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Author Topic: The Shashlik! The Barbie, Barbecue, BBQ, etc. The Grilling Meat Topic.  (Read 11858 times)

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Offline Manny

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I thought we could use a lighter-hearted topic that may also allow us all to learn something from each other.

I was never too much into the barbie. In the UK they typically consist of a drunk bloke giving his guests food poisoning with a few nasty burgers and sausages [made from mechanically recovered meat] that are burnt on the outside and raw on the inside. :sick0012:   

When I was first invited to the dacha in Russia, there was a big pan full of pieces of pork that were sat in water with chopped onions and a heavy weight on top all day. In the evening they were skewered up and cooked over a barbie of the type I had not seen before. It was a small steel box with holes, fuelled with wood from the garden. FIL cooked over the embers with a water bottle handy to quell the flames caused by the pork fat. It sounds a bit dodgy, but the food was perfect. Made even better as the accompanying salad was collected fresh from the garden by the ladies.

When the in laws visited the UK, they were surprised to see we had no barbie of any kind. However, FIL soon fashioned something with a grille from the oven and a pile of bricks I had nearby and some carefully-chosen wood from the forest next door. Again, the result was superb!  :thumbsup:

This fuelled my interest in the barbie. I consulted my pal who lived a few years in Florida, he pointed me to a "beginners" barbie that was an American Weber; I bought two, one for England and one for Estonia and set about teaching myself some stuff. Here is my one in Estonia in full flow.

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As anyone who has spent much time in the FSU will know, grilling meat is a big deal. Everyone does it, but it seems to differ from place to place. In the FSU, the box type units seem popular. We were recently invited to a pals house in Estonia so he could show off the one he had just had made. He claimed he couldn't buy a "proper Russian one" there, so he had a local fabricator make him one. He paid 200 Euros for a local guy to make him this one, complete with very heavy duty meat skewers.

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(That's a meat smoker in the background BTW). After playing around with this one above, I decided I wanted one. The 200 Euros is OK for a bespoke item, but the weight and size makes it prohibitive to ship to the UK by courier. And they dont sell heavy duty ones like that in the UK that I found.  :(   All we can buy here is mild steel Chinese ones and occasionally American Webers if you pay enough.

I am quite enthusiastic about the barbie now; so much so, I imported all my skewers, special fish grilles, tons of marinades, oil brushes and all kinds of stuff from Estonia (mostly Swedish brands) as the stuff in the UK is just total crap and very over-priced compared to what is available out there.

Now, as to why I think this will be a good topic: From the time I have spent in the US, I know we Brits have not the slightest clue about the barbie compared to our pals over the pond. We [as a nation; not me personally] cook cheap sausages in the drizzle; the Yanks are cooking fillet steaks and all kinds of other yummy stuff. The Aussies appear to have written the book on the barbie as they have the climate to do it almost daily - a lot of fish seems to be on the menu there. The Russians seem to have their own way, and seem to stick to variants of this rectangular steel box design, and appear to favour pork.

So what is your experience of the barbie in the FSU?
What do you cook at home?
What do you cook over?
What style of grill do you prefer?

Offline Brasscasing

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Re: The Shashlik! The Barbie, Barbecue, BBQ, etc. The Grilling Meat Topic.
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2011, 02:53:42 PM »
Looking good Manny! I have similar skewers...I've already got the package for you and Ladagirl sorted for this year now. ;D

Brass
“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind."  ~ John Diefenbaker

P.S....Unless you happen to live in Quebec and are subject to the Quebec Charter Of Values, of course.

Offline Chris

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Re: The Shashlik! The Barbie, Barbecue, BBQ, etc. The Grilling Meat Topic.
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2011, 02:59:03 PM »
Not a great fan of a barbie myself either, but we always have a shashlik event or two when in Ukraine, this is one we had last week, in the backyard/garden of my sister in laws, she grows all her own fruit and veg so that was used for salads etc too.

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and the BiL cooking, yes that's champagne being used to sprinkle on the pork.

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but I much prefer this type, again in Ukraine last week (picture quality not great)

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Offline Vinnvinny

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Re: The Shashlik! The Barbie, Barbecue, BBQ, etc. The Grilling Meat Topic.
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2011, 03:04:25 PM »
I was never too much into the barbie. In the UK they typically consist of a drunk bloke giving his guests food poisoning with a few nasty burgers and sausages [made from mechanically recovered meat] that are burnt on the outside and raw on the inside. :sick0012:   

I agree with the above statement and despite the rest of your content I wont be changing my mind. I don't get the attraction, period.

