My mom has always loved to grill. I grew up saying, “Barbecue.” When I moved south of the border, I kept hearing people say they were going to “grill.” I was confused. I had to look up the difference between the two. For anyone else who cares, barbecuing is a method of cooking. Long, slow, soaking up rubs and flavors to get that tender delicious meat, that’s all barbecue. Think of ribs, pork shoulder, brisket, etc. as “barbecue.” Grilling is what most of us are used to and think of – quick and easy – hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, fish, vegetables, etc. Now I can be correct when I talk about what is happening on my grill.
I have been BEGGING my husband for a Traeger wood-burning pellet grill for months and months. I had read about them last spring and got the entire low-down at Costco from a salesman. My aunt and uncle have one and I knew they absolutely loved it. I loved the idea that you aren’t burning any harsh toxins into your food from gas or charcoal. I love grilled food. There is just something that makes me really happy about food cooked outside! Traeger grills use wood pellets to smoke/bake/grill/roast your food. It’s all natural and my oh my, is it ever delicious! Finally in February we were strolling through Costco and there they were . . . the Traegers. My husband stopped and chatted with the salesman while I held my breath. The next thing I knew there was a big box in the back of the truck and we were headed home! It was my Valentines/Anniversary/Mother’s Day/Birthday present . . . for the next three years! Because it was winter and we were in transition, I didn’t even get my grill out of the box until about a week ago. I’ve been grilling up a storm ever since. You can smoke and even bake on it. I have yet to bake any cookies, but I will be trying it soon since it heats up my house like crazy to turn my oven on in the summer!
I know that grilling takes a lot of time and practice. I want to be good at it, so I’m practicing! I tried chicken breasts first because I thought they would be easy . . . they were dry. Oops. I also tried corn on the cob and didn’t even barely cook it. Oops again. I got some utensils and an instant-read thermometer to give me better chances of success. Yesterday I grilled my husband and our nephew some elk steaks (I don’t love the flavor of elk steak, but can eat it ground no problem). I made a rookie mistake and took the temperature WHILE they were ON the grill . . . so of course it was piping hot and read that they were done. I soon discovered they were not done at all, and slapped them back on for another few minutes. The hard thing with elk is that it is so incredibly LEAN, so it’s really easy to over-cook and I’ve done that more times than I care to admit. I was determined NOT to over-cook, and I must say, they turned out pretty great when I was finally done with them. I also re-attempted corn on the cob and it was really good.
Lunch today was grilled broccoli, mushrooms, and salmon. Everything was delicious. I seasoned the salmon with some maple smoke rub, added a little olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper to the veggies, and we had a delicious meal. My body has been craving protein ever since I started month two of INSANITY so I have been trying to get chicken or fish into my diet on a daily basis. We’ve always had fish 2-3 times a week, but now I need to get in some chicken or turkey more often to keep me feeling great.
Whatever type of grill you have, now is the time to dust it off and get it running! It’s so easy to throw something on there and have a delicious meal for your family. I am excited to try out new recipes and learn more about this type of cooking. I’m a newbie. Any tips are appreciated!