely.
Place the pizza on the stone sliding off the peal and close the lid.
Chicken Leg Recipe
Purchase Springer Mountain Farms or Smart Chicken legs.
Pull the skin back on the legs.
Remove the silver skin on each side of the leg.
Under one of the silver skin there will be a membrane.
The leg will have a natural “bulge” to it.
Trim the bulge off so the leg is symmetrical.
Take a half aluminum pan.
Place one stick of butter and cup of chicken broth in the pan.
Place the legs in the pan.
Once the grill or smoker is up temp (300 degrees) place the pan on the grill (use indirect cooking method).
Do not cover the pan.
When the legs reach an internal temp of 190 degrees or above remove the pan from the grill.
Have a warm bowl of Holy Smoke sauce ready.
Dip the legs into the sauce and place back in the pan (pour off juice and wipe pan out first).
Put the legs back on the grill for 5 minutes to set the sauce.
Yes, we just received a trailer load of smokers and grills with more on the way. We have backyard to catering and competition smokers in stock. Meadow Creek’s new BX 100 is a sight to be seen. We thought we were done with the BX 50 but we pushed the limit on this one. It is a monster.
Want the ultimate “stick burner”, then the TS 120 is something you should take a look at. Plenty of capacity with stainless steel side shelves, warmer, wood basket, charcoal slideout basket and spare tire. It’s reverse flow feature will turn out great briskets, butts, ribs, pork and pigs.
Need a small backyard smoker we have plenty to choose from in addition to our Primo line of Ceramic (kamado) Grills.
Stop by and take a look at these “gems”.
This is an easy recipe to cook either on a gas grill or in a smoker. You need to purchase good quality center cut pork or rib cut chops 1″ or greater in thickness. Avoid blade cut or sirloin cut. You will utilize the reverse sear technique which is to cook the inside first and then sear the exterior.
Thick Cut Center Cut Pork or Rib Cut Chops
Approximate cooking time: 45 minutes
(Note-When brining cut back the amount of salted seasonings)
Apply the seasonings in the order listed above except hold off applying the Pineapple Head and the sauce. When applying the seasonings think in parts therefore apply a 1/2 part of the Double Garlic Pepper. The others one part each.
Wrap the chops up and place in the fridge for 2 hours (if you brined, go directly to the grill).
Bring you cooker up to 300 degrees.
Remove the chops from the wrapper on place on the grill using the methods of reverse searing.
Bring the internal temperature of the chops to about 130 degrees.
Apply a medium coat of Pineapple Head to each side of the chop.
Sear the chops until the internal temperature is 145 degrees (flip often to avoid burning).
Remove the chops from the hot side of the grill and apply Blues Hog sauce.
Put the chops on the warm side of the grill and let sit for 7-10 minutes to set the sauce.
Take off the grill and serve immediately.
We are honored to be written up in Patio and Hearth Products Magazine. Prior to opening our store in Raleigh this magazine was a valuable resource for helping to evaluate and determine which gas grill would be a fit for our store.
Click on the link below to view the article on GrillBillies.
When we think barbecue the beverage of choice that usually comes to mind is beer. An old saying at GrillBillies is that “one of the B’s in BBQ” must stand for beer. Yes, that beverage we can always find a reason to consume while sitting next to our smoker or grill. It’s natural and it’s American!! So why are we talking about wine?
Well, with the surge in popularization of barbecue the “wineos” have entered the arena. Like craft beer showing up at a barbecue so is the same with wine. The art of turning out great “Q” is no longer left to the beer drinking “die-hards” that built their own smokers and brave the elements whether it be sub zero or scorching hot. The enthusiasm for great barbecue is covered by all walks of life and therefore many enjoy a good bottle of wine with their barbecue.
Selecting the right wine can be as important as selecting the right sauce or seasoning to complement your “Q” of the day. Whether you are grilling or smoking pork, chicken, brisket or fish no one single wine is a “go to” that will do the job best. There are many factors that will effect the best selection beside just the meat. Are the seasoning or sauce spicy, sweet, tart? Are we cooking in blazing heat or like we are at the North Pole? Oh, and the palettes of the guest but we can’t deal with that because there will always be a difference of opinion and we know what opinions are like! We will stick with the basic rules, but with that being said rules are meant to broken, so drink what you like.
Here is cryptic look at the GrillBillies selections that we feel works best with various types of barbecue and conditions (Oh, we practice what we preach).
Chardonnay*, Chenin Blac, White Burgundy
Cabernet, Malbec, Zinfandel, Barolo, Meritage, Amarone*, Ripasso*
Bordeaux, Cabernet*, Barolo*, Amarone, Ripasso
Chardonnay, White Burgundy, Merlot, Pinot Noir*, Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Rose
White Burgundy*, Chardonnay
Riesling, Pinot Gris, Vouvray*, Prosecco, Cava
Spicy Seasonings or Sauces-
Zinfadel*, Syrah, Malbec
Grilled Vegetables, Shrimp, Shell Fish-
Sauvignon Blanc (Fume Blanc)
Summer Heat (all purpose)-
Cool Dry Rose
Winter Cold ( all purpose)-
Cabernet, Zinfandel, Malbec——Shine????
