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Outdoor Grills: Revive the Renaissance

outdoor-grills-revive-the-renaissance-reston-vaIn the 1500s everyone cooked over an open flame or hot coals and as a result the cooks of the day were experts at grilling large cuts of meat.  During the Renaissance only the affluent had kitchens; the common folk either ate porridge from a big pot on the hearth, or purchased their evening meal from a vendor who had a kitchen.  Workers would drop off the fixin’s for their meal on the way to work in the morning and pick it up fully cooked in the evening.  Some towns had community ovens where housewives could go to bake their breads or roast meats.

Today, not only do we all have kitchens, but some of us even have elaborate outdoor kitchens, and almost everyone has a gas or charcoal grill where they fix barbecued ribs, chicken breasts, hot dogs, hamburgers, and steaks.  But, if you haven’t tried grilling big cuts of meat outside, you’re missing out on a savory treat.  Grilling turkey breasts, whole chickens, pork tenderloin, or beef roasts is easy and cooking on outdoor grills adds a layer of smoky flavor you can’t get with a conventional oven.  Take a moment to check out the handsome Weber and Fire Magic gas grills in the Lawn & Leisure photo gallery.

When using a gas grill for roasting you need at least two burners.  Light one burner and place your foil-wrapped or uncovered meat over the unlit burner.  If your grill has three burners, leave the center burner unlit and place your roast above it.  Turn the heat down low and close the lid.  After 10 minutes check the temperature and continue checking and adjusting until the thermometer consistently reads 350 degrees. 

If your grill doesn't have a built in thermometer, you can place an oven thermometer inside the grill or use a wood stove thermometer that magnetically attaches to the outside of the grill lid.  If using a magnetic thermometer, it should read approximately 300 degrees.  Use a digital thermometer to check for doneness.  Most meats are done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees according to the USDA safe minimum cooking temperatures.  

Allow 20 to 30 minutes per pound for roasting unless you’re grilling a tougher cut of meat.  Wrap tough cuts in foil to keep them from drying out and roast for 2.5 to 3 hours.  For that delicious grilled crispness, remove the meat from its foil wrapping 15 minutes before the time is up, and place the meat over the lit burner to crisp lightly before serving.

The following is an authentic Renaissance recipe:

Roasted Beef

4 – 6 lbs. boneless beef roast (most tender cut)

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp. dried leaf basil

1/4 tsp. rosemary, crumbled

1/4 tsp. dried leaf thyme

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. salt

Rub roast all over with olive oil.  Combine garlic, spices, salt & pepper, and roll oiled roast in the spice mixture.  Place the roast directly on the grill rack, or use foil or a shallow pan, if you prefer.  Sprinkle with remaining spice mixture.  Roast uncovered for 45 to 60 minutes, depending on desired doneness.  Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

If using fresh herbs, remember that they’re much more potent than the dried variety, so go easy with them.  For turkey breasts or whole chickens, you might add paprika, thyme, and oregano to your spice mix.  

If using a charcoal grill to roast meat, add another layer of deliciousness to your entrée by adding hickory chips or wood chips soaked in whisky or other marinades (try garlic teriyaki sauce), to your charcoal.  Keep the coals to one side of the grill and place your meat on the side without coals.  As with the gas grill, you need a lid and a way to monitor your temperature.

Let Lawn and Leisure make your grilling experience a historical one with a new, assembled Fire Magic or Weber gas grill.  Please contact us us for all your grilling accessories and outdoor furniture needs.

Written by : Jane Rother

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