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'90S BARBECUING RAISES THE STAKES TO SOPHISTICATION

'90S BARBECUING RAISES THE STAKES TO SOPHISTICATION

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It is time to bring your basic barbecuing into the '90s. These days you can grill everything from exotic ethnic dishes to fancy desserts like the kind you get in trendy brick-oven restaurants.

``Barbecuing has become a lot more sophisticated in the past couple of years,' says Betty A. Hughes, consumer affairs director for Weber, the grill manufacturer.``People are venturing out and doing all sorts of wonderful things on their barbecue grills,' she says. Those ``wonderful things' include everything from smoking whole turkeys to grilling tropical fruit kabobs and baking New Zealand-style shortcake.

Not only are barbecuers expanding their menus, they are also expanding their cooking skills. These days, Hughes says, the smart barbecuer actually builds the fire to match the kind of food he's cooking.

The old-fashioned direct grilling method with coals spread along the base of the grill is fine for flat foods such as burgers, steaks and chops.

But for foods that require more than 25 minutes grilling time or those that normally would be baked or roasted, the best answer is the indirect method. Coals are piled on the sides rather than directly underneath and when the lid of the cooker is closed the grill works like a convection oven.

Hughes says that the indirect method is one of her favorite ways to cook because the food does not need a lot of attention. Constant turning and manning the fire is not necessary, making this a perfect answer for care-free entertaining. In fact, if you peek, you pay. Every time you uncover the grill, heat escapes and you add as much as 15 minutes to the cooking time. Foods should cook the minimum time suggested in the recipe before you check for doneness.

The following recipe is from ``The Random House Barbecue and Summer Foods Cookbook,' (Random House; $19.95).\

Lemon-Rosemary\ Grilled Chicken

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 (2 1/2 pound) chicken

2 tablespoons liquid honey

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper Set up grill for indirect cooking.

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, oil, rosemary and garlic. Transfer to shallow glass dish large enough to hold chicken in a single layer and set aside.

Using a sharp knife, remove wing tips from chicken. Place bird, breast side down, on a cutting board. Using poultry shears or sharp knife, cut along one side of backbone. Spread chicken apart to lie flat. Using poultry shears or knife, cut along each side of breastbone. Trim off all fat and excess skin.

Place chicken halves between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Using smooth mallet, flatten halves for more even cooking.

Place halves in a shallow dish with marinade, turning to coat. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or in refrigerator for 2 hours, turning occasionally. (If marinated in refrigerator, let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.)

Remove halves from marinade; drain well, reserving marinade.

Place chicken, bone side down on center of grill, place cover down and grill for 1 to 1 hours.

During the last 10 minutes of grilling, stir honey and mustard into reserved marinade and brush over chicken, cooking until juices run clear when the chicken is pierced.

You can speed up the cooking process by using the direct method. For this method, place chicken, bone side down, on grill over medium-hot coals or gas grill on medium setting; cook, covered 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown, watching carefully to avoid flare-ups.

Turn halves over; cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Stir honey and mustard into reserved marinade; brush over chicken and cook, turning and brushing with marinade for 10 to 15 minutes longer or until juices run clear when the chicken is pierced.

Whichever method you use, when the chicken is done, season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut halves into quarters to serve. Makes four servings.\

The following recipe comes from the Beef Industry Council of The Meat Board. It's a 1990 National Beef Cook-Off winner.\

Indonesian Beef Satay

1 pound beef flank Steak

3 to 4 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

1 teaspoon packed light-brown sugar

1 clove garlic minced

teaspoon curry powder

Peanut Curry Sauce

Condiments such as fresh pineapple chunks, cucumber chunks, green onion brushes and red bell pepper strips as desired

Partially freeze beef flank steak to firm. Meanwhile soak 12 10-inch bamboo skewers in water at least 10 minutes. Combine soy sauce, oil, onion, brown sugar, garlic and curry powder. Cut steak slices diagonally against the grain into -inch slices. Thread equal amounts of beef slices tightly (weaving back and forth in 1/2-inch folds) on each skewer. Place beef skewers and marinade in utility dish, turning to coat. Cover dish and marinate in refrigerator 3 to 4 hours or overnight, if desired, turning occasionally. Prepare Peanut Curry Sauce. Removed beef skewers from marinade; bring marinade to a boil. Place skewers on grid over medium coals. Grill 5 to 6 minutes or to desired doneness, turning occasionally brushing with cooked marinade. Garnish with fresh fruit and vegetable condiments. Serve with Peanut Curry Sauce. Makes 4 servings.\ Peanut Curry Sauce

1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt

2 tablespoons each of cream of coconut and creamy peanut butter

teaspoon each curry powder and grated fresh ginger

Combine yogurt, cream of coconut, peanut butter, curry powder and ginger in bowl; mix well. Yield: about cup.

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