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Avoiding Barbecue Disaster

Meat lovers rejoice! It’s still barbecue season! For some people, barbecue season is year round. Others huddle indoors during winter and wait for the time they can step outside and slap their meat into smokers or grills. Char-broiled smells, tender meat and grill marks denote special attention to timing and heat—meat cooked until it’s ‘just right’—and compliments are forthcoming throughout the meal consumption.

But what happens when barbecue goes wrong?

This week my hubby placed six baby back rib racks on the barbecue. Half were unseasoned, because we wanted to baste them in sauce after cooking, one-fourth had been rubbed with a smoky blend of seasonings, and the rest had been rubbed with a dry sugar blend. The heat was just right and these babies were really starting to smell delicious!

Then the house started smelling like something was charring. Smoke was billowing up from the grill and even the smoke detectors in the house went off. Dinner was in imminent danger of going up in flames!

Let’s face it—pork is rather fatty; but it’s also the reason bacon tastes so good. Unfortunately, it’s also the reason a grease fire started in the barbecue. We immediately turned off the burners and decided to try to save the ribs by pulling them out onto cookie sheets. We closed the lid to smother the fire and kept baking soda on standby. I watched closely to make sure the flames weren’t threatening the propane tank and we waited.

My husband was devastated. The sugar rubbed ribs took the hardest hit as the sugar crystalized into what looked like burned charcoal. The other ribs had some blackened edges and surfaces, but otherwise seemed redeemable. We created aluminum foil tents around the two cookie sheets, sealing in moisture and liquids so they wouldn’t escape, and we tossed them into the oven for the remaining hour and a half.

Lo and behold—that’s what saved our ribs. They didn’t dry out because they were steamed in their own juices. We simply heated the sauce ribs back up on the grill and served the dry rub ribs as they were. And because they had been grilled on the surface initially, they tasted like traditional barbecue ribs: in other words, heavenly.

However, before you fire up your barbecue grill again, be sure to read these 8 tips by Char-Broil on how to prevent or stop a flare-up in your grill.

Here’s the shortened version:

  1. Trim the Fat. Flare-ups usually happen because of excess fat, sauces or oily marinades.

  2. Keep the Lid Open.

  3. Avoid Wind.

  4. Move Your Food. (Don’t overcrowd the grill).

  5. Burn the Grease Away.

  6. Don't Use Water.

  7. Turn off the Burners.

  8. Clean Your Grill.

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