Good creative cooking and bbq from family and Friends...

This Page is Dedicated to:

all those who love to experiment and to try something on their own and to those who love to walk into a kitchen and start with whatever's there and to those backyard bbq cooks who are always looking for a better way and to those who love to add a little more of this and a little more of that just to see how it will taste... and to the joy of coming together with friends and family at campsites, home cooked meals and backyard bbq feasts.

Note from the Authors:

Let's face it, there aren't many areas left in the world where you can be so creative as cooking.  We have not been afraid to mix and match and build our own recipes and  techniques.  And we have made our share of mistakes.  One thing that is so nice about cooking is the fact that it is so wide open for ideas and that's where we have started from.

A lot of what's in this handbook is pretty basic stuff but it took a while to figure it out.  Some of the techniques (especially in BBQ) were worked on over the course of years and is still being refined.

We hope that you find something useful and we hope that we inspire you to be creative in your own endeavors at cooking.


--- mmhall


Basics - Stuff We Have Learned | Time | Temperature | Texture | TasteTechniques/Regular Cooking
Techniques | Overall | The Grill | BBQ Cooking Methods | Method 1 Give it to me Straight
Method 2 - Down Under  | Method 3 - More Layers | Method 4 - Under / Over |
Method 5 - Heavy Metal | Method 6 - Mad Scientist at Work  Smokin | Recipes |

Basics - Stuff We Have Learned

We feel that cooking can be broken down to some basic categories.  This helps you figure out logistically what you need and how to deal with ingredients and processes.


Time is something that we can only estimate in these recipes.  You will have to adjust times according to the equipment and stove and bbq grills that you're using. What we have found is that this comes with plain ol' practice.


All temperatures are standard for the shortest amount of cooking time.  You can adjust if you want to cook any of these for longer periods of time. 


This means it comes out looking like what it is supposed to look like.  Its tender, moist, chewable or whatever characteristic its suppose to have and has been prepared correctly. If you've ever made gravy then you'll know what we mean.  If you have eaten 'raw' meat thats just a little too pink, then you'll know what I mean.  If you've eaten a tough steak then you know what I mean.  If you've ever over cooked a lemon meringue pie then you know what I mean.  If you've ever cooked a chicken breast beyond stretchability then you know what I mean.  Ever burned lasagna noodles...  ever over cooked fresh fish...ever made gravy that tasted like paste... ever put a little too much water in the pancake mix... ever boiled shrimp a 'little' too long... Know what I mean?


Here are some things we do to enhance or season food.  You can keep it simple or go hog wild.  It's up to yer taste buds.  We suggest that you start with one or two ingredients and gradually work your way up.  That way you spoil a lot less food and feed a lot more of your hungry guests.  Experiment a little at a time.

Olive Oil
Beef and Chicken Broth Traditional
Beef and Chicken Broth - Store Bought
Bay Leaves
Cayenne Pepper
Celery Salt

Techniques / Regular Cooking

Techniques / BBQ


I have experimented with lots of BBQ techniques. Here are some of the things I have discovered in my quest for perfect bbq.

The best recipe for bbq is:

· time and patience
· a watch
· a well controlled, dependable bbq grill
· paper towels
· a clean dish towel
· aluminum foil
· heavy duty cooking pans
· small grills/grates
· 2 or more utensils
· long handled pliers
· grill thermometer
· food thermometer
· a large measuring cup filled with water
· cook's pot holder mittens
· a large tray to hold all this junk
· a love for what you are doing
· good music
· good drink
· good company

The Grill

You will have to adjust based on the type of grill you're using.  I use a regular 2 - burner medium sized non-fancy gas grill and I experiment like crazy.  One of these days I'm gonna design and build my own.

My main objective is to cook the food within a 45 minute time frame or less if possible.  The exception is slow cooking a turkey, roast chicken or other larger pieces of meat. 

I  always try to cook and check my food at 15 - 20 minute intervals and I always use a clock or watch to time the cooking.

The methods below have been refined cooking primarily chicken, steaks and pork so please keep this in mind while reading the descriptions. 

There are millions of other things to cook and lots of other different ways to cook it. If you are new to bbq this will help you get a better start.  If you have been around for awhile then I hope I teach you something new that you can add to your hidden arsenal of secret cooking techniques.


Cook in a safe place. Cook where you can always see what's going on with the grill.  Don't let it cook for too long a time without checking it.   Even the best of layouts can turn into a disaster if a fire gets out of control. Have a garden hose handy if you need it.  At the very least, have some kind of water handy - just in case.

Turning the food

Use 2 or more tongs or forks to deal with your food.  I have seen too many outdoor cooks struggle with turning or moving their food using only one utensil and their fingers.  Give me a break!  Use 2 of the right utensils and the job is a snap.

Use a long handled pair of pliers and a pair of pot holder mittens if you need to move the pans or the main grill while cooking.

Keeping It Clean

Drape a towel over your shoulder, have a large measuring cup of water and have paper towels handy as well as your favorite hot or cold beverage and your favorite music on the stereo.

