I have a nice barbecue area setup in my outdoor kitchen patio. I have a couple of gas grills that I use together when we are hosting big parties, and I also have my charcoal grills that I use specifically for smoking salmon. One of these is this Char-Broil Grill.
Recommend this product?
It is the perfect size and shape for this purpose! First off, when smoking fish, you really do not want a huge surface area. I usually smoke one salmon fillet at a time. With this grill my results have been perfect every time! We have LOTS of chefs come by for dinner and I get high marks and compliments from all of them.
Using a big grill or one of those fancy smokers is a waste of time and money for fish...they may be good for other things, like making jerky, but I always believe in using the best tool for the best job. Since I only cook fish on my charcoal grill, this grill is all I need.
That said, I bought this grill about ten years ago. I have used it every year - at least ten times a year - and my grill still looks pretty good. No rust, pitting, or flakes like other people have complained about. I simply take good care of the grill and store it properly in a dry shed. More about this later....
I bought the grill when a local hardware store near my old town was going out of business. I bought it back then for $10. It came with the grill body, the cooking grill, and a nice deep cover. The thing I like most about this grill over other small grills is that it is rectangle in shape. This makes it a lot easier to store on a shelf in my patio shed.
The entire unit is made of steel. The grill has a chrome finish. The body and lid have a black, powder-coated finish. The top lid has a handle mounted on it, which over the years became loose and is really the only thing about the unit that shows its age. The legs are also chrome and when not in use, they conveniently fold up to secure the top lid in place. Super cool design!
To use, I simply lay out charcoal briquettes along the bottom. I like to keep them neat and uniform, so I lay them out by hand. I then squirt a little charcoal lighting fluid on it, then ignite it with a match. I let the charcoal catch and get good and hot. Then I add more layers of charcoal on top, and let them burn a while too. Once I have a bed of hot coals, I spread some wet hickory chips over the coals. This causes smoke to come up. I then place marinated salmon pieces on the grill, and put the cover over it. The sucker smokes like crazy so make sure you place the grill a little down-wind from any partying guests.
I open the lid every now and then and turn the fish over to a new side. It is important not to squeeze the fish - keep all of the juice and moisture inside. Also, do not over cook the fish! It is done when it has a golden-orangish-brown color with sear marks from the grill across it.
Once I am finished using the grill, I turn it over onto some bricks and let the coals burn out completely. After several hours, I pick up the grill, clean it off with a hose, wipe it down until it is spanking clean, and store it back in my patio shed for next time.
I have also cooked shish kabob, grilled vegetables, and occasionally meat on this grill. To me, cooking meat - such as hamburgers and hot dogs - is a waste of charcoal since they taste pretty much the same if grilled on a gas grill. Cooking on the gas grill is so much easier and a lot quicker. Like I said before: Use the best tool for the best job.
Ok...time for a bonus! Many chefs have asked me how I marinade my salmon. First, start with seven pounds of good quality, fresh wild salmon (for health reasons, opposed to farmed salmon). Cut the fish into two-inch wide strips and place them in a one gallon ziplock bag. Add about two ounces of olive oil, two ounces of dry white wine, two tablespoons of soy sauce, two tablespoons of minced garlic, one tablespoon of paprika, one tablespoon of salt, one tablespoon of pepper, one tablespoon of lemon juice. Mix all of the ingredients up into the bag, close the ziplock, shuffle it around a bit, then reopen the bad just enough to get all of the air out. Then, stick the mixture into the refrigerator for a few hours - at least three or four hours. Take it out just before you are ready to cook it!
I would highly recommend this grill for cooking fish, as I do. Of course you can cook many other fish or other foods on the grill. I have also cooked bass, flounder, and catfish on the grill and came out with great results (but salmon is my favorite!) Thanks for reading my review and best wishes for a nice day!
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