We keep a nice charcoal grill at work. We have three or four team-wide barbecues a year, and we use it for those. And sometimes our tech support guy decides it’d be a good day for burgers, and does them for a smaller group.
I saw him grilling bacon a couple of weeks ago, which is something that had never occurred to me. It’s really tasty that way. So I tried it at home for burgers, and it came out great. Then I did it for BLTs, again satisfactorily. Grilling bacon isn’t difficult, but the window of perfection is small. Too cold, and it takes forever; too hot, and it burns (and it goes from marginal to gone in a big damned hurry).
So, with two successful outings, ahem, I know what I’m doing.
When I tried it again for Sunday breakfast, I destroyed two pieces completely (ash); four more were predominantly black; and the rest was fine, once you pinched the burned spots off the edges.
Lesson: on a grill at 400 ºF, you have to turn bacon every two minutes. Two and a half is too long. Meta-lesson: do something much more than twice before you decide you know what you’re doing.
I couldn’t help but chuckle at that experience after I prepared our blackened mahi-mahi tonight. I’m a novice blackener. Tonight was the third time I’ve ever done it. The first two times, I upped the butter a little bit, lowered the heat a little bit, and used a teflon skillet. It was lovely, if a little worse for us than it might have been.
Tonight, I went authentic. Cast iron, just a brush of butter, and go.
Oh, wow. That’s some smoke, folks. That’s freak-out-the-kids, throw-open-the-windows, go-out-for-some-air smoke. Although, the smoke alarm didn’t go off, which is vaguely troubling. The air quality and visibility were both definitely compromised. I’ll have to do some diagnostics.
In any case, the fish was delicious, so at least I didn’t mess that up. I think I’ll stick with the cast iron skillet, but it’s definitely going on the grill next time.
‘Cause, you know, now I know what I’m doing.