Some of My First Grilling Tips of the Year
Friday night my youngest daughter had her first sleepover with a friend from her first grade class. When I asked my daughter what she wanted for dinner with her friend, she immediately replied, "Filet Mignon with Demi Glace Sauce!"
This is her favorite meal of all time and it would be her friend's first encounter with filet mignon. My daughter wanted to share her excitement over this meal so I went out and purchased a few steaks.
I was a little concerned because when her mother dropped off my daughters friend she said her daughter was a very picky eater and didn't like much but she did love french fries so steak frites (steak and fries) it was. I did serve a salad and creamed spinach for my wife and I but the kids would have none of it.
First Grilling - Two Mistakes
Normally I grill all winter long and I'm sure I ventured out into the cold at some point this past one but it has been a while. Friday night was a gorgeous night to grill. Clear skies, warm weather and a glass of wine in hand but I made two big mistakes which I will share with you now.
First Mistake -- Not Cleaning Out the Ashes
First mistake this first night of grilling was not cleaning the ashes from the bottom of the kettle before starting. Normally I give both my gas grill and charcoal grill a good cleaning at the end of the fall season but I didn't clean the charcoal grill this time.
Normally it doesn't matter that much but because the ashes got damp and wet over the winter they formed a solid mess at the bottom of the kettle. This mess covered up a couple of the air vents at the bottom and made it difficult to get enough air flow necessary to get the fire hot.
I should have realized this as soon as I noticed how long it was taking to get the coals hot. I ended up doing a lot of huffing and puffing to get the coals hot enough to grill the steaks. And speaking of coals, this leads me to my second mistake. Not enough coals.
Second Mistake - Not enough charcoal
I don't know what I was thinking but I skimped on charcoal when I initially made the fire and ended up having to add more before I could even start grilling. This slowed down the whole process and the kids were getting antsy for dinner.
I like using 100% lump hardwood charcoal. It costs a little more than the more common charcoal briquettes you find everywhere but the hard wood charcoal burns hotter, cleaner and with no chemicals.
So all I can say is, "Don't skimp on a couple of dollars worth of charcoal and chance ruining $30 plus dollars worth of meat."
I grilled the steaks like usual but served up the small pieces that cooked faster to the girls and let the bigger cuts cook a little longer. If you want to see my grilling tips, you can find them at HERE.