I just recently replaced an ancient charcoal grill. It used to be my parents, but even when they gave it to me, the bottom had rusted out and so I hadn’t used it much. The item however, was far more solidly-built than anything I saw as its eventual replacement. But I wanted a charcoal grill. I want to know that if the grid goes down like it did August a few years ago throughout the Northeast, I can cook something. (I had plenty of wild raspberries to forage upon that night, but I’d turned down practically-free meat at the corner Mom & Pop grocery — they didn’t have any way to keep it, either, or to weigh it; they used hand held calculators that night to bill me for the cat food I bought by flashlight.)
Plus, I like the taste. Especially since there’s now this new invention called a Charcoal Chimney that makes lighter fluid obsolete. Why bother with propane? And on hot, sultry nights, cooking outdoors keeps the indoors happier, especially since I don’t have central air.
Sunday night was the first night on my new grill. I cooked up a pork shoulder steak marinated for over 24 hours in balsamic vinegar, worchestershire sauce, and a few seasonings (mainly ground pepper). Here are the pics for that (and note that some is reserved for a future lunch):
Tonight, Monday night, I made Pork Sausage Patties. Nothing got measured, so judge by your tastebuds and the visuals.
GRILLED PORK SAUSAGE PATTIES
Breakfast sausage meat from pork. (This came from the New Milford Farmer’s Market, and the source is Center Brook Farm)
Red pepper flakes
Extra virgin olive oil
Cracked black pepper
Tomato (Preferably from a flavorful source, like your garden, roadside stand, or Farmer’s Market).
Horseradish Mustard (Or your favorite condiment.)
Okay, first put about three sheets of newspaper, crumpled up, into the bottom/base of your charcoal chimney. Don’t compact too tightly, also don’t have it so loose it just falls out before you light it. Before we go any further, I do want to note that You Tube has some great videos about how to do this; I studied them Sunday before the pork steak.
Pile your charcoal into the top part of this gizmo. Fill to top. It was suggested that real hardwood charcoal would burn more efficiently than those briquette things. Less ash and residue. Apparently, too, it is either the charcoal chimney and/or the real charcoal that cut down on fire prep time. No longer does one wait 40 minutes just to put dinner on.
Light the newspaper with a kitchen match, through the little holes near the bottom of the thing. So far, three places for lighting have seemed to suffice. Place the thing on the charcoal level of your grill grates. Go prep dinner.
Pork Sausage Patty Dinner Prep:
Mash up your pork sausage with extra fennel and red pepper flakes. (I had wanted to buy hot Italian sausage, but apparently they were out, and so I wanted to spice up the breakfast sausage. You can skip this step if you have hot/spicy Italian pork sausage :) )
Make small, rather flat, patties. You don’t want these porkers rare inside.
Asparagus: grab a handful, rinse, snap off bottoms, coat in extra virgin olive oil, wipe off excess, sprinkle on some cracked ground pepper (and maybe a dusting of salt if you must).
Tomato: Clean and slice as you wish.
Check the charcoal occasionally. When all the pieces are white with heat (you may need to knock a recalcitrant piece down to level with some heat-impervious implement), you can then upend the chimney into the charcoal area of the grill, bank the coals (ie, have them all more or less together down there, rather than scattered about not touching each other) slap down the cooking grill surface, and add your pork sausage patties. Ooops… yes, add hickory wood chips (or mesquite, or …) Then add your meat.
When it is time to flip the burgers over, add the asparagus to the grill (assuming these are thick-stalked asparagi). You’ll know, as the up-side of the burgers will be no longer looking raw themselves. (Interior will still be a different picture).
Everything gets approximate on a charcoal grill so poke the burgers with a sharp skewer and make sure no juices run out. As for the asparagus, after about 2-3 minutes, flip them with tongs. If they even begin to start to wrinkle, they’re done. I wouldn’t do those really fine less-than-pencil thing asparagi on the grill… well maybe 30 seconds a side.
Arrange your plates: tomato slices, chilled. Asparagus stalks. Pork sausage patties. Dinner’s on! (What doesn’t appear on this plate was reserved for a future meal.)
Dig in. Use whatever condiments you like, I found this horseradish mustard to be more than acceptable!
I’m really glad to have my grill.