Sunday, August 24, 2008

Vote John McCain or Barack Obama for Your Barbecue Tailgate Chef

Who would fit in better at our tailgate party - McCain or Obama?

Weber, the grill folks, sent me an email about their latest survey. They do some pretty fun ones. This time Weber asked tailgaters to vote between McCain and Obama as Tailgate Chef for the updating tailgating season. Yes! It is that time again. Labor Day marks the offical start of tailgate season.

While many of those polled were undecided (or perhaps simply confused), it does appear that McCain has the edge on Obama at 32% to 28% as top pick for barbecue chef. That leaves 21% undecided and 14% picking another candidate. Let's all hope the other candidate is Grill Girl.

In looking at the demographics, Obama takes the lead with younger barbecue contest voters. I guess they'd rather hang out with someone who could still throw a football, although perhaps McCain can as well. I have not had the opportunity to play with either - sadly.

Men think McCain would be the better pick while women are undecided (splitting about even). Women are probably trying to decide which one would pack and then clean up afterwards. I kind of bet on Obama, since he came from a single parent household.

Democrats were more likely to cross party lines, but that's true at parties as well I think. Also, Democrats tend to be pretty down to earth and may figure it would be a good strategy to keep McCain busy while everyone else enjoys the game.

The sample survey was 1002 American citizens over age 18 and conducted by Weber-Stephen Products Co. Serisouly. You can't make this stuff up (-:

If you're wondering who I'd pick to grill up the grub at the tailgate party, hum . . . tough call. I think I'd invite them both and do the grilling myself. So, if you see either of them, tell them they're invited.

Feel free to leave your vote! Barack or John? Who do think would rock your tailgate party.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back to School Cook Out

Back to School Barbecue Blow Out at the Pool (if you want to call it a pool - teehee)

Summers always go by so fast. The kids are always bummed that break is over but also excited about getting back to school and seeing old friends again.

When the boys were really little, I got a wild hair one day and thought I'd host a back to school cook out. This was the weekend before classes started back.

I told the boys to invite the other kids around the neighborhood to come over, and I ran to the store and picked up hot dogs, chips and drinks. Since this was an impromptu event, I figured I'd better keep it simple. That actually worked out better, since it was kind of a drop in thing all afternoon and evening. Some of the grown ups even joined in - parents checking up on kids and folks out walking around.

It doesn't take a lot for kids to have a grand time. We do have a basketball goal, so that's always fun for them. Some years I pick up water guns, a blow up pool, and one year I got a horseshoe set. The kids keep themselves entertained while I grill.

I've continued to keep it simple. The kids really don't care about having a fancy meal. They just like to run around and play before they have to hit the books. They do, of course, get hungry and hot dogs go a long way. I've found that it works out best to get canned sodas and put those on ice. I use paper products and plastic silverware. It's also a good idea to have trash bags handy. The kids really are good about helping clean up if you ask.

My oldest goes to college next week. The younger one only has three more years in high school. I guess we'll be hosting back to college parties - or not. We'll see. I hope they always enjoy hanging out here and grubbing on a few grilled hot dogs.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Grill Girl Falls in Love with Wowzio Widgets

Barbeque Master is Really Down to Earth . . . But Will Try New Things

If you blog (or even if you don't), you probably notice that some comments or messages are just pure junk. You can tell that the person (or maybe some kind of auto poster) left a totally unrelated note on your space.

This week Alisha left a note to check out some Wowzio widgets. She said that her message was not spam. Yeah. Right. That is a good way to get around it.

I'm Southern (as good an excuse as any), so I check out notes folks leave even if they don't sound on the level. This was a longish note though, and I thought maybe . . .

Normally I don't even like widgets or any movement on a web page. That running monkey. Oh man. That drove me nuts. When about com had the bobble line, I could not bear it. So, I was thinking that even if these were good widgets, they probably were not the kind of thing or things I'd be interested in.

