Grilling or roasting over an open fire is an original method of cooking of food - it only requires the control of fire and requires no cooking utensils . Barbecue is one of the world's most popular social pastimes. You can grill in private gardens, on balconies and on public or club-owned barbecue areas. Barbecue equipment and charcoal can be standardized in Germany according to DIN EN 1860. One of the most common symbols on the market is DIN-Geprüft or DINplus.
When grilling, the food is cooked mainly by radiant heat and roasted on the surface. To do this, it is held either with the help of a meat skewer or on a grillage above, next to or under a radiant heat source. Wood fire or embers, gas, stones heated by gas or electric heating loops serve as heat sources. The roasting substances produced during grilling (see Maillard reaction ) lead to the typical taste of the food. Contrary to what is often claimed, grilling with high-quality charcoal does not produce any additional aromatic substances (however, grilling with wood does). In the stationary and mobile gastronomy of western countries, electric or gas-powered grills are almost exclusively used due to the better controllability of the heat. Contact grills, which are also widespread in gastronomy, are not grills in the actual sense, but cooking devices that primarily work with heat conduction .
CO 2 balance of grilling
The CO 2 balance of grilling depends on both the type of energy source used (e.g. coal / gas / electric (input proportions: 62% / 25% / 13%)) and the type of food used (e.g. meat or vegetables ) from. It is estimated that half a billion kilograms of CO 2 are emitted annually in Germany by barbecuing with charcoal grills. Solar and electric grills have the best CO 2 balance, followed by gas grills. The bad CO 2 balance has charcoal grills.
Types of grilling
When grilling directly, the food is placed over the heat source. The high temperatures (up to 260 ° C) on the surface lead to the formation of a crust. When grilling properly, most of the juice remains in the food. To prevent the grilled food from drying out, it can be coated with fat ( e.g. cooking oil ) or a marinade . As a result, higher temperatures are reached in the area of the surface of the food being cooked, but the use of fat produces substances that are harmful to health, provided that they smoke on contact with the heat source and are not dissipated.
Sizzeling is a special kind of direct grilling . Here, a piece of meat is briefly (less than a minute per side) grilled very hot over extreme heat and then cooked to completion at a moderate heat. Some modern gas grill stations in particular have an extra burner zone especially for this type of preparation, in which a ceramic burner is installed, which reaches temperatures of more than 800 degrees Celsius. The advantage of sizzling is the quick appearance of roasted aromas on the surface without actually cooking inside the piece of meat.
With indirect grilling, the food is cooked at a medium to high temperature (approx. 130 to 220 ° C) in a closed grill (often a kettle grill ). The food to be grilled is either next to the heat source or laterally offset above the heat source. The heat therefore does not reach the food directly. Rather, it is reflected on the inside of the grill. The hot air flows evenly around the food. The cooking process is comparable to that in a hot air or convection oven. A bowl can be placed underneath the grilled food to catch dripping fat, meat juice or marinade that runs down, which allows the preparation of a sauce by adding liquid (water, beer, wine), root vegetables and spices.
With indirect grilling, even bulky food can be cooked evenly because the heat has enough time to penetrate the inside without burning the outer layer. In addition, the juices are retained and there is no need to turn the food. The disadvantage is a longer preparation time, which results from the size of the food to be grilled. The taste can be influenced by adding pieces of wood to the charcoal.
Especially with indirect grilling, it is common to soak meat in a marinade for a long time before grilling, in order to allow aromas to penetrate deeply into the meat. Furthermore, pieces of meat that are generally cooked through (such as pork or poultry) can be placed in a brine before seasoning . This removes a certain amount of moisture from the meat, which is intended to make the grilled food more tender (see wet curing ).
Plank grilling is a special form of indirect grilling. For this purpose, a wooden board is watered for several hours and then only dried on the surface with a cloth. The board is oiled on one side and placed with the oiled side up in a kettle grill over the embers, in a gas grill over the flame . After closing the lid, the board will begin to glow and smoke on the underside after about five to ten minutes. Now the food is placed on the oiled side of the plank and the board is pushed onto the indirect side of the grill. There the board slowly continues to glow and smoke on the underside, and the food is cooked indirectly in the hot smoke. This type of preparation is particularly suitable for fish .
In a barbecue smoker , the grilled food is cooked at low temperatures (90 to a maximum of 130 ° C) in hot smoke. Although this process is very different from grilling, the words barbecue and grilling are often used interchangeably . Classic barbecue smokers have a container for the fuel (wood, charcoal or pellets) and a cooking chamber for the food connected to it.
