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Fourth of July Barbequing Tips!

Aug 17, 2007
The Fourth of July has always been an exiting time for me! A few years ago I would have built my hickory fire and stayed up all night shoveling them into the smokers where I was cooking pork shoulders. Now I just get out of bed every couple of hours and add more charcoal and hickory chunks to the fire. I've learned over the years to keep it simple and enjoy the holiday.

First of all, let us never forget what we're celebrating! It was the signing of papers that proclaimed a small colonies' independence from England. This was no small thing because in signing such a document, it automatically sealed the fates those who participated in such mutiny. Give us liberty it did, but not without great sacrifice from many over the years. As has been said time and again, "Let Freedom Ring"!

Tip number .01

Since I'll be smoking meat for the Fourth, Let's start with a smoker grill. Start with a clean grill top. Remove any rust and meat residue from your last cookout and wash with a good degreasing dishwashing liquid. Bacteria from a dirty grill can be very unpleasant, so take a few minutes and do it right!

If there are leftover ashes in the charcoal bowl, get rid of them before you fill it with new charcoal. Charcoal has to breathe and ashes smother the flames. Clean out the water bowl and add fresh water. I always cover the bowl in aluminum foil so I can remove excess water and grease easily.

Tip number .02

When I'm cooking shoulders, I put a liberal coating of salt and pepper on them at the beginning, along with a red peppery seasoning. After the coals begin turning gray, I put the meat on the grill and leave it alone. It's not rocket science to cooking good backyard barbeque. Remember, every time you take the lid off the grill, you lose a little heat.

I wait until the second or third time I add charcoal to place the water soaked hickory chunks in the fire bowl. Too much of a smoky taste makes the meat taste like the pig was caught in a forest fire, so wait awhile before you start throwing on the wood.

Now the best part of barbequing. When the meat has been cooking for about 8 hours, it's time to start adding sauces to your taste. It's not a difficult thing to do. Just use the vinegar based or the thicker red sauces that you prefer. I use both, though the thick red sauces will burn if you lay them on too early.

Tip number .03

This year I will have two smokers going; one for the pork shoulders and one for pork ribs. The ribs I will put on the grill about 6 to 7 hours after the shoulders. They'll only take a few hours to cook so don't rush! Make sure both the ribs and the shoulders are done! The easy way to tell is by lifting them with a fork. If the meat falls off the bone, it's done. With pork shoulders the meat is done when a meat thermometer reads 180 degrees when inserted in the middle of the shoulder.

Tip number .04

Have Fun! Don't think of this as work because it's not! Just remember all the side items can be prepared while the meat is cooking. If there's room I'll put corn in the shuck in with the meat a couple hours before meal time. Experiment with food. Baked beans and potato salad are stables of any barbeque, but you can be as creative as you wish.
Usually someone else will volunteer to do the side items. If you've eaten their cooking before and like it, then recruit them for that chore. That's what I do. I make an easy job look hard in order to get out of the really hard work of preparing everything else!
About the Author
Bob Alexander is well experienced in outdoor cooking, fishing and leisure living. Bob is also the author and owner of this article. Visit his sites at:
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