We just had a great party for my wife's son, who graduated high school this past weekend. I was up at 4:30AM firing up my wood smoker to cook a turkey, two chickens, a huge pork butt and a nice ring baloney for snacking with spicy mustard. I'd thought I'd pass on some neat tips on cooking out.
Marinades: It's always nice to let your meats soak in marinade for overnight or at least a couple hours. There are numerous ones on the market, but, I make my own with what I have kitchen about the pantry. (Yes, we have an old fashioned pantry!) The goal is to tenderize the meat and add moistness. Start with 1/4 cup of oil. I like olive oil, but canola, corn, or most cooking oils work great too. Next cider vinegar, wine, beer, lemon juice all add to the tenderization effect. Add some salt (I use sea salt or Kosher) pepper, garlic powder or better yet, minced up fresh garlic and hot pepper. Anything on the spice shelf is good. I've been using cinnamon quite a bit for many applications. Put the meat in a freezer bag and pour in the marinade, seal, and pop in the fridge overnight. Turning it once in a while won't hurt. Take the meat out of the fridge and let set at room temp for 45 minutes before cooking.
Rubs: Dry rubs work great on many cuts of meat, esp. pork. Start with 1/4 cup pepper, 1/4 cup paprika, and 1/4 cup turbanado sugar. Add other spices; garlic, onion, ceyanne pepper, etc in smaller doses. Mix together and massage into the meat. Again, place in freezer bag and cool overnight. Repeat the massage with the remaining rub right before placing on the cooker.
Pastes: I like to make up a thick paste for turkeys, chickens, and most fowl. Garlic is my favorite! Using a mortar & pestle, crush up a bulb of garlic and slowly add olive oil to end up with a nice thick paste. Rub all over the bird and inside and under the skin without tearing it. Yum!!
Grilling tips for a covered grill: Make a fire on one side of the grill, and place the food on the other side of the grill so the fire is not in direct contact with the food. Cover the grill and leave alone. A whole chicken will cook in an hour to an hour & a half. Throw some taters next to the meat. I cut up parsnips & carrots, place in foil, add some oil and spices, wrap and place next to the rest of the food. For desert, core an apple, lay on a piece of foil, put a bit of butter in the center and brown sugar, cover with the foil and pop on the grill with everything else. There, you have an entire meal cooking with minimal turning and fussing with. Soak some wood chips in water overnight and add to your charcoal fire for a great smoky taste.