Offline Anteros

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Re: The Shashlik! The Barbie, Barbecue, BBQ, etc. The Grilling Meat Topic.
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2011, 03:33:19 PM »
I have a Weber charcoal grill (still made in the USA!) and I mostly grill fresh Salmon and also steak, whether it be a New York Steak, a nice Filet Mignon or a Rib Eye steak.  Taking your time and cooking it slowly is the key to meat which is tasty and properly cooked in order to avoid it being raw in the center which is dangerous.

I do not have access to a garden so I buy my produce for a salad from an organic grocery store--there is a difference!!

When going out I enjoy the occasional barbecue house of which there are many excellent variations here in the US, but certainly the best ones are probably in the Southern states.
Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

Offline fireeater

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Re: The Shashlik! The Barbie, Barbecue, BBQ, etc. The Grilling Meat Topic.
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2011, 04:16:07 PM »
What do you cook at home?

Steak, Pork and Lamb chop, hot dogs, burgers, roasts, whole and piece chicken, mushrooms, vegtables, potatoes, Shashlik, (beef, pork, chicken types), Spare ribs, Fish, Corn on the cob, etc 

What do you cook over?

I have cooked over a baby one like yours, using charcol. Small portable cast iron ones, on picnic tables, full sized gas ones, and open fires. For the open fire one you can do roasts up to feeding 25 people, if you buy a special roaster, that is placed at the edge of the fire. 

What style of grill do you prefer?

Perfer the gas, similar to the one below. Cast Iron being the most common but someyou can get are stainless steel, or just steel. The gas one is either fueled by propane tanks, or can be attached to the natural gas that heats your home.

The most common problem with barbeque's are flare ups. Requiring you to spray water on them. But you can avoid those if you get the
right distance between the grill and heat source. Mine I can just turn on, walk away, and not worry about flare ups. My ex called it her
outdoor oven.  :laugh:


Offline Larry

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Re: The Shashlik! The Barbie, Barbecue, BBQ, etc. The Grilling Meat Topic.
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2011, 04:24:08 PM »
Nice topic.  I love grilled meats.  Great pictures of shashlik.  I liked that pig on the rotisserie.  There's nothing like a whole pig cooked over hardwood.

Weber makes good-quality grills.  But there is something I really like about seeing those cruder steel box FSU grills.  The skewers pictured are great because their flat, swordlike shape keep the meat from rotating as often happens with the cheap, thin skewers.  Plus, they have handles that are large enough to grab hold of.

Manny mentioned keeping the pork in ice water for hours prior to grilling.  That technique, brining in a solution of water and salt, helps keep the meat from drying out during grilling.

What do you cook at home?

beef steaks, lamb chops, leg of lamb, pork chops, hamburgers, whole chicken (if you cut out the backbone with shears you can flatten the chicken out for uniform cooking),  and various vegetables.  From time to time I have cooked a big pork shoulder over indirect heat on the grill (pile the coals on the other side of the grill so they're not directly under the pork) for an hour or so, then finished it up by cooking it in a dutch oven with some chicken stock and aromatic vegetables for a few hours in the oven.  At barbecue joints they smoke it for 10 hours or so, but that's a huge pain for me to do at home.  But even an hour over the smoke imparts a nice smoky flavor to the meat.
 
What do you cook over?

Usually propane.  I used to grill over charcoal, on a Weber grill exactly like yours, five days of the week, but where I live now it's kind of a pain because I have to go downstairs every time I need to get to the grill.

What style of grill do you prefer?

charcoal imparts better flavor, but as I mentioned above, I use the propane model these days.

Offline Halo

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Re: The Shashlik! The Barbie, Barbecue, BBQ, etc. The Grilling Meat Topic.
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2011, 04:32:15 PM »
I have a Weber charcoal grill (still made in the USA!) and I mostly grill fresh Salmon and also steak, whether it be a New York Steak, a nice Filet Mignon or a Rib Eye steak.  Taking your time and cooking it slowly is the key to meat which is tasty and properly cooked in order to avoid it being raw in the center which is dangerous.

Steak can be raw on the inside.  Only the outside needs to be cooked, to avoid e-coli.

Ground meats need to be cooked thoroughly, as does chicken.  Pork can be light pink in the middle, but it's a bit trickier.  You need to cook it to 71C for it to be safe to eat.

In addition to grilling pork, hot dogs, hamburger, fish and, of course, steak, I BBQ "beer can" chicken (whole chicken) to avoid the rotisserie, and ensure the meat remains moist.

Offline Manny

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Re: The Shashlik! The Barbie, Barbecue, BBQ, etc. The Grilling Meat Topic.
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2011, 04:37:58 PM »
I have a Weber charcoal grill (still made in the USA!) and I mostly grill fresh Salmon and also steak,

Both mine are made in the USA. It is stamped all over them. We don't get many imports from the US (no, I don't know why either), but we do get Weber barbecues. :gousa:

I also favour steak (or marinated chicken shashlik) and wifey fish; salmon or trout.

