Saturday, September 13, 2008

Super Saturday #1

Flower Pot Grill

Picking a pot
A good ceramic (terra cotta) flower pot makes the perfect vessel for a quick grill. The ceramic material holds in and focuses heat while insulating the outside. The shape and size of a 10 inch pot is perfect for a few kebabs and the charcoal will stay hot for hours of cooking fun. And, of course, a ceramic flower pot is very inexpensive.
What you want to buy is a good quality 10 or 12 inch ceramic flower pot with two saucer. We'll get to why you need two saucers for each pot later. You will also need some sand, enough to nearly half fill the pot. This is all you need for the grill. Of course you will also need charcoal and some skewers, as well as something to cook, but the grill is done.

Preparing the pot
Place your flower pot onto the saucer. Flower pots have a hole in the bottom and you don't want your sand to pour out through that hole so from this point onward the pot and saucer have to be kept together. Fortunately the saucer will remain cool no matter how hot the pot gets so you can handle the pot by the saucer, but please, be very careful.
The pot needs to be nearly half full of sand. The sand insulated the bottom of the pot from the heat so you can set your flower pot grill on surfaces that won't take the heat. Of course you need to keep flammable materials far away from your flower pot grills.

Building your fire
For a single 10 inch flower pot grill you will want about 12 to 14 standard charcoal briquettes. You will want them burning when they go into the pot. So you need something to light the charcoal in and a way to move the hot coals into the pot.
To light the charcoal a charcoal chimney works great. This will let you quickly and easily light plenty of charcoal. Light the charcoal and with a pair of tongs transfer the burning hot coals into the flowerpot on top of the sand. The coals do not have to be completely ready (white and ashy) yet, but they need to be hot and burning.

{B}Transportation Problem: Moving a hot flower pot grill, heavy with sand and burning coals can be difficult and dangerous. However, filling a flower pot with burning hot coals sitting on a table can also be dangerous. You can choose to do either. I tend to fill the pots on the table and not try to move them too much. I fill the pots with the table clears and everyone a safe distance away. Use a pair of good tongs to pick up the coals one by one to place inside the pot.

You need a single layer of coals in your pot. Do not over fill them because the excess heat can cause your pot to crack or break.

Cooking on your pot
You can spend days trying to find the perfect cooking grate for your flower pot so you can set a single burger patty on it, one at a time. Or you can choose the smart path and go with kebabs for your flower pot cookout. A 10 inch flower pot can hold three good sized kebabs and cook them in about 10 minutes. Since you have the pot handy your guests can take turns grilling up a wide range of foods over the course of the two hours that your flower pot grill will stay hot.
Most of all have a good time.
I said that you needed two saucers for each pot but I haven't told you what to do with that second saucer yet. When you are done cooking on your flower pot grill, place the second saucer on top of the pot to extinguish the fire. Warning: Do not pour water into your flower pot grill. The sudden shock of cold can break you pot, making a very big m

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