Now we're ready to cook.

BBQ Cooking Methods

BBQ'ing for most of us is a refinement of methods but if we were really good at it, we wouldn't have half as much fun!!!

Method 1 - Give it to me Straight

Put it on the grill and cook it. Pay attention, turn it regularly and keep the fire at a level that keeps it from burning.  Keep water handy for flare ups.  With a lot of bbq sauce and thin aluminum foil, this is usually a messy situation at best.  It is a true challenge to put food right on the grill and get it cooked without destroying it.  Over time and with a lot of persistence and experimentation, I have solved this main problem.

Method 2 - Down Under

Put something under what you're cooking.  The  el cheapo aluminum pans are great for this because they usually have ribs in the bottom of the pan or you use a heavier duty cookie or baking pan that you want to dedicate to bbq.  With the aluminum ribbed pan, put it directly on the main grill and put the food you're cooking into it. With the flat heavy duty pans, you will need to put something in the bottom to keep the food from scorching. 

I have tried and experimented with different things including aluminum foil, bread, carrots, onions and celery with the main food sitting and cooking on top of the other 'bottom food'.  (There is still room for creativity with this technique.) 

However - what works best (but is not very creative) is a smaller grill that will fit inside of  the heavy duty pan or aluminum grill pan.  You still have to keep an eye on the food but it doesn't burn as easily and it does not drip into the fire.

My basic setup:

           1 steamer pan - like they use under buffet serving trays.  This is the one they fill with water.
           2 clean bricks - regular bricks.
           1 small grill

            Put the pan on the main grill.  Fill it with water.
            Put one brick on each side of the pan - on its side or down flat - either way.
            Put the smaller grill on the bricks.

            This does a couple of things.

           --  It moves the food off the main grill. 
           --  The drippings fall into the pan, not the grill.
           --  It slows the cooking process down and adds moisture.
           --  You can use the 'water' to cook other vegetables or to catch the drippings and make a sauce
                or gravy.


Method 3 - More Layers

We are building here - use the grill pans and/or heavy duty pans on the main grill and  put a small grill on the top rim (not in the bottom) and put the food on the small grill.  Food on top of the small grill on top of the pan on top of the main grill.

This works extremely well, lifts the food completely away from the bottom of the pans  and keeps the meat from scorching and allows the heat to circulate around the food.  Plus - it allows you to capture the drippings and prevents them from creating flare ups.

The drippings become super hot and evaporate into the heat chamber permeating it with aroma. Experiment - use this to your advantage.  After a bit of drippings have dropped into the pan, add a little liquid,  seasoned the way you like and let it 'evaporate' a bit.

This technique requires a bit of practice and a change in timing but the food comes out evenly cooked and unless you leave it on too long or have the heat up too high, it comes out perfect. Keep in mind that you have raised the food upward in the heating chamber. 

Method 4 - Under / Over

Put your pans under the main grill and cook your food on the main grill above them.  This works ok but the pans have to be heavy duty.  You can't use the cheap aluminum grill pans because they burn up and become totally useless in protecting your food or containing the drippings.  With this method your food is cooked on the main grill at a normal height.

NOTE: Put aluminum foil around your pans to protect them and make clean up easier. 

Method 5 - Heavy Metal

Using heavy duty pans, put them under the main grill and fill them with water or water and seasonings.  This slows the cooking and takes a bit more time but it also allows you to spread the cooking out if that's what you want. 

There is more moisture in the cooking chamber and it tends to circulate and  'fall' on the food.  Everything I have ever cooked this way comes out moist, all things being equal, if  I don't burn or cook the food too long. It also gives you more quantity of drippings if you want to make a sauce or gravy from what winds up in the pans.

NOTE: You must watch the grill and check it more often and refill the water pan because you do not want the water to totally evaporate.  If you want a dark brown gravy you can let it evaporate but keep an eye on it.  When it is the 'color' you want, turn off the fire and take the pan off.

NOTE: When I have to lift the main grill, I use a pair of pliers and a pair of pot holder mittens.  Be careful!!!

Method 6 - Mad Scientist at Work

Any combination of the above.
For example - Turn on the right burner only.  On the top left hand side of your grill put your meat on a small grill over a cheap disposable aluminum pan.  On the right side, place a heavy duty pan on the fire itself under the main grill and fill it full of water and seasonings.  Slow cook vegies or an appetizer on the right side.  After your appetizers are done, to raise the heat and speed up the cooking, place the bottom pan so that only a small portion of the pan is over the immediate fire.  This allows more heat  to circulate while at the same time, it slows down the boiling and evaporating process.  This is all theory of course until you try it!!!  

Smokin' - check out the following link from an expert.

Smokin' from Preston Davenport - "Slow smokin' barbecue techniques, recipes and more from the BBQ Smythe"

Recipes from friends and family - simple sauces rubs and appetizers 

Spiced Sauces # 1:

5 tbsp butter
1 whole onion - sliced thin
½ cup parsley
½ cup mushrooms
1 tsp garlic
Saute'd with
1 tsp flour
4 cubes beef broth
½ cup cabernet
Saute' 20 minutes and let sit.

