Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Cheap Pans for Camp Grilling or Home Grilling

There are times when we buy really cheap baking pans for use on the fire or grill. Like the cheap pizza tins, these are usually available at any K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Target, or grocery store. A brand like EZ-Baker from G&S Metal Products Company makes a lightweight steel pan that costs less than $2 and most often are on sale for less than $1 per pan.

We get the plain pans and then season them. Besides being inexpensive, this seasoning is what makes them extra useful over the fire.

Seasoning steel pans is the process of burning/oxidizing some kind of fat over the cooking surface of the pan. The oxidized fat turns into thin layers of carbon. This thin layering of carbon then prevents the food from sticking.

Mary picked up a couple of 7"x1.5" squares, a couple 7"x10x1.5" pans, and a couple 13"x9" cookie sheets.The goal was grilled chicken, grilled yams, and grilled sliced potatoes.

Preparing the pans:
The pans work better and last longer if you season them before use.

At first use this means:
  1. Washing the new pans and rinsing thoroughly.
  2. Drying the pans in heat.
  3. Letting them cool.
  4. Coat the pans with a thin coating of high temperature oil (using a paper towel or some such): peanut, canola, grape seed oil, or--like most people--pork lard.
  5. Place the pans in an oven heated between 250 and 350F. Bake for an hour and run a new coating of oil/lard, return to oven for another hour.
 Let them cool, wipe off, store or use.

Cleaning the seasoned pans is done without much - if any- soap. And typically, after the pan is emptied, scraped, then I'll put some oil on it and set it on the grill/coals to re-season the surface.

(another discussion of seasoning pans)

Using the pans:
For yesterday's picnic at Old Mill State Park we had
  • 2 Split Chickens
  • Yams
  • Potatoes
Split Chicken
  1. Two chickens 3-5lb.
  2. I split them up the sides along the thin ribs below the breast up to the wish bone. Then I chop off the rest of the neck.
  3. The giblets and neck are placed in the bottom of the pan. 
  4. The inside of the back and front halves are seasoned.
  5. The front is placed on the cutting board and pressed until the breastbone breaks or lays flat. 
  6. Put the front in the pan, skin/breast up, tucking the wings.
  7. Put the back in the pan overlapping the bottom of the breast, skin/back up, tucking the drum sticks.
  8. Season the top/skin side. Add other ingredients if desired.
  9. Cover with heavy aluminum foil.

Place on hot coals, takes between 40 minutes to an hour. Use a thermometer to check the breast through the foil, if it's at 182F then it's ready to eat.
You can take them out of the foil and use direct heat if you desire for finishing.

Yams
  1. 4 Medium Yams peeled cut, sliced, with 1 onion, cut and sliced and 4 T butter. Place in smaller square pans, top with onion and butter. 
  2. Cover with heavy aluminum foil. 
  3. place in coals for 30 to 45 minutes.

Potatoes
  1. Slice potatoes thin, coat with a bit of olive oil.
  2. put on cookie sheet, cover with Al foil.
  3. Burn the potatoes up on the coals on the grill. Possibly the sheet was to thin, or I got distracted. Grr.
  4. Throw them away.
  5. Try something different next time.

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