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Featuring gas grills with lava rocks and marinades

Gas and charcoal grill enthusiasts will argue on why their type is better. The most common answer from charcoal grillers is the flavour.  However, gas griller being more expensive, it also has some advantages when compared to the charcoal ones:

Starts quickly – Most gas grillers are easy to light or ignite with just a push and the griller will be ready to use in less than 10 minutes. The charcoal ones take almost half an hour to one hour for it’s build-up, depending on sufficient starter or fuel, dampness or poor air flow.

Easy temperature control

Cheaper to operate

Easy cleaning up

Gas grills with lava rocks:

The advantage of using lava rocks is that it heats up more quickly than the other rocks and distributes heat evenly albeit the rock being porous, less dense and a lighter by nature. In a charcoal grill, live coal tends to hold their temperature for longer period of time and don’t distribute heat evenly. In comparison, lava rocks are a great companion for gas grills because they can absorb and redistribute the heat for a longer period of time, cross a larger surface area for more even cooking of food.

Lava rocks work best when spread in a single layer on a special rock grate, resting above the gas jets. Do not use lava rocks inside any gas grills if not specifically designed, which may otherwise reduce the efficiency of the griller. If the grill is not maintained properly, it may cause grease build-ups and fire.

Stand alone gas grill with lava rocks, works great for a group of 6 – 8 people

Stand alone gas grill with lava rocks, works great for 2-4 people

Marinating in different ways:

Marinades works great not only in enhancing flavours but also as a tenderizer. Depending on the cut and type of meat, it may require a little more assistance to bring out the perfect melt in your mouth kind of meat. Papaya pulp is one of the natural ways of tenderizing the meat. Ingredients such as citrus juices, pineapple, yogurt, buttermilk and wine tenderize by denaturing or unwinding protein strings. Kiwi can also be another option if you can manage to find some.  Flat cuts of meat absorbs most of the marinade. Storing the meat in zip-lock bags after marinating helps to coat the meat on all the surfaces.

Marinades typically consist of an acidic ingredient like vinegar, lemon juice, wine or yogurt, plus oil and spices. The acidic ingredient softens the food, allowing it to absorb the flavors of the sauce. Marinating works on all kinds of meat, as well as fish, tofu and vegetables. You can either follow recipes or experiment with your own marinades with whatever you have in hand.

You could also keep in mind a basic formula to marinate any meat, seafood or vegetable:

Oil – olive oil, vegetable

Salt – rock or regular salt, soy, miso, worcestershire

Herbs/spices – oregano (fresh or dry), cumin, chili powder, chili flakes, rosemary (fresh or dry), mint(fresh ), pepper

Condiments – mustard paste, honey, peanut butter

Acids – lime juice, vinegar, yogurt, wine

Aromatics – onion, garlic, ginger

Different types of Marinade:

Raw – oil, yogurt or vinegar with some spices is used to tender chicken and fish that require short marinating time. Wine or brandy along with herbs is great when used on meats.

Dry – consists of herbs, salt, spices and vinegar or lime juice. For stickiness, the mixture is wet either with water or oil. Dry marinades can also be referred to as rubs. They develop a rich flavoured crust if left on the food while grilling.

Cooked – marinade or sauce is cooked over a prolonged time and is added to the meat when cooled.

There are many different and commonly used marinades like – teriyaki or satay marinades for Asian dishes , yogurt based for Indian or Middle-Eastern dishes or you can go in for some fancy flavoured marinades depending on the oil or vinegar being used – like walnut or hazelnut oil or raspberry flavoured balsamic vinegar. Never the less, there are limitless options that you could try with some of your favourite ingredients.

Marinades Dos and Don’ts:

  1. Marinating you’re meat overnight helps to soak in the flavours. For best results ALWAYS refrigerate.
  2. Do cover containers with marinated meat.
  3. Don’t marinate in aluminum containers or foil to avoid chemical reaction.
  4. Don’t overdo marinating for seafood. Marinate fish only for 30 to 60 minutes for best results.
  5. Never reuse the marinade when touched by raw meat.
  6. Don’t overdo the marinating time beyond 24 hours.

Happy grilling!