Secrets on the Grill

bbq, grills, grilled, smoker, marinade, chicken salad, pork recipes, grilling, barbeque, barbecue, barbecue sauce, steak recipes, charcoal grill, grill parts, charcoal grilling, outdoor stove, superkalan, charcoal fuel, briquettes, briquetting, charcoal briquettes, pork chop recipes, char grill, tilapia, grilled fish, outdoor grill, grilling tools, hibachi grill, charcoal smokers, how to grill, green fuel, homemade briquettes, briquetting machines, biomass fuel, briquette fuel, outdoor cooker

Sunday, March 23, 2008

An Easy Way to Grill Tilapia Fish

Many Pinoys love to grill fish and typically, it’s the Tilapia that’s the fish of choice. Why? It’s cheap, readily available and relatively easier to grill. Sometimes though, the grilling goes to the worst like when the fish skin and flesh sticks to the grill grate and practically ruins the fish into an unrecognizable mess. Not only is the unfortunate fish torn and ruptured, it’s now as dry as a toasted piece of cardboard. And the taste is now similar to it too.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Making a No-Cost Chimney Extension Filter

When the grill (superkalan) was still new, we didn’t clean or inspect it regularly. Hey, it always worked well and it was new! So imagine one day when the smoke coming out of the chimney extension didn’t look right. By this, I mean the smoke just sort of lingered and drooped downwards rather than the usual rapid upward billowing. There was also more smoke than usual seeping out from the plates and the fuel feeder. In other words, there was too much smoke but not enough fire.

Somehow I suspected that hot air just wasn’t pulling the smoke out of the chimney as easily and as quickly. We were just starting to cook for the grill and concluded there must be something blocking inside the chimney. With potholders and gloves in hand, I carefully detached the chimney extension from the chimney. Yup, there was so much soot clinging inside the walls of the chimney. Lo and behold, a leaf was resting inside the chimney all blackened and thick with soot. The inside was 80% blocked. No wonder there was smoke everywhere. There was nowhere else for the smoke to go.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What to do with Leftover Charcoal

In a previous article, I wrote that the third and best reason to store away leftover charcoal was to use it as a fire enabler. The process below essentially describes how the chimney firestarter works although in this case, the grill body itself works as the chimney.

Here are the steps to start the fire with the leftover charcoal. Since I don’t buy charcoal, the “charcoal” I say here refer to the pieces of charred firewood leftover from the last grilling or cooking.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Picking the Right Dried Leaves for Firestarters

So you need to build a robust file quickly and start cooking in a few minutes. What, no dried leaves for starting the fire?

But that’s one important component for building quick, no-cost fires. Wait, just how dry is “dry”? If you think any fallen leaveswould foot the bill, well, the answer is “no”. What you need are leaves that would pass what I call the “crush test”.

To do this:

Saturday, March 15, 2008

3 Reasons for Storing Away Leftover Charcoal

In a previous article, removing the leftover charred fuel (now charcoal) from the grill was one way to stop the fire. Actually, you could’ve just left the remaining embers in the fuel bed and forgotten about it. In a safe location, the remaining fuel would just be consumed. It’s the lazy man’s way of slowly putting out the fire.

But wait, it’s not only lazy, it’s wasteful as well! No sense leaving the coals to just burn, coz, this is low-cost grilling, remember? So here are the top 3 reasons for storing away your leftover charcoal:

  1. First, storing them in a loosely covered tin can assures the safe containment of the fire.
  2. Secondly, these leftovers can be reused as fuel in your next cooking or grilling session.
  3. Thirdly, and probably the best reason for storing, is to use these as effective fire enablers for the next grilling.

Charcoal, with enough heat catches fire far more easily than firewood. And so, with glowing live coals, there’s less probability for the fire to just die out. And if it does, well, you still have your trusty fan, don’t you?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ending the Fire Safely and Efficiently

Imagine you’ve done all your cooking and grilling and now’s the time to wrap it up. Then you discover you have so much more fuel still in the grill. What do you do to put out the fire? Douse water on the still burning embers? No. no. no. The best cost-effective way is to save the burning coals. Here’s what you can do:

  1. With a pair of tongs, get the bigger chunks that you can easily pick up. Be careful here. You don’t want to drop the hot coals on your feet or on anything that may burn.
  2. Put the big chunks inside an open tin can. A tin can with a lid for powdered infant milk is good.
  3. Close the tin can with its lid CAREFULLY. You could use the pair of tongs for this.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ways to End a Fire

An analogy of the Fire Triangle is a Fire Tripod where all 3 legs are needed for the fire to “stand”. The way to end the fire is by removing one of the legs.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Easy Way to Start a Fire

Before, I’ve always been amazed at how some folks, typically those from the countryside, seemingly build fires effortlessly. It’s as if they do it all by instinct! Well, I suppose some parts of the process is learned through experience like knowing exactly when the fire “catches on” or when more elbow grease is needed for fanning; or when it’s timeto safely add more wood without killing the fire.

The trick is to have abundant firestarters like dried leaves to really heat up and start the burning process for the main fuel like firewood. You simply cannot make firewood burn with just a match – unless of course you douse the firewood with gasoline or kerosene beforehand. But this is low-cost grilling, right? So, nopes, there’s no need for those petroleum products. This is what you do:

  1. Strip several pieces of paper and slightly crumple them. These crumpled pieces will form the first layer.
  2. Position dried leaves in a stack or pile so there’s plenty of air below. Don’t jam all leaves otherwise the fire suffocates due to lack of air.
  3. Position a few dried twigs or small branches on top of the heap.
  4. With a safety match, light a small piece of paper around 6 inches long and light the bottom layer made of crumpled paper.

  5. Fan the fire to create flames that engulf the dried leaves. A big blaze should ensue and this will burn the dried twigs or small branches.
  6. If the fire starts to die down, add more dried leaves and resume fanning.
  7. As the leaves and twigs get consumed by the fire, the heap collapses with its weight. The key here is to ensure that the branches don’t fall all over the place.

An enclosed space (like the superkalan’s body) to contain the heap makes this easier. This is basically what a chimney firestarter does. Starting a fire with the above materials is fast and easy. You only need to get it going and then keep it going.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Finding a Place for the Superkalan Outdoor Stove

Well, we knew that a wood stove (or a “multi-fuel” stove, for that matter) would still have some smoke somehow. So putting it indoors was out of the question. The nearest location we had for it was at the garage near our laundry area where the washing machine was. Immediately, the disadvantage of having it in a COVERED garage is when residue or creosote forms on the walls and the ceiling. It’s the yellow-brownish shiny residue that more likely will worsen the more we use the stove.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Rising Cost of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)

What is LPG? Well, simply put, it is Liquefied Petroleum Gas. The gas is encased in a metal cylinder or bottle. Here’s a picture of what it looks like.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Parts of the Superkalan Outdoor Stove

Thanx to the Superkalan website, I was able to get an exploded diagram of the Superkalan stove. I edited the labels of the stove parts to make them clearer and more readable. The unit as shown in the diagram comes with a pair of tongs also. This tool is very useful for moving coals around and picking up any hot items.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Superkalan: Is this a Grill or a Heater?

Two years ago, the DH and I chanced upon an odd-looking gizmo that was on sale at Festival Mall in Alabang. You see, occasionally, the Exhibit Center would showcase products from different areas or provinces in the Philippines. And on that particular day in January, 2005, it was La Union’s time to shine. There were plenty of the usual: woodcrafts, tupig, woven blankets, etc. etc. Well, somewhere in the middle of the Exhibit Center a few people were milling 'round a stall that had this gizmo.