Use as a rub or marinade or sauce or
basting sauce.

Pam's Spiced Rib Rub

Here is a Rib Rub - that can be used in lots of rub recipes:

- 2 cloves or 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
- 1 cube of onion consumme
- 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke
- 1 can of beef broth
- 2/3 cup of red wine
- 1 teaspoon of worcester sauce
- 1 teaspoon of teriyaki merinade
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of celery salt
- shake or 2 of pepper
- 1 teaspoon of sake
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
Use as a rub or a marinade.

Pam's super bbq sauce recipe

1/2 cup kc masterpiece bbq sauce
1 pkg. Lemon Chicken Sauce mix
1/2 cup kikkoman teryaki sauce
1/2 cup hoisan sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil

The following recipes are for quick appetizers or quick desserts:

Avocado Italian Salsa / Alfie Owens

1 small can sliced black olives
2-3 ripe avocados cut in pieces
1 tomato minced
3-4 green onions minced
Use Zesty Italian dressing
Adjust using whatever quantities you think best! Enjoy!

Simple Avocado Italiano / Alfie Owens

Cut avocado in half, take out seed.  Leave skin on.
Mince green onions and tomatoes and mix with Zesty Italian dressing.
Pour into center of avocado and eat with a spoon.

The Best Pizza in the World / Larry King

· Make sure the crust supports the weight of the toppings
· Space the toppings evenly toward the outer edge
· Put the heavy stuff on the outside and the light stuff in the middle
· For thick crust - coat pan with olive oil
· If you have the right kind of pan - toast the bottom just before you cut and serve it
· Raw items will not cook through cheese - sprinkle any extra cheese after initial cooking.
· Use low moisture mozzarella cheese unless you like soggy pizza
· Cut dice and shred fresh toppings so as to spread the items evenly over the pie. 
· Pepperoni equals grease. Be careful - too much and the grease tends to puddle in the middle.

Layered Banana Pudding  / Alfie Owens

1/3 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup packaged brown sugar
2 cups milk
2 egg yolks beaten
2 tblspns butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipped cream, whipped
4 - 6 bananas sliced
Nuts optional

In a medium saucepan, combine the flour and brown sugar and  stir in milk.  Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Remove from the heat.  Gradually stir about 1 cup hot mixture into egg yolks.  Return all to the saucepan.  Bring to a gentle boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in butter and vanilla.  Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.  Fold in the whipped cream.  Layer a third of the pudding in a 2-qt glass bowl and top with half of the bananas.  Repeat layers.  Top with remaining pudding. Sprinkle with nuts if desired.  Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving.

Ham and Cheese Rolls / Larry King

1 pkg Long Rectangular Sliced - Ham
1 lb cream cheese
1 pkg scallions
Various toppings i.e. olives, onions, etc...

Soften cheese
Trim and clean scallion
Cut scallion to same length of short end of ham slice.
Spread cream cheese ½ inch wide over ham slice apprx ¾ inch from end.
Roll slice with scallion inside onto first spread of cheese
Insert toppings of your choice on remaining ham slice
Spread more cream cheese along the lengthwise edges and other end of ham slice.
Roll up the ham slice
Place completed rolls in freezer
Once frozen slice into ¾ inch rounds.
Thaw until edible and serve

Chili Rolls / Larry King

Crescent Roll Dough
Garlic Salt
(Thick) Canned or homemade Chili
Cheese - your choice
Muffin Pan

Roll out the crescent roll dough.
Sprinkle with garlic salt
Cut dough to fill each individual muffin hole
Place chili in each muffin hole
Bake per the dough instructions until beginning to brown.
Top with cheese and cook til done.

Want a Challenge? Try doing bread on the BBQ!

Here is a simple Italian Bread Recipe from the 'Pampered Chef' crew -
It's easy enough - but still a challenge for the grill - Think you can pull it off
without creating a glob of goo?

1 - pkg active dry yeast
1 - cup warm water (105 - 115 F)
2 - cups warm water
1 - tablespoon salt
6-7 - cups flour

Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of water - let it stand for five minutes.
Dissolve the salt in 2 cups of water.
Put 5 cups of flour into a large bowl
Add liquids mix well
Add enough remaining flour to make a workable dough
Knead on a lightly floured board for 10 minutes o until dough is smooth and elastic
Place in a greased bowl, cover and allow to rise until doubled in bulk.
Punch down and knead again for five minutes
Divide dough into two balls
Return to the greased bowl. cover and let rise until doubled
Separate pieces of dougn and rol each into oblong shape
Sprinkle cornmeal on your baking pan of choice
Cover lightly and allow to rise until doubled
Brush tops with melted butter
Make one long slash about one inch deep and almost the entire length
  of the loaf.
Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until loaves are golden brown and bread
  sounds hollow when tapped.
(Think you can do this on the grill? Without burning it or turning it into a glob? Here is
a hint - use a pan of water in with the bread - below it or to the side...)

More to come !!!