Wood, charcoal or briquettes made from charcoal and lignite are fuels that are not highly flammable. They must therefore be heated strongly over a longer period of time for clean combustion. A good supply of air is also required, as the combustion process requires oxygen. For a uniform glow and to reduce smoke, the fuels should be stored dry. There are different aids and approaches to cheering. Grill lighters are certified in Germany according to DIN EN 1860-3 and are marked with the DIN-Geprüft. This is only valid with a register number and is issued by DIN CERTCO.
Thanks to the chimney effect, the ignition chimney enables the fuel to be ignited easily, reliably and relatively quickly.
Electric grill lighters
Electric grill lighters consist of a heating coil that is placed under the fuel and ignites it. They are emission-free and do not affect the taste of the food. Their only disadvantage is the dependence on a power source.
Chemical grill lighters
Chemical grill lighters are highly flammable and burn long enough to ignite the actual fuel. Apply them before igniting the grill. They are available in liquid form to soak the fuel, in gel-like, viscous form - usually made from kerosene , petroleum or N-paraffin - and in solid form, for example made from waxed wood wool or wood fibers. Chemical grill lighters are expediently placed slightly elevated, then surrounded with loosely layered fuel and then ignited. This means that supporting a fire, for example with a bellows, can almost always be omitted. Chemical grill lighters can affect the taste of the food. This is why it should only be put on when the lighters have completely burned down.
Hot air gun or blowtorch
International forms of grilling
Yakitori is the Japanese variant of grilled fish, meat and vegetable skewers. In Japanese cities you can often find street food stalls and restaurants that have a charcoal grill and offer these grilled chicken skewers. Yakiniku is another variant of grilling, where meat and pieces of vegetables are cooked directly over a small charcoal or gas grill at high temperatures; a method that has spread to Japan and much of Asia. Another grill specialty can be found in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand with the satay . It is meat that is marinated on a bamboo skewer, cooked over a charcoal grill and served with peanut sauce. In the Philippines there is the " Lechon ", a suckling pig that is filled with various herbs and coated with a marinade. In Korea is Bulgogi popular. Thinly sliced beef is marinated and grilled on special tables in which (in the classic variant) a charcoal grill is set in the middle around which the eater sit. More modern variants use gas flames or electricity. The cooked meat is then beaten into a lettuce or sesame leaf with (mostly hot) sauces and other ingredients such as garlic, paprika, pepper, onions, etc. and eaten.
In Argentina and Uruguay, asado and steak a la Parrilla are considered national dishes. Both are variants of grilled meat. Asado is beef grilled over an open fire, steak a la Parrilla is also a beef steak that is cooked on a traditional grill.
Great Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth
In the UK, Ireland and the Commonwealth of Nations , the term describes a barbecue (grilling) usually cooking under a direct source of dry heat. The grill is a separate part of an oven, in which the food can be inserted directly under the grill element. In North America this practice is called broiling . In Australia, the term is understood to mean cooking under direct heat from above, although the heat can sometimes also come from below the food.
When grilling in electric ovens, the food is placed directly below the upper heating elements and the lower heating elements are switched off. The oven door opens slightly. This form of grilling often creates a lot of smoke. Both gas and electric ovens sometimes have their own compartments that are intended for grilling.
United States of America
The American grill culture is called barbecue , which refers to both direct and indirect grilling, as well as cooking in the barbecue smoker . In the USA, the heat always comes from below when grilling. The food to be cooked is typically placed on a grid that leaves a recognizable grill pattern on the food. Barbecuing is usually done outdoors with charcoal or gas grills. A recent development in the USA is grilling with infrared radiation. Another form of grilling can be done with griddle plates , or with electric grills for indoor use.
Adding hickory or mesquite wood chips to charcoal barbecues is a common practice in the United States. The pieces of wood glow under the influence of the heat of the coals and give the food a taste that is typical for the type of wood. The tuxedo is a variation of this grill form in which the wood chips under the food are smoked over low heat. Hardwoods such as pecan , maple , apple or oak can also be added to the coals in the form of chips.
Kabob (US term for kebab) is a modification of kebab with Persian origin, in which pieces of meat are grilled on a skewer (or rotisserie). The product is similar to the satay of Asian cuisine and the Mexican-Yucatan alambre.
