· The Hot Line - Newsletter
March 2008 Skewers

 
February 2008
Welcome | Barbecue Tipster | Recipe of the Month | Meet the Experts | Gotta Have It | Ask Dr.McGrillmeup | Next Issue  The World of Barbecue | Clearance Corner | Monthly Winner | Contact Us
Welcome The skewer.  An idea no doubt as old as that of cooking over fire itself.  After all, it probably only took the first griller about 15 seconds to realize that a pointy stick was a less painful grilling experience than the “fingertip method”.  And, through the subsequent years, we humans have clung like barnacles to the original pointy stick invention.  I’d love to tell you there have been huge technological advances in the field but, hey, if it’s perfect, why mess with it?  However, as they say, people aren’t becoming more intelligent – cultures are becoming more intelligent.  And the culture of barbecue has learned a few things about skewers along the way...  
  For starters – wood burns.  Yep, like clockwork.  You put wooden skewers in a fire and it’s just a matter of time before they disappear on you.  So, if you want them to stay useful for as long as possible, soak your wooden skewers in water before you put them on the barbecue.  Also, cover as much of the surface of the wooden skewer with your food.  The only part that burns quickly is the exposed wood.  If you are using bamboo skewers, try to keep the tips of the skewers hanging slightly over the edge of your grill so that they don’t get as much heat and burn.  Obviously this won’t work if you’re planning on closing the lid of your barbecue.  Some folks put a thin, folded piece of tinfoil on top of your cooking grills under the tips of the skewers.  This also keeps some of the heat from rising up and quickly burning the ends of the skewers.
  Consider using all-metal skewers.  They don’t burn and allow you to shut the lid of your barbecue whenever you want.  Another benefit is that the metal skewers conduct additional heat into your food and help cook from the inside out.  Metal skewers are available in steel, stainless steel and cast iron in a variety of styles.
      While the single point skewer is a mainstay, the ‘dual point’ is often more effective.  The two prongs through the food help keep a solid grip on your food.  This is particularly handy when you’re grilling slippery food such as pineapple chunks or tomato wedges.  
 

Barbecue Tipster 
  Lots of recipes call for grilled, sweet onions.  Grilling the onions brings out the natural sugars and, with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, is a scrumptious addition to almost any grilled meal.  The challenge is to grill the onions without them falling through your cooking grills.  You can do this with a grill topper, a cast iron griddle OR for something more dramatic you can make onion lollipops.  Just skewer your onions before you grill them and put them right on your grill.  Voila, no more onion attrition!  
And another tip:  keep your eyes peeled on your mailboxes at the end of the month.  Our yearly catalogue will be delivered and it’s full of useful barbecue tips and recipes.

Recipe of the Month Chicken Yakitori This recipe is drop-dead easy and incredibly tasty.  Everyone loves the taste and serving it right on the skewers is always a hit – especially with the kids.
Assemble your ingredients
Place about two pounds of chicken thighs in re-sealable freezer bag.
Add ½ cup dry sherry – or sake if you have some.
Add ½ cup soya sauce.
Add two tablespoons onion (technically this should probably be chives but I didn’t have any – all apologies to any Yakitori purists currently reading this).
Add two teaspoons sugar.
Add one tablespoon fresh, diced ginger. Let the chicken marinate in the bag for at least an hour – no more than three hours.  Unlike many other marinades this one doesn’t require an overnight bath for the flavours to set.
Thread the chicken onto your skewers using the chicken to cover and shield as much of the wood as possible.
With the help of your assistant, place the skewers onto your hot grill.  Turn frequently and cook until the chicken is cooked through – about ten minutes in total.  
Enjoy some tasty Yakitori.  The marinade ingredients do a terrific job of both tenderizing and giving the chicken a salty tang that you will love.
Pineapple Spears in Coconut Marinade Full disclosure on this one:  grilled pineapple is delicious, cooking pineapple on skewers is fun and the coconut marinade was super tasty BUT marinating the pineapple overnight was a waste of time. The pineapple just didn’t absorb enough of the marinade’s flavour to make it worthwhile.  Save yourself a bit of time and use the coconut mixture as a finishing/basting sauce only.
  Combine one can of coconut milk, ½ cup of sugar, a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of vanilla and heat through until all the ingredients blend together.  Do NOT bring to a boil.  Reserve half of this mixture for basting sauce during grilling.
  Cut one whole pineapple into spears and let them marinate in half of the coconut milk mixture in the fridge overnight.
  Thread the pineapple onto your skewers.
  Grill your pineapple until slightly soft.  If you’re using wooden skewers try to keep the exposed wood out of the direct heat.  Turn the pineapple frequently and baste liberally with the coconut mixture.
  Serve the skewers with ice cream and some more of the coconut mixture.
 

