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View Full Version : Fear of BBQ failure draining pleasure of upcoming trip


DINKDisneyAddict
05-24-2010, 11:45 PM
I have a feeling that our upcoming vacation is going to make me long for Disney even more than I usually do. This month, we have rented a cabin in a state park on top of a mountain. We’ll being staying a long weekend. I am hoping for some solitude, but one ridiculous thing has me concerned…the BBQ pit. DH and I both work full time+, and we eat out a lot….like at least 95% of the time. (I work for a restaurant company, which takes a lot of pressure off of the budget, too.) That being said, we will be cooking for ourselves for the entire weekend. :eek: There is an open grill (the kind that is built into bricks without a lid) at the cabin that DH is convinced we are going to be able to use. Does anyone know of any “BBQing for Dummies” websites? Or good (and extremely easy) recipes for open grill cooking? The things I have googled up so far are making my head spin. :confused: I would think not having a lid on the BBQ would cause it to take forever to cook something like a steak. I think I can handle the side dishes, but I am afraid we will starve for protein up in the mountains if we can’t get this BBQ thing down.

P.S. I am a city girl through and through, and last summer, I could not start a fire in a pit while camping to save my life. :sad2: I need all the help I can get. There are things I do well in life, but my domestic, kitchen skills verge on pathetic. I would hate to see us waste a bunch of money on food that we ruin and cannot eat. Thank you in advance for any help you can offer. :flower3:

SILLYANDI
05-25-2010, 12:09 AM
If my 10 year old girl scouts can do it you can!:thumbsup2

Our failsafe GS fire pit recipe is hobos...Diced veges (potatoes, carrots, onions, corn kernels, squash, zucchini, etc), ground beef, salt & pepper rolled up in an aluminum foil "bag". Throw it on the coals for 10 minutes on each side and viola! A great (protein included) meal!


If you like seafood you can buy some yummy pre seasoned frozen filets at Sam's or Costco and cook them the same way in a foil bag..

DINKDisneyAddict
05-25-2010, 12:15 AM
If my 10 year old girl scouts can do it you can!:thumbsup2



This might explain things. I never made it past Brownie...but I did still make new friends and keep the old...seriously, I met one of my lifelong friends in kindergarten in Brownies!

Thanks for the hobos idea. That sounds really yummy to me. DH doesn't like to mix certain foods on his plate, :confused3 so I am going to have to run this idea by him. I really only need to come up with 4 solid meals (lunch/dinner type meals).

Sarah_Rose
05-25-2010, 12:15 AM
If you're that concerned about it, I would pay a few extra bucks for a portable propane grill and bring it along with you. We used to have this one: http://www.homedepot.com/Outdoors-Grills-Accessories-Grills/h_d1/N-5yc1vZasfeZ5za01/R-100096094/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053 and it worked fine for cooking steaks, burgers, kabobs, etc. while camping or picnicking. We upgraded to the Weber Q 200 (with a nearly $200 price tag) this year, so that we can cook more complex things while on the go, but the $25 one works fine if you're only going to be using it on occaision.

Cooking over a charcoal or wood fire is not that difficult for a beginner as long as you go simple (ie. burgers or hot dogs) but if you're that concerned about cooking edible food, I would spend a bit extra for propane. It's pretty difficult to screw up.

DINKDisneyAddict
05-25-2010, 12:21 AM
If you're that concerned about it, I would pay a few extra bucks for a portable propane grill and bring it along with you.

I think this is a smashing idea. Funny you should mention it as one of our friends mentioned that idea tonight as well (while we were dining out at a restaurant :lmao:), but my DH (stubborn DH) says that is admitting defeat. :rolleyes: He really wants to give this a go.

powellrj
05-25-2010, 05:37 AM
We have used the portable grills over the years and for just a few people, they are wonderful! I would buy one with a couple of tanks and store it in your trunk. If you don't use it, you can take it back. If you need it, you have it.

Your protein is easy. You can get all your meats, put them in a ziploc bag with your marinades and freeze them. Keep them in a cooler and you should be good for the weekend.