In Sweden, grilling is usually done directly over glowing coals. The main meat used is marinated pork. It is also common to grill meat and vegetable pieces together on a spit what Grillspett is called.
In Spain people traditionally grill “a la plancha”. The plancha is a mostly cast iron griddle that is heated with gas or electrically. Grilling with the plancha is one of the indirect grilling methods.
When grilling, little or no fat is added, and any fat escaping from the food can be removed by dripping off. Grilled foods are lower in fat than fried foods, even if the bottom of the pan has a textured surface that collects the escaping fat. There is a risk of cancer if the food is overheated or grilled incorrectly. When grilling, various substances are formed that are classified as carcinogenic by the World Health Organization (WHO) . These include heterocyclic amines , which are formed when meat is seared for a long time at high temperatures. However, you would have to eat about 50 kg of charred grilled meat to absorb about the same amount of these toxins as if you smoke a single cigarette. A new study by the Canadian Food Research Division shows that the heterocyclic amines are formed when grilling, but refutes the fact that they also develop their carcinogenic effects in the human body. According to the study, the charred grilled meat acts as activated carbon, which docks the aromatic hydrocarbons so that they pass through the digestive tract without causing oxidative damage. One way of reducing the amount of amines is to pre-cook the meat (for example in the microwave), which minimizes the time the meat is exposed to high heat.
When grilling directly with charcoal , harmful substances can migrate from the embers and the fat that has dripped into the food. The resulting polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons such as benzo [ a ] pyrene are considered to be carcinogenic . This risk does not exist with indirect grilling, as the fat cannot drip from the grilled food into the embers.
There is evidence that typical barbecue spices such as mustard , thyme , oregano , rosemary and sage , as well as beer , largely prevent the absorption of these hydrocarbons, for example because the flavonoids they contain bind firmly to the hydrocarbons. These are excreted unchanged from the body.
Chinese researchers have also found that grilling fish is said to lower its mercury levels. The high temperatures are said to modify the bioavailability of the heavy metal.
When grilling, embers are usually handled and so a suitable barbecue area must first be selected. Suitable tools such as the choice of grill lighter and its use, safe handling of the food to be grilled with grill tongs or other things are also a prerequisite for avoiding dangers and hazards . In Germany, up to 4,000 barbecue accidents occur every year, 500 of them with severe burns . Most of them are caused by the use of unsuitable fire accelerators , such as gasoline or alcohol (spirit) as lighters. High flashes and large-scale deflagrations can occur. Often the container with the fire accelerator ignites and people in a wide area around the grill can suffer severe burns.
Even regular liquid grill lighters can lead to explosive deflagrations if they are poured onto coal that is already glowing. Since liquid grill lighters can lead to poisoning in children, the Professional Association of Pediatricians (BVKJ) recommends the use of electric grill lighters or solid lighters.
Death from carbon monoxide intoxication is the consequence of bringing the grill, even if it has cooled down, into closed rooms or operating it there. The resulting gas, carbon monoxide, collects in closed rooms, is odorless and goes unnoticed.
As with all devices, the use of unsuitable materials is also dangerous. For example, Stiftung Warentest has found out on individual, tested electric grills that glass lids break due to the heat from the grill and that there is a corresponding risk of injury from the splinters.
In German-speaking countries, barbecuing in the garden or on the balcony is a common reason for neighborhood disputes that preoccupy the courts. There is no clear legal regulation (except in Brandenburg), but depends on local custom and discretion . Last but not least, it depends on whether it is a wood or charcoal grill or a low-emission gas or electric grill . It is generally more difficult for property or apartment owners to refuse barbecues than tenants and tenants. Sometimes a barbecue ban is the subject of house rules in buildings or specifications for parks.
- Grilling on the balcony of an apartment building can be forbidden by a regulation in the house rules ( Essen Regional Court ).
- According to a ruling by the Bonn district court , tenants in an apartment building are allowed to barbecue on the balcony once a month during the warm season, but must inform their neighbors 48 hours in advance.
- According to a ruling by the Stuttgart Regional Court , barbecues are allowed for two hours three times a year.
- According to a ruling by the Munich District Court , barbecuing is common in the summer and must be tolerated (Az. 15 S 22735/03).
- Brandenburg: According to the state pollution control laws, grilling is forbidden here if it causes uninvolved neighbors to be "significantly annoyed" by smoke and smoke entering their living rooms or bedrooms. If these regulations are violated, a fine must be paid. Those affected can call the police.
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