I did click over to see the widgets for Barbecue Master, and WOW. I guess that's why they call the company wow-zio. I read all the pages on the site and looked at those widgets, and I decided, "Yes. I think those would be helpful to visitors."

If you're checking out my Barbecue Master blog, you can look over to the right and see some rotating photos. Those are the photos with my most current posts along with titles, so you have some idea as to what the blog post is about. If you click on a photo when it's up, then you go right to that post. Maybe you come here to read about corn, but see some burgers that catch your eye. You can easily click and find the burger post and not spend loads of time searching.

The second widget I added (they have a few) was the one that lists the locations of visitors. It's not your home address or anything - just the country and/or state. I don't suppose that's critical, but I enjoy seeing the areas of the world and country where others are visiting from. I hope other people reading Barbecue Master also find that interesting.

I hope all ya'll visiting enjoy the widgets. You have Wowzio to thank, because I'm sure it would take me a lifetime to build those. Also, if you blog, check out Wowzio. They don't charge bloggers. You just visit and see what they have to offer and then can add the widgets or not.

I think the widgets are especially nice for food bloggers, because it's nice to have some way to showcase the various foods and recipes. I might not think to go back through your blog posts, but if I saw something yummy, I'd be likely to click and see how to make a good looking dish.

Hunting for Clams in the Sound to Steam on the Grill

The Boys Dig Up Fresh Clams to Go on the Barbecue Grill for Dinner

The boys went clamming at the beach. Generally you'd use a rake and rake them up. We didn't have a clam rake. That was OK. In the shallow water, you can feel around with your feet or your hands and find the shallowly buried clams. This is rather like an Easter egg hunt. I suppose it would get old if you lived at the beach, but it's fun on vacation.

"Hey. Look. I found a big one!"

Actually the small clams are better for grilling, but it is fun to find the monster of clams. The big clams work out great for clam chowder. I made up a Southern inspired clam chowder, since the boys really are not all that keen on the flavor of clams.

If you are going to use clams in a recipe rather than steaming them open on the grill, then a good tip is to freeze them. A guy at the shrimp shop told us that and also some professional clammers who happened to stop and clam in front of the vacation rental house. Once the clams are frozen, they pop right open. Otherwise, it's hard to open clams.

As far as clams on the grill - really easy. I wrote up the directions for Grilled Clams at Yes You Can Grill. I like to do my recipes right after I've made something, so I will be sure to include the little details that might slip my mind with time. I really hate to get a recipe and have a flop, because a little step is not included.

If you do get out to the beach or in a saltwater area with shallow water, ask about clams. It really is fun to go clamming. Check on the laws for the state. In North Carolina, for example, there's a limit of 100 clams per day. Whew. That's a lot. We never came close to the limit, but it's still good to know what's OK and what's not.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Grilled Hamburger Problems and Solutions

Hanging Out in the Yard Waiting for the Perfect Hamburgers to Cook

I've had a number of friends, neighbors and online readers get in touch with problems with their grilled hamburgers.

One of the most common problems noted was that the hamburgers fall apart on the grill. Other things mentioned were barbecue burgers sticking to the grill grates, burgers puckering up like meatballs, burned burgers, undercooked burgers, and burgers lacking flavor.

Hamburgers rank right at the top of the list of things folks like to cook outside on the grill, so it's really a shame when things don't go right. No one likes to work hard on a barbecue meal and be sitting there anticipating a delicious grilled burger meal and then have a flop.

One tip I'd give is to buy a good grill. If you're using a low end grill, it's going to be hard to cook anything - including burgers. It can be done. Burgers can be done right, but it really takes some skill to work with bad grill equipment.

As far as those other little (or big) hamburger grill problems, I wrote up a trouble shooting guide for grilled burgers. I covered all the issues folks had mentioned plus some others that I thought might come up. I'll add to the guide as needed, so if you have a flop with your grilled burgers and don't find the answer in my barbecue burger guide, just let me know. I'll go in and add your problem and offer a solution.