Boneless, skinless chicken breast, pork tenderloin chops, steaks, kabobs, salmon. I am ready to grill again today just typing! We did pork tenderloin chops last night on the grill and had guests and they were a huge hit!

Golf4food
05-25-2010, 08:55 AM
If you have an iPhone there are apps that tell you how long to cook/grill everything, or check out a book from the library before you leave and take it with you - or buy a book. There are plenty of resources out there to help you. :)

DisneyDizzy
05-25-2010, 08:58 AM
We love camping, cabins and bbqing. A fail safe way to cook: buy some Match Light Charcoal. No need for lighter fluid and will always light and stay lit. Get a big bag and use plenty. Wait for the coals to turn white-ish and you can cook anything over an open pit. The coals stay hot for a long time so bring Marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate for an after dinner S'more. :love:

dallastxcpa
05-25-2010, 08:59 AM
Why not take your crock pot. I can make a mean brisquet in my crock pot that is so tender and yummy. :)

java
05-25-2010, 09:11 AM
If you are worried about a "lid" why not just use some aluminum foil over whatever you are cooking- like a steak- just make a little aluminum tent for it.


I would think you could easily grill chicken breasts on there-(thin cook quickly) or really any kind of fish- I do it similarly to the pp- put it in a tin foil pouch a little oil- fish squeezey of lemon pepper and whatever herbs you love a splash of wine if you have it- seal it up cook on the grill for about 8 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish- you could do another pouch of potatoes oil onions peppers ect.

Here's a couple of more ideas- step by step
http://camping.lovetoknow.com/Open_Grill_Outdoor_Cooking_Recipes

oldbay
05-25-2010, 09:39 AM
We love camping, cabins and bbqing. A fail safe way to cook: buy some Match Light Charcoal. No need for lighter fluid and will always light and stay lit. Get a big bag and use plenty. Wait for the coals to turn white-ish and you can cook anything over an open pit. The coals stay hot for a long time so bring Marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate for an after dinner S'more. :love:

THis exactly! Just get match light and a big box of wooden matches and you will be able to cook almost anything easily. It will also taste better made over a grill. :love: Have a great trip.

surfergirl602
05-25-2010, 09:43 AM
just get one of those small little propane grills to bring with you. We'd get the one time use ones for tailgates all the time. I can't grill either. :)

plummer925
05-25-2010, 10:40 AM
How about pre-cooking meals that can be "warmed up" on the BBQ (hamburgers, steaks, etc). Make a bunch of salads (don't add dressings - bring those seperate!). You don't NEED to BBQ for the few days your there...use it to warm up meals.

Hotdogs on a stick cooked over an open flame is one of my favorites of all time.

You're staying in a state run campground - so you're going to be roughing it a bit more than you're used to. Take the time to enjoy the nature, and don't worry about COOKING - just do things that are easy.

Sandwiches for lunch, warmed up meals for dinner. S'mores for dessert. That is what I would do...in fact, hubby and I are staying at a state run campground next week for 3 nights and will be doing just that - we won't be bringing anything to actually "cook" with us. Hotdogs on a stick, steak on a stick, we'll bring a big kettle and do corn on the cob one night (just boil the water, add the corn). Mmm...lobsters would be good too, but that's too much for us...

Good luck!

MomToOne
05-25-2010, 11:51 AM
Don't panic - if I could learn to BBQ, anyone can!

Really, I was scared to death. It was always a "man thing" in my book. But there was no man in the house, and my daughter wanted to have a BBQ! So I womaned up, and figured it out. :rotfl2:

The hardest part is getting the coals hot. There are lots of good directions out there about starting the coals, and how to know when they are the right temp. If nothing else, read the back of your charcoal bag!

From there, I suggest grilling either hamburgers or hot dogs like someone else suggested, or going for steaks. Avoid chicken, esp. chicken parts with bones still in. Beef is forgiving if you undercook it or overcook it a bit (may not be done to your likeness but it's usually still edible) - chicken is not! Pork is iffy - if it gets overcooked, it gets too dried out for me, so I wouldn't attempt it the first time out. I'd avoid ribs, because the bones make it harder to judge cooking time, etc. Although if you really,really want ribs, one trick is to parboil them first (at home presumably), then only finish them off on the grill.

