Archive for October, 2010

Grilling Umbrian Style

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

I am a big fan of grilling. For many years I used a Weber grill with charcoal. Since moving to Santa Barbara, I have grilled with gas. You can argue that it has a bit less flavor; but the upside is that it’s so much easier. For example, I can grill sausages for lunch in about 15 minutes.

Today I am in Umbria on vacation, and I have learned a new way to grill – using wood. Actually you build a fire using twigs, branches and logs. As the wood burns, it turns into charcoal which fall through the grates.

Building a fire
Building a fire

After about an hour (or 2 hours if you are grilling a lot), you have homemade charcoal. When you believe that you have made enough coals for your meal, you shovel these glowing embers in front of the grate and voila…you have bed of charcoal ready to begin grilling. I grilled lamb chops  that I bought at the local butcher. I would guess the chops were a shoulder cut, but they looked different than the chops I have purchased in the states.  I rubbed the chops with olive oil and added rosemary, salt and pepper.

Grilling Lamb Chops
Grilling Lamb Chops

Although these chops had more fat than those that I would typically buy, the fire did not flare up as I would expected. Grilling over natural coals worked very well. The fire added just the right amount of heat; but more importantly added an extraordinary amount of flavor. Lamb chops Umbrian style – delicious.

Grilled Chops
Grilled Chops

I’ll share other highlights from Umbria, and other areas in Italy, as I get an internet connection. Ciao.