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Cooking Methods

Grilling Wild Game

Capt. Lewis
Tuesday July 16th 1805.

Drewyer killed a buffaloe this morning near the Chinook Salmon
Columbia River
river and we halted and breakfasted on it. here for the first time I ate of the small guts of the buffaloe cooked over a blazing fire in the Indian stile without any preperation of washing or other clensing and found them very good.-
Grilling and barbecuing can be done using wood, charcoal or gas.

Wood adds a nice smoke flavor to the meat but it requires more attention in order to maintain a consistent temperature.  
The heat is easier to regulate when using charcoal and if hardwood charcoal is used a slight wood smoke flavor is added to the meat.
A gas grill provides the greatest control over the cooking temperature but it does not impart the smoke flavor unless wood chips and lava rocks are used.

It is a matter of personal preference whether you use wood, charcoal, or gas and with proper care and cooking techniques there would be little difference in the quality and flavor of the final meat dish.

You can grill food by placing the food directly over the flames or coals or indirectly by moving the food to one side so it is not directly over the high heat.

The direct cooking is a good method for steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, fish and skewered meats.  
The temperature is often in excess of 500 degrees F which is sufficiently high to add flavor to the meat similar to that when meat is browned before cooking. (See Note below)
The indirect method is best for large cuts of meat or bone-in birds.
This method cooks the meat at a lower temperature and allows the meat to cook all the way through without charring the meat.
Most of the time, barbecuing is done using the indirect cooking method.

You can add flavor to the meat you plan to grill or barbecue by using marinades, rubs, barbecue sauces, and smoke.  Information on marinades, rubs and sauces can be found in the Recipe section of this site and smoking is discussed in this section - Cooking Methods.

Note: If you do a lot of grilling, recent studies suggest there may be a cancer risk from eating meat cooked by high-heat methods such as grilling, frying and broiling.  The USDA suggest that the following precaution be taken to reduce this risks:

To prevent charring, remove visible fat that can cause a flare-up.
Precook meat in a microwave immediately before placing  it on the grill to release some of the juices that can drop on coals.
Cook food in the center of the grill and move coals to the side to prevent fat and juices from dripping on them.
Cut charred portions off the meat

The USDA states that based on present research finding, eating moderate amounts of grilled meats like fish, meat and poultry cooked to a safe temperature (without charring) does not pose a problem.