If you are concerned about the lack of cover for the grill, just take a box of aluminum foil with you. With that, you can fashion an impromptu cover for the meat if you really need it.

YoMickey
05-25-2010, 01:30 PM
I would invest in some cast iron skillets and pots.

We haven't camped in some time but I would always make a large batch of chili and freeze it into a large ice block to keep things cool. Use it when it thaws out.

Pre-cook some chicken breasts or ribs and finish them over the coals.

If you're new to it there's no reason to make it difficult.

oh....and pretend you are at Fort Wilderness.

maggiew
05-25-2010, 01:33 PM
If you have an iPhone there are apps that tell you how long to cook/grill everything, or check out a book from the library before you leave and take it with you - or buy a book. There are plenty of resources out there to help you. :)

OK. For some reason I find this hilarious. They are out in the woods in a cabin "roughing it" and they whip out their iPhone to use an app to tell them how to cook! :rotfl:

I'm not making fun of the poster or the OP. Its just a funny image.

I will tell you one thing. Don't put a frozen pizza on the grate! DH & I attempted camping one time when the kids were younger. We tried the pizza thing and it was a disaster! Imagine dripping cheese down into the fire! We never camped again. (Anyone want an only-used-once LL Bean tent! ha ha)

Maggie

CTdiznymom
05-25-2010, 02:17 PM
Matchlight coals work great, just remember NOT to use any lighter fluid. DH did that once and only once:scared1:

You can pre made foil packets of either marinated chicken breasts with some juilienned veggies, or even fish packets. Just place them on the grill and turn them half way thru. Fresh corn on the grill is delish. Soak the whole ear in water, wrap in foil with some butter (pull back some husk and rub it on) and grill it up.

Have a great time.

NotUrsula
05-25-2010, 02:31 PM
Everyone left off the biggest Oh-oh issue with outdoor built-in grills -- the dirt factor.

Not once in my life have I ever encountered a clean communal grill; you're going to have to clean that sucker before you can use it. You have a couple of choices for that: you can fire-clean it, by building a large wood fire (with actual flames) and burning off the leftover gunk, or by bringing a grill stone and scouring it. The "lid" thing isn't an issue, you just need to turn the food (bring long tongs.)

Also, check the pit for small animal carcasses before you start. (We found a dead skunk in one once.) In winter animals tend to creep in to get warm after the pit has been used, and sometimes they can't get out.

plummer925
05-25-2010, 02:47 PM
Everyone left off the biggest Oh-oh issue with outdoor built-in grills -- the dirt factor.

Not once in my life have I ever encountered a clean communal grill; you're going to have to clean that sucker before you can use it. You have a couple of choices for that: you can fire-clean it, by building a large wood fire (with actual flames) and burning off the leftover gunk, or by bringing a grill stone and scouring it. The "lid" thing isn't an issue, you just need to turn the food (bring long tongs.)

Also, check the pit for small animal carcasses before you start. (We found a dead skunk in one once.) In winter animals tend to creep in to get warm after the pit has been used, and sometimes they can't get out.

You can also simply cover the grill with tin foil.

NotUrsula
05-25-2010, 02:50 PM
You can also simply cover the grill with tin foil.

Except that foil defeats the entire purpose of using real wood to cook over. You don't get a smoked flavor when you use foil, and it takes easily twice as long.

NotUrsula
05-25-2010, 02:51 PM
.
(Oops, duplicate post.)

DINKDisneyAddict
05-26-2010, 07:25 AM
Don't panic - if I could learn to BBQ, anyone can!

Really, I was scared to death. It was always a "man thing" in my book. But there was no man in the house, and my daughter wanted to have a BBQ! So I womaned up, and figured it out. :rotfl2:

The hardest part is getting the coals hot. There are lots of good directions out there about starting the coals, and how to know when they are the right temp. If nothing else, read the back of your charcoal bag!

