It’s Barbecue Season

by Dennis Machicao

When man discovered fire, he got this great idea that the food he was hunting would taste better if he held it over the fire. And bingo barbeque was born. And ever since, man has been cooking his food outdoors, more for pleasure than necessity, on all different kinds of grilling equipment and fuel sources.

Whether propane, natural gas, charcoal or wood, grills have become the unique way of cooking and enjoying summer meals outdoors with family and friends. From the monster gas grill to the tiny portable charcoal grill, food always seems to tastes better when it’s cooked outdoors

The variety of foods that can be prepared this way are limitless—from the humble hotdog and hamburger to the thick steak, chicken, shrimp, lobster, varieties of fish, vegetables and even fruit and pizza!

The type of fuel that is used also determines the taste of the food. Propane and natural gas does not give food a real BBQ flavor, to me, it’s almost the same as cooking indoors. Charcoal on the other hand and the different types of charcoal, hickory, oak, mesquite to name a few, do give food a unique flavor, as does natural wood.

But charcoal is not always what you think it is. There are many different varieties and some contain less than desirable ingredients. The most common are the standard Briquettes. They are a combination of borax, limestone, sodium nitrate, starch anthracite coal, lignite char, sawdust and wood char with starch and a moistening agent. The ones that light instantly are also injected with lighter fluid. With these you get more than just flavor in your food with this toxic chemical cocktail of ingredient! Then there are the Natural Hardwood Briquettes. They are 100% natural hardwood charcoal pieces and with vegetable starch as a binder. They burn hotter and longer than standard briquettes. And finally there is Lump/Chunk Charcoal. These are made from a variety of hardwoods such as Hickory, Oak or Mesquite Chunks. They burn hotter and give a unique wood flavor to the food.

So when you are choosing the most healthy and natural food that you want to grill and consume you should also be aware of the type of charcoal that you use so your food won’t be infused with unwanted potentially toxic substances in the charcoal smoke.

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