For years I have wondered why grilling was such a men’s sport – I thought maybe it’s because it involves “making the fire” or perhaps it has to do with the grilling beverage of choice – beer. I have never let a boy dominated culinary activity bother me (or I would be a school teacher today instead of a chef) but I had to admit that there was something about grilling that even I, with my Napoleon complex, found a little intimidating.
That is until I met Elizabeth – it was at a Weber grilling weekend in California. She worked for Weber for many years and had invited me and several other magazine folks on this press trip to get our hands dirty and learn everything we needed to know about grilling. I was impressed as always with the headliner teacher, Rick Bayliss, but Elizabeth influenced me more. She was a girl who grilled and she really knew her stuff. She got me grilling and we have been good friends ever since. She has gone on to start her own company “Girls at the Grill” and written several cookbooks (see bio below).
Elizabeth’s rapid fire check list for perfect grilling (from “Taming the Flame: Secrets for Hot-and-Quick Grilling and Low-and-Slow BBQ, ”Wiley Publishing, 2005):
1. Use the direct and indirect rules of thumb: Direct method (takes less than 20 minutes to cook); Indirect method (takes more than 20 minutes to cook).
2. Preheat the grill or let the charcoal burn until covered with a white ash.
3. Keep the lid closed while cooking.
4. Oil the food, not the cooking grates
5. Use more salt than you think you need to bring out the natural flavors of the food.
6. Leave the food alone! Only turn once halfway through the cooking time.
7. Use an instant-read thermometer to test for doneness.
8. Let all meat rest a minimum of 5 minutes before carving.
Elizabeth Karmel grew up in North Carolina where she was raised on BBQ. Her cultural passion for barbecue served Karmel well as she played with fire everyday handling marketing public relations efforts and culinary initiatives for client Weber-Stephen Products Co. for a decade before creating Girls at the Grill™ in 2001.
Karmel is a grilling and barbecue information resource for the country’s media and food writers, chefs and cookbook authors. She is frequently quoted and generally regarded as America’s female grilling expert. As the years passed, Karmel realized that her true calling was to spread the good word of grilling and barbecue. Karmel recognized that most women she met – even the women who were very good cooks – never stepped one foot in front of the grill. So she decided it was time for the girls to take back the backyard and she was going to lead the charge!
Karmel created Girls at the Grill in 2001 to share her passion for outdoor cooking with girls (and the occasional guy) everywhere. GirlsattheGrill.com is committed to providing backyard cooks (and women who are tired of burnt chicken and shoe-leather steak) with simple easy-to-understand instructions, lifestyle information and recipes for everything from classic cookouts to gourmet grill meals. Karmel shares her knowledge and enthusiasm every week through the free GrillNEWS newsletter she sends to members of the website’s LadyBug Club. The club boasts thousands of members, both male and female.
Karmel has been the featured guest on Sara Moulton’s Food Network show, Sara’s Secrets many times. Within six hours of the first airing in the summer of 2003, she had a half-million hits to her website and thousands of e-mails. She has also appeared on the Today show multiple times, the MSNBC in-flight programming and local television stations.
Karmel wrote a 368-page grilling and barbecue cookbook, Taming the Flame: Secrets for Hot-and-Quick Grilling and Low-and-Slow BBQ published by John Wiley & Sons and released in May 2005. In addition, she is the resident grilling consultant and an author for FineCooking magazine and has written for Cooking Light, Bon Appetit, Saveur, Chile Pepper, Redbook and Rosie. She has been featured in many more magazines including, Food & Wine, Gourmet, REAL SIMPLE, Marie Claire, Fitness, SHAPE, New York, Midwest Living, Cosmopolitan, PARADE, Wine and Spirits and Wine Spectator. Karmel kicked off www.GirlsattheGrill.com as the guest chef at a James Beard Foundation dinner in June 2002.
Karmel is frequently interviewed by the print and electronic press on all things grill and barbecue related and has represented many manufacturers including All-Clad, The Pork Information Bureau, St. Francis Vineyards and Winery, The Soy Foods Information Council and Kingsford charcoal.