From there, I suggest grilling either hamburgers or hot dogs like someone else suggested, or going for steaks. Avoid chicken, esp. chicken parts with bones still in. Beef is forgiving if you undercook it or overcook it a bit (may not be done to your likeness but it's usually still edible) - chicken is not! Pork is iffy - if it gets overcooked, it gets too dried out for me, so I wouldn't attempt it the first time out. I'd avoid ribs, because the bones make it harder to judge cooking time, etc. Although if you really,really want ribs, one trick is to parboil them first (at home presumably), then only finish them off on the grill.

If you are concerned about the lack of cover for the grill, just take a box of aluminum foil with you. With that, you can fashion an impromptu cover for the meat if you really need it.

:thumbsup2 Thank you for this bit of advice and encouragement! The two things I am most worried about are getting the coals hot and knowing when the food is done.


oh....and pretend you are at Fort Wilderness.

:goodvibes Great idea! I just have a feeling it is not going to be the same!

OK. For some reason I find this hilarious. They are out in the woods in a cabin "roughing it" and they whip out their iPhone to use an app to tell them how to cook! :rotfl:

I'm not making fun of the poster or the OP. Its just a funny image.



:lmao: We’ve already been warned. It’s probably one of the few places left in the US without cell phone coverage! Once we get to the top of the mountain, we are totally disconnected! I suppose there is good and bad about this.

Everyone left off the biggest Oh-oh issue with outdoor built-in grills -- the dirt factor.

Not once in my life have I ever encountered a clean communal grill; you're going to have to clean that sucker before you can use it. You have a couple of choices for that: you can fire-clean it, by building a large wood fire (with actual flames) and burning off the leftover gunk, or by bringing a grill stone and scouring it. The "lid" thing isn't an issue, you just need to turn the food (bring long tongs.)

Also, check the pit for small animal carcasses before you start. (We found a dead skunk in one once.) In winter animals tend to creep in to get warm after the pit has been used, and sometimes they can't get out.

While I do have a BBQ brush on my Walmart list for today, and I was planning on bringing a couple of Brillo pads, this is grossness beyond my wildest imagination! :sick:


Thank you to each of you who offered some bits of wisdom. I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday and searched through some books. ( I even found one to buy in the Bargain Books section.) I think I have decided to try steak (with new potatoes and green beans and corn on the cob), shrimp kebobs (with some sort of rice mix I will make at home) and marinated chicken breasts (with whatever seasonal vegetables look good while shopping).


And I am also going to take some sandwich meat and bread….just in case.

Pooh_Friend#1
05-26-2010, 08:22 AM
It is very easy to start a fire in the pit, just make sure you start with smaller dry sticks and paper and slowly add bigger logs when it heats up.

What we like to do is roast hot dogs on a stick the first night since we are usually setting up camp and we put a can of chili in the fire to heat up for chili dogs. The next night we do chicken that has been marinating for the day and cook it on the grate over the fire, while we have our foil packets laying on the coals. In the foil packet we have chopped up potatoes, onions, bacon, salt and pepper, and butter. Very easy! Don't be afraid to get dirty!

For snacks we usually have smores, banana boats, and jiffypop popcorn over the fire. To do the popcorn you have to have a longer stick and bring some wire to attach the popcorn to the stick and just shake when it starts to heat up!

txvjc
05-26-2010, 09:03 AM
If my 10 year old girl scouts can do it you can!:thumbsup2

I was going to say the same thing, except mine is 8. Try searching for Girl/Boy scout recipes online. They are simple, and usually quick. MOst involve wraping things in foil and throwing them on the grill. My wife (who had never grilled) took seven 8 yr olds camping and they all seemed to survive and all she had to cook with was a grill.

plummer925
05-26-2010, 09:15 AM
It is very easy to start a fire in the pit, just make sure you start with smaller dry sticks and paper and slowly add bigger logs when it heats up.

What we like to do is roast hot dogs on a stick the first night since we are usually setting up camp and we put a can of chili in the fire to heat up for chili dogs. The next night we do chicken that has been marinating for the day and cook it on the grate over the fire, while we have our foil packets laying on the coals. In the foil packet we have chopped up potatoes, onions, bacon, salt and pepper, and butter. Very easy! Don't be afraid to get dirty!

