Basting Meat
When using a dry rub during barbecuing, always allow the meat to cook for about 1/3 to 1/2 of the total cooking time before applying any basting sauce. This cooking time allows the meat to become warm enough to start absorbing the dry rub seasonings, and also allows the dry rub to adhere to the meat properly. If you begin to baste too early in the process, you’ll rinse off the dry rub seasonings. About ½ way through the cooking time, feel free to baste as you wish, though probably not more often than every 20 minutes, or so.

How about cooking with Garlic?
Garlic was first introduced to the United States by missionaries, who brought it to California originally. Today, California produces over 90% of all the garlic consumed in the United States – over 500,000,000 pounds annually – and most of that comes from Gilroy, CA – the self proclaimed garlic capital of the world.

Garlic is a member of the allium (lily) family and is a close relative of the onion. A single garlic bulb is composed of 8-12 sections, called cloves, which are held together by a parchment-like covering.

Garlic should be stored in an open container in a fairly cool dark place, as the intact garlic bulb will remain fresh for up to 8 weeks. Whenever possible, always use fresh garlic as opposed to bottled, juiced, etc., though garlic flakes and powder can be used in dry rubs.

Preparing Pork Ribs
When preparing ribs for barbecuing, and just before putting a dry rub on the ribs, try lightly coating them with some ordinary yellow mustard – even if you hate mustard. However, you’ll discover that the taste is unnoticeable with the smoke and spice. What is important is that the mustard does two wonderful things – it helps hold on the dry rub so less will fall off and the ribs will be tastier, and second, it helps set up a nice tender crust on the ribs.

Added flavor to Chicken
Whether cooking whole chicken or chicken parts, always be sure to rinse with clean water and trim any extra fat from the body of the chicken (or any remaining after chicken has been cut up). After paper towel drying the chicken, use a light olive oil to coat all sides of the chicken, especially if you are using a dry rub. The oil will keep the skin from drying out and the dry rub attached while the meat is being cooked. Be sure to coat all sides of chicken with your dry rub. Then carefully, without tearing the skin, slide your fingers between the skin and the meat wherever possible and sprinkle the rub between the skin and in the meat, rubbing it in thoroughly. This procedure will allow the flavor to reach the meat, especially if you discard the skin before eating.

Flavorful Salmon
Without a doubt, salmon has to be one of the most flavorful fish in the world. Its flesh is hardy and robust, and it will easily stand up to stronger seasonings and wood flavors. If you decide to flavor with wood, perhaps the most recommended wood to be used for salmon is alder, which comes from the Pacific Northwest of United States. Alder is available in chips, chunks or logs with chips being the most popular and plentiful.

If you are unable to find alder you might also try one of the fruit tree woods – such as cherry, peach, apple, etc. Yet another popular method for cooking salmon is directly on cedar planks. About an hour before you want to begin cooking, soak the cedar plank in water for about an hour, and then towel dry it. Place your salmon, skin-side down, on the cedar plank and then season the fish, to taste. The plank is then placed directly over the fire so as to be charred on the bottom during the cooking process. This charring imparts a wonderful flavor to the salmon.

Flavor offering veggies
Vegetables can provide very delectable flavorings to your barbecued meals. In fact, one of the best ways to add flavor “through the air around the meat” is via cooked vegetables. For instance, you can take an onion, chop it coarsely, then lightly coat with olive oil and wrap it in aluminum foil. Finally place it near or on the fire so that the onions begin to cook slowly – within a few minutes, the exhaust from your grill will smell heavenly – and you can only imagine how wonderful the meat will taste.

Just before the onions are all burned up, remove them so you can enjoy snacking on them while the meat finishes cooking. You might even want to experiment and season the onions prior to placing them in your grill. Just remember, they need to be down by the fire where they can cook and release their aroma. You can enjoy similar, wonderful results with garlic, bell peppers or anything else you might think of – experiment, mix and match – and just have fun. You’ll be amazed at how delightfully vegetables can add to your barbecuing experience.

Most shrimp is sold as either frozen or freshly thawed (previously frozen). When selecting thawed shrimp, make certain that they are not “mushy” and do not have freezer burn (light gray areas that look suspect). Ask the seafood merchandiser to give you one so you can feel the texture and make sure it is firm, moist and has no ammonia or decay smell.

If you live in an area where you have access to fresh shrimp it is still important to make sure that they smell fresh and not like ammonia.