We are quickly closing in on February and we all know what that means. Valentine's Day and the traditional Valentine's Day BBQ! Wait, you seem to be looking at your monitor funny. You mean to tell me that every year on that supreme occasion you avoid the chill and skip over your most trusted friend? Well, personally my grill would never forgive me if I forgot her on Valentine's Day. Throw on your Toasty-Top™, dust off your BBQ, clean her up, brave the cold, and let's get to grilling.
One of the first BBQ-wise activities each year is to calibrate my grill. It's not as bad as it sounds, it is a dry run, no food necessary. (That is not to say that I won't have some.) After a good cleaning, I crank up the gas and use a standard oven thermometer, much the way I do in my Dutch ovens, to confirm the heat I want is the heat I am getting, it is all about accurate temperatures. Move your thermometer around your grill from area to area, leaving it for 10 minutes in each spot and record the temps. Do this at full throttle as well as half, giving you a fair idea of the ranges you can expect in various areas of the grill.
If temps are off, check gas levels, fitting connections on both ends of the hose, and clean out your burners. Often it is just a bit of gunk that is slowing the flow. I have two built-in thermometers on my BBQ. One I have attached high and one I have attached low to validate.
This brings me to my second confirmation of the new season. I like to have at least two separate cooking zones on my grill. Thus, I use the two separate indicators to confirm the world is as I believe it is, or in short that the temperatures I desire are available. The two zones are important because solids and liquids within the food react differently at different temperatures. It is all part of manipulating the fare to the desired texture. Or this could all be an excuse to make more ribs, brisket, and pulled pork. Either way, I win.
One of my favorite new tools of the season are my Cool-Grip™ silicone gloves. I had tried one of the popular brands a couple of months ago and was sorely disappointed. Though the gloves advertised heat resistance at 425°F, I found they soon became uncomfortable at those temperatures. So with a few well-placed phone calls and some design work I came out with my own signature line a couple Mils thicker. These gloves have been tested at 475°F for extended periods with no comfort loss.
The Cool-Grip™ gloves are great for manipulating foods on the grill, shredding meats, Dutch oven, and day-to-day use at home. I also keep them in my fishing and waterfowl boxes as they are completely waterproof. At least one pair has found its way to the garden for playing in the mud. They are also a family favorite at game time when we play Silicone Glove Slap Fight. Wait, seriously, you're looking at your monitor funny again.