Meet the Experts
Meet Tim Kaczmarczyk.  He’s worked in our Burlington store for five years and is a terrific addition to our organization.  When asked why he originally applied to work at the store Tim says, “I’m still asking that myself.”  Funny guy.  Another way you can tell he’s got a sense of humour?:  He’s a Leafs fan.
    Tim grew up in Hamilton.  His dad Steve also works at our Burlington location.  Tim’s favourite thing to cook on the barbecue is steak (we should quit asking that question – I think everyone’s favourite food on the barbecue is steak.  We should lead with:  “What’s your second favourite food to barbecue?”)  However, Tim prefers pork on his skewers.  He’s not big on ‘wet’ barbecue sauces and prefers spices and rubs – very modern.  Like many of us here, Tim has more than one barbecue.  He’s currently using an old Broilmaster and a newer Weber.

Gotta Have It
Check out this crazy skewer!  Impractical yes but imagine the look on your guest’s face when you plop one of these things full of meat on their plate!

Ask Dr.McGrillmeup  
  Question: Dear Dr. Mcgrillemup, I love shish-kabobs and cook them regularly.  However, it sort of grosses me out when guests eat their food right off the stick like some kind of meat-sicle.  Am I being too uptight? Signed, Ami Skewed  
  Answer: Dear Ami, No, you are not being too uptight.  Besides being a bit tough to watch, eating straight off the skewers can be a piercing hazard.  And nobody wants to drive to the hospital to have a skewer taken out of their cheek.  The polite way to eat skewers is to hold the skewer at an angle to your plate and slide the food onto your plate before you start eating.  This doesn’t mean that it’s impolite to serve the skewers when they’re ‘complete’ – that’s fine. Regards, Doctor McGrillemup
 

Next Issue
Next month it will officially be barbecue season and we look forward to grilling every single meal outside (here’s to barbecued oatmeal!)  Next month’s topic will be “marinating”.  This growing trend is a low-fat, high-taste way to add flavour and intensity to all kinds of grilled foods.  See you then.

The World of Barbecue
As winter’s grip on our collective ‘nads' loosens, many of us start thinking about cooking outside.  Not so fir our friend Jodi from Hamilton; she never quits cooking out there.  Her and her friends make a point of getting outside and cooking chilli during the winter.  And, what’s more, they stay outside to eat too.  Now that’s the spirit!  Testify Jodi.  Tell the world.

 

 

 
And we’ve also got some nice pictures from the fireplace side of the business.  Mike and Wendy from Burlington renovated their basement and we were lucky enough to get involved with the installation of a Valor gas fireplace.  Mike and Wendy are justifiably proud of how it turned out.  Another thing they’re justifiably proud of is being the owners of Canada’s last operational rotary phone.  Think Mike and Wendy are worried about having a cold basement now?  Nope.

  

Remember every barbecue picture we receive here at the Hot Line is worth a $20 gift certificate for use in any of our stores.  That has to rank as the easiest $20 you’ll ever see.

Clearance Corner A little chilly in your house?  Got an extra corner?  If so, this is your lucky day.  In our Burlington and Calgary stores we’ve got the Vermont Castings “Brookhaven” on super-duper, good-guy sale.  An efficient natural gas fireplace with loads of personality, generous heating capacity and unique style. We bought a few too many of these units.  They’ve always looked great on our showroom floors but they didn’t sell as well as we thought the would and now we need the floorspace to display more barbecues. The Brookhaven has been listed at just over $4,000 depending on the colours you chose.  Now, we’re pricing them at $1,999.99.  This is a truly unbeatable price for this style of gas fireplace.  Bear in mind that these are being sold on a first-come, first-served, floor-model basis.  So hurry in if you’re interested. See this link for more details: http://www.vermontcastings.com/content/products/productdetails.cfm?id=374

brookhaven


Monthy Winner
Congratulations to this month's winners:   Kyla Webber (Calgary South) Kent Hopkins (Calgary North) Marlyne Van Exan (Burlington) Angela Wallis (Oakville)   Each month names are randomly drawn. This month's winners will receive a skewer and marinade prize package  valued at $50.92. Claim your prize by stopping by the Barbecues Galore in your area with your photo identification.  

Contact Us We want to hear from you.  If you have any questions or concerns,  please contact us at: query@barbecuesgalore.ca Remember, an archive of our past newsletters can be found at www.barbecuesgalore.ca

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