Those of you who play or follow golf have quite possibly heard of a past great golf teacher by the name of Harvey Penick, who was an early golf professional who transitioned into being a golf coach for the University of Texas for over 30 years, followed by becoming one of the most respected coaches of golf professionals, many whom have been inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Penick was also inducted posthumously in 2002. One of those golf professionals is Ben Crenshaw, who worked with Penick as far back as his junior golf years and who later received lessons from Penick literally from Penick’s deathbed in 1995.
At Penick’s passing, Crenshaw served as a pallbearer at Penick’s funeral, and with limited preparation teed it up the next day at The Masters. At age 43, Crenshaw came out of nowhere and unexpectedly won in one of the most emotional and inspirational victories in the history of golf. Crenshaw was quoted as saying “I had a 15th club in my bag,” referring to his longtime mentor and coach. For those of you who don’t know much about golf, we are limited to 14 clubs
Penick wrote a classic book in 1992, just three years before his death at the age of 90 called “Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book.” It’s an awesome book filled with his views on all aspects of becoming a better player. They are presented in short, pithy and sometimes funny commentary, filled with common sense.
One of my favorites is the following: “Golf tips are like aspirin. One may do you good, but if you swallow the whole bottle you will be lucky to survive.” So consider today’s column my “Dave Lobeck’s Little BBQ Book,” but limited to my Top 10 BBQ and grilling tips and observations.
1. Learn how to use the “indirect heat” method. I can’t tell you how often I use this method whether grilling on charcoal or gas. It puts you in total control.
2. Please learn how to make pulled pork BBQ. There are so many videos on how to do this whether using gas, charcoal or a smoker. When you can successfully present a good pulled pork sandwich, you had arrived as an outdoor chef. And really, all it takes is patience. Trust me, it isn’t hard to do.
3. Purchase an outdoor wok – the kind with holes in it. We use this a lot with chopped vegetables and shrimp.
4. Never put meat and vegetables on the same shishkabob stick. Big time pet peeve of mine. They cook at different rates. Keep them separated.
5. Have proper tools. Another pet peeve of mine. I hate it when I see people grilling and using a spatula that obviously was intended for indoors. For my Second Amendment readers that would be like showing up at a shooting range with a BB gun.
6. Keep the grill clean. This one may seem obvious, but you would be surprised what I see at times.
7. Get good at making rubs. Good rubs add flavor, color and texture. While there are many rubs commercially available, learn to make your own rubs.
8. For goodness sake, quit piercing the meat. Every time you cut into the meat to see if it’s cooked to your liking, you are letting moisture escape at a time when the fluids in the meat are flying around. Use a thermometer or better yet, learn to tell by touch.
9. Go find some antique cast iron. I now use cast iron on my grill all the time.
10. Don’t squish your burgers. This is similar to not piercing your meat. All you are doing is pushing out the moisture.
There are so many additional points I want to make, but I think I am already pushing it on the size of this column. But, please indulge me on one last thought in these stressful times.
Please try to use food as a way to build bridges. Once you have broken bread with someone over good food, you can’t help but have a friend.