Friday, September 13, 2013

Grill Troubleshooting

Tonight's Winery Burger was one that, personally, I was very excited about.  Because A.) it was a departure from the normal beef and cheese and b.) I'd taken the original recipe and tweaked and tested it enough...it was actually MINE.

Ground chicken, grated Granny Smith, diced celery, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper and breadcrumbs...all yummed up into 1/2 lb patties.  Then, the awesomesauce relish - a cup of whole cranberries, a whole, cored Granny Smith apple, and a whole navel orange (keep the peel on).

Now, I've learned with these Wine & Burger nights I do at the Winery...always grill a tester.  For time's sake, for taste's sake, etc.  So I did that.  I oiled my grill and preheated it before I threw the burger on.

About 8 to 9 minutes per side, and voila! a nicely dressed chicken-apple burger AKA Thanksgiving on a Bun.  With the cranberry relish, and the recommended Tassel Ridge wine (2012 Brianna), I thought I'd knocked one out of the Burger Ballpark.

Until, like, the guests got there and I had to cook for real.  The oil had burnt off the grill, and the chicken meat stuck to the grate.  On top of that, my grill was a tad hot.  So, I'm trying to flip these burgers and I wind up with some sad, burnt, half-torn chicken burgers.  Fortunately, I was able to cover some of the damage with the relish.  But still.  It was a bummer night.

When I got home, I turned to the Google for some answers.  And maybe I'll conquer the grill for the next Burger weekend.

1. Use an oil with a high smoke point.  I used extra-virgin olive oil...which I thought had a high SP, but maybe that fact that it burnt off easily is an indicator of its quality.  One site I came across recommended safflower or grapeseed or peanut or soybean oil.  A different oil is definitely worth a try.

2.  Turn the grill on high a couple of hours before use....and scrub the heck out of it before I even grill anything.  Let the heat burn the food off.  I usually scrape it down after I've finished grilling, but I'm willing to try doing it before.

3. Lay aluminum foil across the grill grate, and cook the burgers on that.  This is not a bad idea....I could spray the foil with PAM or similar and not worry about the food sticking and/or falling through the grates.  This seems like the Last Resort option, and it would have been easy for me to do once I started having stickin' chicken issues.

I'm pretty sure it wasn't the chicken, it wasn't the grill...it was definitely the user.  I hope to remedy that.

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