For snacks we usually have smores, banana boats, and jiffypop popcorn over the fire. To do the popcorn you have to have a longer stick and bring some wire to attach the popcorn to the stick and just shake when it starts to heat up!

Heidi - what are banana boats?

andijean
05-26-2010, 11:09 AM
We go camping quite a bit and cooking over an open fire is one of our favorite things to do. We make these dinner packets everytime we go. What we do is take foil and put in ground beef, potatoes(we use canned now b/c they take less time or you can pre boil some), and veggies(carrots, onion, pepper, zucchini) put a dab of butter in there with salt, pepper and italian seasons. Close up the packets with another layer of foil and put them right into the coals. If you have good coals they normally take 45-60 mins to cook and make sure you rotate and flip otherwise they can get crispy on one side. They really are easy. I also have used big foil packets with chicken, corn on the cob, potatoes and italian dressing and cooked the same way and those are yummy. Oh, I also remembered what we did for a large group one time and this would be easy is buy those aluminum cooking tins and put foil over that. You could cook these items in there or anything else, for that matter.

Also, for a few dollars you can buy cooking irons at walmart in the camping section that are fun. You take 2 buttered slices or bread in the irons and can make grilled cheese and ham, mini pizzas, and dessert(buy pie filling and put in the bread). They are real fun. Here is a link, so you can see what they look like. http://www.rei.com/product/752497

HAVE FUN!

andijean
05-26-2010, 11:20 AM
We go camping quite a bit and cooking over an open fire is one of our favorite things to do. We make these dinner packets everytime we go. What we do is take foil and put in ground beef, potatoes(we use canned now b/c they take less time or you can pre boil some), and veggies(carrots, onion, pepper, zucchini) put a dab of butter in there with salt, pepper and italian seasons. Close up the packets with another layer of foil and put them right into the coals. If you have good coals they normally take 45-60 mins to cook and make sure you rotate and flip otherwise they can get crispy on one side. They really are easy. I also have used big foil packets with chicken, corn on the cob, potatoes and italian dressing and cooked the same way and those are yummy. Oh, I also remembered what we did for a large group one time and this would be easy is buy those aluminum cooking tins and put foil over that. You could cook these items in there or anything else, for that matter.

Also, for a few dollars you can buy cooking irons at walmart in the camping section that are fun. You take 2 buttered slices or bread in the irons and can make grilled cheese and ham, mini pizzas, and dessert(buy pie filling and put in the bread). They are real fun. Here is a link, so you can see what they look like. http://www.rei.com/product/752497

HAVE FUN!

mrodgers
05-26-2010, 11:44 AM
Just remember about BBQ.....

Woman accepted cooking as a chore, but man has made of it a recreation.

Pooh_Friend#1
05-26-2010, 12:11 PM
Heidi - what are banana boats?
Peel banana down one side and cut a wedge into it. Place marshmallows and chocolate chips into the wedge, and cover with peel and alumumin foil and throw into the coals for a little bit until everything melts.

Maddle
05-26-2010, 02:54 PM
Here are my humble suggestions -

The propane stove is great to have even if you don't use it. It's just a nice back up plan....and then you can keep it in the garage for use in the next emergency situation, like post-hurricane.

A charcoal chimney will help get the coals started.

A little cooking basket will help keep chicken or fish or burgers or whatever from falling apart/cooking right on the grate or sticking to it.

It's an adventure - you're not going to starve by going a few days without protein - and you will be so satisfied when it's done.

Maddle

DINKDisneyAddict
07-27-2010, 11:00 PM
I was just looking through my subscribed threads and realized that I never updated everyone on my BBQing adventures over Memorial Day weekend! My apologies as you were all so kind to offer your advice. Well, I did it! We actually had edible meals for our entire stay. I ended up going big the first meal by grilling steaks and corn on the cob...smores for dessert. I did shrimp kabobs (although the shrimp was a little bit dry, live and learn) and marinated chicken breasts. There were no dead animals in the grill although the birds had a great time picking off the bits of chicken breast after I forgot to season the grill. Thank you all so much for your help. It really went great. :banana:

powellrj
07-28-2010, 08:37 AM
Glad it worked out for you!