If possible, place the roaster in an area where it is somewhat protected from the wind. Also away from anything flammable.
Coat the cooking grate with spray cooking oil.
Remove the cooking grate from the roaster and place the pig on it.
Optional-inject the butts and hams with a mixture of apple juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic salt or as we do, Pro grade Butcher Pork Injection.
Lightly rub the skin of the pig with vegetable oil.
Wrap tinfoil on the feet, snout and ears.
Remove the roaster drip pan.
Fill pig roaster with 3/4 lb. of charcoal per lb. of pig spread evenly across the length of the roaster.
If you have a gas roaster preheat to 300 degrees.
If you have a gas roaster with a charcoal insert, place about 8# of charcoal in each trough, light and you can add a couple of small chunks of wood for smoke.
Bring the roaster up to 300 degrees.
Light each end of the laid out coals (do not light everything).
If you have a few pieces of wood (6”x6”) put them just in front of the lit coals.
Replace the drip pan and close the lid.
Fully open the top and side vents.
Allow approximately 45-60 mins. for the roaster temp. to reach 300.
Ideally when the roaster reaches 300 place the pig and cooking grate on the roaster.
Your temperature is going to drop because of putting on the cold pig.
Don’t worry. Once the pig starts to warm up your temp. will come back up.
Maintain about 300 degrees on the gauge or less. Exceeding 300 runs the risk of a dark pig.
Maintaining temp. will be accomplished by either slightly closing the vents to lower temps and opening to raise temps.
Once adjusted it should stay at 300.
Optional-2 hrs. into the cook take steel or wooden rod about 4’ long and push it through one of the bottom vents on each side of the roaster 2 times. This helps to knock down some of the ash on the coals. Do this periodically.
When the meat temp. reaches at least 185+ (higher like 190+ is OK) by using an instant read thermometer ( not dial ones-they can be off 25 degrees) your ready to remove the pig. Test the temp. both in the hams and butts. If the temps vary bring the lowest temp up to 185+ and don’t worry about the high temp.
You need at least two people to remove the pig.
Place a table close to the roaster. On it have large pieces of tin foil draped over the table so you can envelope it over the pig to keep it hot. Ideally it is best just to leave the pig on the cooking grate. Moving large pig is risky, but if you have to take it off the grate:use a pizza piel, slide it carefully under the trunk of the pig to loosen it from the grate. Check that the feet are not stuck.
Carefully lifting the head and the butt and also trying to support the trunk move the pig onto the other surface.
You can also leave the pig on the grate for serving.
Double wrap the pig with heavy duty tinfoil.
Cover the pig with a blanket.
Allow to rest at least 1 hr. or so.
The pig will stay hot for at least 3 hrs. and warm for several.
Garnish with greens and cut up fruit of varying colors.
Rule of thumb:
1 hr. of cooking time for every 10 lbs. of pig.
Add another 1.5 to 2.0 hrs.to the cook time in case the cook is taking longer and also to give the meat time to rest.
Plan 3/4lb. of charcoal for every LB. of pig. Again on larger pigs you may need less per lb.
Lard Have Mercy
There are many factors that go into purchasing a gas grill. We will highlight the most important ones. The size of the grill will be something you’ll have to determine by family size, average number of guests, and the most common meats you cook. The quality of the following components will determine the price of the grill you purchase and the years of useful life.
Firebox: This is the section where your burners are located. This is usually the area that fails first on cheap grills. Since it can’t be repaired, it forces the owner to buy a new grill. Below are three common types of firebox.
Porcelain Coated Firebox- This box is constructed of steel and covered with a durable porcelain coating. It is found on grills in the price range from $300 to $700. This construction is adequate; however, over time, due to cleaning and moving the cooking grates around the coating can chip and expose the steel underneath. Grease and moisture will attack the exposed areas and corrosion will occur. The thicker the underlying steel is, the longer it will take the corrosion to eat through the firebox. Porcelain coated fireboxes may hold up for several years; however, they typically will not last as long as stainless steel fireboxes or cast aluminum fireboxes.
Stainless Steel Firebox- These fireboxes are extremely durable and resistant to the chemical attack of grease and moisture. These are found on mid to high range grills and will give years of service.
Cast Aluminum Firebox- The characteristics of this box are similar to stainless steel. Cast aluminum and stainless steel fireboxes will last about the same amount of time and both will typically outlast a porcelain coated firebox.
Burners: Burners come in all configurations and types of construction, but when it comes to picking a good reliable burner, stainless steel is a safe bet. It is more resist to corrosion as would be a steel or cast iron burner. Our commercial grade grills, such as the BBQ 60G, come with burners that are made of steel pipe, but they are thick walled.
Gas Valves: It is hard to evaluate gas valves, but more expensive grills usually have better ones. What is important with the gas valve is its ability to stay lit at very low temperature, avoiding “flame out”, along with ability to produce extremely high heat and everything in between. Less expensive models usually have problems meeting this criteria. At our store, we demonstrate the quality of the gas valve in our Broil King line of grills to all our customers.