Last night The Picky Epicurean and I enjoyed some yummy chop steaks. (“Chop steak” is code for “hamburger without a bun,” to make me sound like less of a lazy cook.) The steaks came out pretty good, but I was rather off my game for the accompaniment. I ended up with partially burnt potatoes and grainy sauce, in the process rendering half a bottle of Two Buck Chuck and some otherwise-delicious caramelized onions totally worthless.
If you’ve ever tried to make pizza at home using fresh tomatoes or zucchini as a topping, you know that vegetables like this erupt liquid as they cook, which can lead to soggy pizza, loss of topping adhesion, and ultimately, antidepressant abuse. Before you let wet vegetables push you over the edge, consider this useful technique that can help you drive some of the moisture from the more water-laden staples.
This weekend the Picky Epicurean and I had fun with grilled pizza, which we documented thoroughly and about which I will produce a writeup shortly. In the meantime, here are the basics to getting your charcoal grill up and running, should you need to get paleolithic on some meat or… uh… pizza crust.
I won’t go into any philosophical exposition on the whole charcoal vs. gas debate. Each certainly has its advantages, but for general purpose outdoor cooking, I’m a big fan of the carbonaceous action, though I won’t begrudge anyone their petrochemicals.
Without further ado: How to light your charcoal grill.
Step one: Pictured here is a chimney starter. It is your friend. You want one of these. If you do not have one, and you are cooking on a charcoal grill, go to your favorite grill supply shoppe and get one. (This one cost me under $8 at the hardware store.) In addition to the chimney starter, you will need some newspaper, some vegetable oil, and a source of fire. (Yes, and a grill and some charcoal. Sheesh!)