Grilling Blackened Fish, Meat, and Poultry

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Blackening is the name given
to a quick-cooking process developed by New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme. Blackening produces a peppery black crust, while searing in all the juices and flavor, which makes it a great choice for the grill.

Blackened meat can be served with a variety of side dishes and made with all kinds of meat or poultry. As long as the meat is relatively thin and has the same consistency, it should be a good candidate for blackening.

Blackening fish is a technique that can also be used for seafood. It can also be used for vegetables.

In order to achieve the perfect blackened food, you'll need the following four elements:

  • A zesty mixture of pepper and other seasonings

  • A relatively thin, uniform piece of food

  • Melted butter -- lots of it

  • A very hot fire to seal in the juices and blacken the crust.
To blacken your favorite recipes for the grill, follow these easy steps:
  1. Mix blackening spices in a small bowl or use a commercial blackening mix sold in your local supermarket.

    Blacken summer recipes for grilling. Spice up your favorite grilled shrimp and grilled salmon recipes.
    © 2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    One classic mix includes paprika,
    garlic salt, thyme, and three types
    of ground pepper: white, black, and red.

  2. Prepare barbecue grill for direct cooking.

  3. Melt butter in a microwave-safe pie plate.

  4. Dip meat (4 to 6 ounces each) into melted butter; shake to remove excess.

          Blacken summer recipes for grilling. Spice up your favorite grilled recipes.
    © 2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    After you've melted the butter in a
    microwave-safe plate, coat both sides
    evenly with melted butter.

  5. Sprinkle blackening mix on food and rub in well on both sides. At this point, some chefs dip into the melted butter again before grilling.

          Blacken summer recipes for grilling. Spice up your favorite grilled recipes.
    © 2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Use your fingertips to rub in the spices.

  6. Hot, Hot, Hot!
    • Regular charcoal doesn't burn hot enough to grill blackened foods.
    • Use a hardwood charcoal. It takes longer to heat up, but results in a much hotter fire.
    • If hardwood charcoal is not available, scatter dry hardwood mesquite or hickory chunks over the hot fire to ratchet up the temperature.
    Place the meat on very hot preheated grid -- this causes flare-ups and some pretty spicy fumes, so be careful.

  7. Grill quickly, on a covered grill, over very hot coals 4 to 6 minutes or until tested with a fork, turning halfway through grilling time.
Those are the basic steps that you'll need to blacken meat on the barbeque grill. Remember you can use any kind of meat that suits your fancy, as long as the meat is thinly sliced and relatively even in consistency.

Learn what to do with grilled pork in the next section.

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