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Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Cooking and Produce


Ready, Set, Go! Barbecue

Karma Metzgar, C.F.C.S., regional director, Northwest Region, University of Missouri Extension


While some save barbecuing for summer, we strike up the grill nearly every week of the year - if I don’t let the grill tank run out of gas.

I consider myself a fairly plain griller. Put the food on the grill, turn occasionally, and get it on the plate before it’s a burnt offering! Sometimes I like to baste for added flavors. Others like to marinade or marinate their foods. It’s really a matter of how far you plan ahead.

What does marinade or marinate mean? Marinade is a seasoned liquid mixture that adds flavor and in some cases helps tenderize. Some marinades are homemade mixtures. Other times they are bottled dressings or sauces. Marinate means to steep the food in a marinade. If the meat is a tender cut, marinate it for a short time, or you’ll have a mushy, soft entree!

Whenever marinating, do it in the refrigerator. If your recipe calls for basting the cooking meat with marinade, reserve some of the mixture which HAS NOT been in contact with the raw meat. Otherwise, you are contaminating cooked meat with raw meat juices - a food safety NO-NO. Instead of using a basting brush to apply the marinade, to prevent cross-contamination, try applying with a spray bottle or a bottle with a squirt top.

The same contamination can happen when the plate, which held the raw meat, is used for the cooked meat. Also avoid using the fork or turner which touched the raw meat to turn or check the cooked meat. It’s best to use a different turner each time or rinse with warm soapy water in between uses.

A favorite homemade basting sauce of mine is one Vilas Young, retired University Extension Area Director, shared with me years ago. Many Extension events featured this with pork chops, however, I like to use it on chicken, fish, pork and beef. I also use it to baste vegetables. It’s delicious multi-purpose sauce and it’s inexpensive to make.

Multi-Purpose Basting Sauce

(three-fourths) cup wine vinegar
3 tablespoons cooking oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped green peppers
1 tablespoon salt (optional)
1 can (6 ounce) frozen pineapple juice concentrate
(one-half) cup dark brown sugar
1 (one and one-half) teaspoons soy sauce (optional)

Combine all ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes. This is enough sauce for about 25 3-5 ounce portions of meat. I generally reserve what I need at the time for basting and refrigerate any remaining sauce, planning to use within 2 weeks.

Cook the meat on medium coals or heat. Baste on each side the last 15 minutes of cooking. If you use this sauce as a marinade, turn the meat frequently to prevent burning as the sugar content is high and browns (and burns) easily.

Some tips to successful grilling are to use a medium heat, trim excess fat to avoid flair-ups, and to use a thawed product.

While you have the grill going for your entree, include the fruits and vegetables too. My favorites to grill are peppers, onions, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, pineapple chunks, and new potatoes. These are easy to put on skewers and keeps the heat out of the kitchen.

If you have questions about barbecue food safety, call your local University Extension Center or the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-800-535-4555.







Last update: Monday, April 19, 2010





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