Kingsford #TailgateForOurTroops BBQ

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

DISCLOSURE: I received free products to facilitate this post from Crowdtap. All opinions are my own.

Growing up, my parents always used a charcoal grill.  That was the only kind of grill I knew.  I learned how to grill meat sticks, ribs and chicken wings with my Dad in the backyard and at the park. 

Once I got married, my husband became the "grillmaster."  We've only been using a gas grill since.  While I like the convenience of a gas grill, I do sometimes miss the flavor that a charcoal grill imparts that I don't get when we cook on a gas grill.

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in Kingsford Charcoal's #TailgateForOurTroops program.  In partnership with ESPN and ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstriet, Kingsford Charcoal is supporting the families of US troops.  For each tweet with the #TailgateForOurTroops, Kingsford Charcoal will donate $1 to The Folds of Honor Foundation until they hit their goal of $50,000. The Folds of Honor Foundation works to give back to the spouses and children of soldiers killed or disabled in service to our country.

I was sent a Kingsford Charcoal branded apron, a copy of "Fire and Smoke" by world champion pitmaster Chris Lilly, and a coupon for a free bag of Kingsford Charcoal.

Since we didn't own a charcoal grill, we borrowed my Dad's little grill that he had at home.  It wasn't as big as our gas grill, but it would work.  With my crazy schedule (pretty much working every weekend until our trip to Disney in November!) , it was hard to coordinate a time where we could get a lot of people to come over for BBQ.  We ended up inviting my husband's parents over for dinner one weekend that I was free.

My Dad's cute little charcoal grill
For the dinner with my in-laws, I didn't have a chance to look through the "Fire and Smoke" book for menu ideas.  Instead, we marinated some chicken and cooked up some of the remaining veggies that we had from our local CSA.  We also decided to make some hot dogs and brats so the kids had more to eat.  Since the grill was a little small, my husband had the idea of grilling half the food on the charcoal grill and half on our gas grill and see if people could tell the difference.

It had been so long since we last used a charcoal grill.  My husband almost forgot to pick up lighter fluid when he got the charcoal at the grocery store!  Here he is with his too-short apron on before he started grilling:

With a gas grill, there isn't much prep work needed before you can start cooking. You pretty much turn it on, let it warm up and you're set!  With a charcoal grill, there's more to it.

My husband getting the charcoal ready.
Once my husband lit the lighter fluid with a match, though, the smell that filled the air was that distinct smell of a BBQ.  That's the smell that I equate with good BBQ.  It made me think of grilling outside in the backyard with my Dad.

After the charcoal was ready, my husband put some of the marinated chicken, hot dogs, brats and veggies on the charcoal grill.  Then, he put the rest on our gas grill.

Not surprisingly, the gas grill cooked faster and held more than the charcoal grill.  Once we plated the food, we let everyone take some and see if they could tell the difference.

My kids didn't really notice a difference.  But my in-laws knew they preferred the meat cooked on the charcoal grill.  My husband, though, thought the veggies tasted better when they were cooked on the gas grill.

My husband and I liked how the meat tasted after cooking on the charcoal grill so much that we used my Dad's charcoal grill several more times and even bought more charcoal.  (Shh, we still have it right now!)  We also tried one of the recipes from the "Fire and Smoke" book here.  It was so good! We hope to make more recipes from it!

What do you use to grill? Do you prefer gas or charcoal?

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