Quote from: Vinny
I don't get the attraction, period.

Vinn, I was in that camp for 38 years!  :chuckle:  I never did "get it" until I had proper barbecue! Now wifey is thrilled I can pretend to be Gordon Ramsay with a fivers-worth of self-lighting charcoal from Morrison's. Its an hour she can spend staring in a mirror, changing clothes or posing instead of cooking.  :ROFL:

Chris: Great photos! That whole piglet would put me off a little though. I am a wussy carnivore; I don't like to see what they once were. If I really thought about it, I might be a vegetarian. But, I like meat too much; so, I just don't think about what it used to be.

Offline Anteros

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Re: The Shashlik! The Barbie, Barbecue, BBQ, etc. The Grilling Meat Topic.
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2011, 04:47:41 PM »

Quote from: Vinny
I don't get the attraction, period.

Vinn, I was in that camp for 38 years!  :chuckle:  I never did "get it" until I had proper barbecue! Now wifey is thrilled I can pretend to be Gordon Ramsay with a fivers-worth of self-lighting charcoal from Morrison's. Its an hour she can spend staring in a mirror, changing clothes or posing instead of cooking.  :ROFL:

Anything to make the wife happy is a plus at the end of the day!!   tiphat
Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

Offline mcs

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Re: The Shashlik! The Barbie, Barbecue, BBQ, etc. The Grilling Meat Topic.
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2011, 05:18:09 PM »
Beer Can Chicken anyone????

Offline mcs

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Re: The Shashlik! The Barbie, Barbecue, BBQ, etc. The Grilling Meat Topic.
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2011, 05:20:07 PM »
I just sent those pics of the chickens to Aly last week because her Dad had never heard of such a thing!!!! :8)

Smitty

Offline Manny

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Re: The Shashlik! The Barbie, Barbecue, BBQ, etc. The Grilling Meat Topic.
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2011, 05:33:23 PM »
I just sent those pics of the chickens to Aly last week because her Dad had never heard of such a thing!!!! :8)

Smitty

Me neither? Enlighten the rest of us too?

Offline nicknick

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Re: The Shashlik! The Barbie, Barbecue, BBQ, etc. The Grilling Meat Topic.
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2011, 05:44:11 PM »
When I was first invited to the dacha in Russia, there was a big pan full of pieces of pork that were sat in water with chopped onions and a heavy weight on top all day. In the evening they were skewered up and cooked over a barbie of the type I had not seen before. It was a small steel box with holes, fuelled with wood from the garden. FIL cooked over the embers with a water bottle handy to quell the flames caused by the pork fat. It sounds a bit dodgy, but the food was perfect. Made even better as the accompanying salad was collected fresh from the garden by the ladies.

So what is your experience of the barbie in the FSU?

Actually, you just described exactly what my experience has been, right down to the small details of using a small oblong steel box and having a handy water bottle.

In the photo you show above fom Estonia that shows the skewers, again it was exactly the same.  For the benefit of non Brits reading this, here in the UK barbecue skewers are round - rather like thin knitting needles so that when you try to turn the meat over it just swivels round on the skewer - no good at all.  Those flat skewers in the photo with a twisty bit near the handle are exactly the same as some I bought last time I was in Russia because you just cannot get decent skewers in this country.

Although, whether they're Russian or Georgian I don't know.  Actually, the first time I saw skewers like that was in a Georgian restaurant in Moscow called Genatsvale.

Like you said, I also didn't really 'get' barbecues until I had some barbecued food done properly - and now I've gone and bought myself a Weber as well.

The following two links might not be of grerat relevance to many Americans or Aussies here - a bit like teaching your grandmother to suck eggs, but I found the following two sites really useful for tips and recipes:-

http://www.amazingribs.com/

and, in particular, how to set up the barbecue properly:-

http://www.amazingribs.com/tips_and_technique/charcoal_grill_setup.html


and there is also a channel on Youtube called BBQ Pit Boys that also has a lot of interesting ideas:-

http://www.youtube.com/show/bbqpitboys

One thing about the Youtube site - I really love their accents.  You often hear about Americans liking British accents, well maybe it goes both ways.  The accent of the narrator just epitomises America to me.  I don't know where he's from - I'm guessing it's somewhere from the south.  An example is here:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoKmQXWbYHk

Offline nicknick

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Re: The Shashlik! The Barbie, Barbecue, BBQ, etc. The Grilling Meat Topic.
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2011, 05:46:03 PM »
I just sent those pics of the chickens to Aly last week because her Dad had never heard of such a thing!!!! :8)

Smitty

Me neither? Enlighten the rest of us too?

Actually, the first time I had that was in Russia.  Since then I've also done it using an empty wine bottle - works fine with that as well - as long as the chicken is quite large