Myron Mixon Discusses Barbecue and Great Grilling
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Mixon’s line of smokers is not the only Connecticut-made option on the market.
Kenyon All Seasons Grills, produced in Clinton, have over 70 different varieties of electric grills (right). Kenyon is the largest manufacturer of two-burner ceramic glass cooktops and stainless-steel electric grills in North America. Kenyon grills produce virtually no smoke, which allows people to grill outside or indoors and is at the other end of the spectrum from Mixon’s grills.
According to Kenyon President Phil Williams, the company’s best seller is the Floridian All Seasons Built-In Electric Grill, a 120V electric grill that can preheat in less than 7 minutes. The model costs $1,125.
Many of Kenyon’s grills have won awards including the Floridian, which was named a finalist in the Vesta Award for innovation in design and technology in 2008. In 2009, another of their designs, the Texan All Seasons Grill, was a finalist for the same award.
However, there are many options between electric grills and commercial smokers. John Tarquinio, owner of Fireside Supply in Hebron, explains that there are three major categories of grills for the average backyard barbecue—gas, charcoal and pellet. The right grill for each consumer is entirely dependent on what they’re hoping to accomplish.
“Gas is generally good for fast cooking,” says Tarquinio. “For people who want to fire it up, throw a steak on it, sear it on both sides and go eat dinner.”
Charcoal is better for slower cooking at a lower temperature, says Tarquinio. It infuses a smoke flavor into the food. Meat cooked on a charcoal grill is usually moist in the center and crisp on the outside.
Pellets—hardwood compressed to look like long pills—produce similar cooking results to charcoal. “It’s more convenient for ramping up and ramping down,” says Tarquinio.
One charcoal grill, popular at Fireside Supply, Inc. and elsewhere, is The Big Green Egg (left). Tarquinio says the grill has a kind of “cult following.”
“The Big Green Egg is the best charcoal grill out there,” he says. The unique dome shape circulates the hot air around the food, the inverse of a rotisserie oven, which rotates food.
According to its website, The Big Green Egg is a modern-day evolution of ancient cookers, with a design that “is modeled on the clay cooking vessels first seen during the Chinese Qin Dynasty and then used by the Japanese beginning in the 3rd century.”
The Big Green Egg, originated in Atlanta, is now the world’s largest producer and international distributer of the high-quality ceramic cooking system. There are now six different sizes of Eggs.
Barbecue really is the “it” food these days. Between television shows, cookbooks and blogs, there are a lot of lessons out there on how to perfect your cooking techniques. But when picking the right grill, consider your needs. Do you want fast or slow cooking? Do you want a deep smoky flavor or just a good char? Looking to get into the competition circuit? Ask around. The professionals will be able to help you select the grill or smoker that’s right for you.
And take Mixon’s advice—don’t stress. “Barbecue is very simple food,” says the barbecue champion. “It’s very enjoyable.”