Charlotte Talks Wants Your Grilling Questions And Stories

Charlotte Talks will record a special grilling/smoking show during our 30th Anniversary Open House this Friday August 19th. We want to hear from you in advance of that interview with your stories about surprising grilling and smoking experiences (good and bad!) If you’re new to grilling, what techniques have you found helpful? We’ll read some of your comments during the show taping and post a list of them afterwards. That show will air on WFAE Monday August 22.

Add your grilling stories and questions here!

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Charlotte Talks Wants Your Grilling Questions And Stories

  1. Kate Elliott

    There is nothing like the smell of a BBQ on a charcoal grill. There is no doubt in my mind that charcoal grilling is better than gas grilling. The flavor of the foods on the grill is enhanced and enriched by the smoky coal instead of getting a slight chemical taste from gas grilling. What are the benefits of charcoal vs. gas grilling or vice versa? And what is the best way to store charcoal?

    Love the show, Mr. Mike Collins!

    Thank you,
    Kate Elliott

    • For me, cooking with fire became an obsession around my high school age. It’s kind of difficult for me to pinpoint where the obsession came from, but around that time, I recall me and my friends getting together and building big outdoor hardwood fires, letting them burn down to red hot coals, and cooking over it…for fun.

      I’m 25 now, and a lot has evolved since those days. As a North Carolina native, I was raised on the state’s “number one export” (other than tobacco)…our BBQ. I decided a few years back to learn how to cook BBQ. This involves a smoker, and a lot of wood. I currently use a pretty decent backyard offset smoker. It’s taken a lot of time, effort, and ruined pork, but I’ve come a long way and have made a small name for my BBQ amongst family and friends. The cooking process from start to finish lasts around 12-14 hours. If you plan to cook for a lunch, don’t expect to get any sleep the night before. I use only all natural lump charcoal, and hardwood splits. I use only local farm raised pork shoulders from a local butcher. Some folks will cook the whole hog, but my backyard offset cooker isn’t large enough, plus, a pork shoulder or a “Boston Butt” as some call it, yields the most amount of servable meat.

      It takes a lot of patience and focus when cooking BBQ…you have to treat it like an art. There are several components that you constantly have to monitor, such as a consistent good cooking temperature in the cooking chamber (between 225-250 degrees). You have to be able to read what your fire is doing and know when to add, and when not to add more wood. Another key factor is the amount of smoke. A common misconception when cooking meat in a smoker is “the more smoke the better”. That’s the quickest way to ruin meat. Thick smoldering white smoke will give your meat a bitter, over-smoked flavor. This happens when your fire is lacking oxygen, and is being drowned out by adding more wood or charcoal. The trick is to keep your fire small and simple. You always want to have a live flame burning. This gives you a thin, wispy, blue tinted smoke…and the result is a perfect touch of a hardwood flavor added to the meat.

      The target internal temperature for BBQ is anywhere from 175 degrees, to 190 degrees. The closer to 190, the more tender the shoulders will be (this makes for much easier pulling). Cook times vary on the size of the shoulders. Occasionally if I have a shoulder that is upwards to 20 pounds, I may have to add an extra hour of cooking with some added heat in the cooking chamber. Once I have my target internal temperature met, I pull the shoulders off and wrap them in foil. This can be a little tricky due to the fact that the shoulders have tenderized to the point of wanting to fall apart when you pick them up to wrap them. Next, I let them rest inside of an empty ice chest for 1-2 hours. This allows all the juices from the meat that have worked their way to the outside sections of the shoulder to re-absorb back..making the BBQ very moist and very tender. The shoulders will continue to cook and will not cool down until you get beyond 2 hours. I think this has something to do with thermal mass.

      Once out of the resting stage, we pull the shoulder(s) and serve with my homemade secret recipe… Carolina Vinegar based BBQ sauce.

      Philip Wicker
      Mooresville NC

  2. John Turnbull

    Please pass this comment to the station boss. Thanks
    Yesterday I switched OFF, WFAE.
    A lady reporter was airing a story about Las Vegas and how to obtain
    personal information. She declined to give the source a name saying “What he is doing is probably illegal” I thought “aiding and abetting was also illegal.
    If a reporter thinks an action probably illegal, I would guess it 100 % unethical.
    Seems like Public Radio needs to review standards for reporters.
    John Turnbull Tel 704-364-1251

  3. M Cline

    I love grilled veggies – One of my favorites is sliced onions, squash, and peppers tossed in a little bit of olive oil, seasoned with “Natures Seasoning” mix. Put them in a pan for designed for grilling (shaped like a wok but has holes in it), and stir until crisp tender.

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