Barbecuing Meat the Sicilian Way Recipe

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Summer days are great barbecue days.

Are American barbecuers spoiled?
Having lived almost 40 years in the US of A, I include myself in this picture.

For the average American household barbecuing with coals seems to be too much trouble. It seems that 63% of Americans prefer gas grilling over charcoal. It is just so much easier to turn on the knob to release gas through the veins of the grill and poof… there goes your effortless flame to give you an almost real barbecue.

My neighbor Peter, has been using his Weber charcoal grill for years.
When I first moved in, I thought, how odd, that such a well to do couple, who have a great fishing related business ( take countless vacations a year, buy the best food around, have a lovely house on the water, would skimp on a having an easy to use grill. It really seemed strange and out of sync.

Well over the years, several times a week I watch him prepare his grill for dinner and cook up something so great smelling that leaves me thinking, “He uses his grill so often during the week, winter, spring, summer and fall, and yet it seems so tedious to clean the ashes, afterwards. Is it worth the effort? I, on the other hand, use my so convenient grill much more seldom than he, and yet I think we both like the taste of grilling just as much.”

I finally asked Peter how inconvenient is it to use his charcoal grill? Isn’t it a pain to wait for the grill to fire up and worse, how about cleaning the grill?

Well you’ll never believe his answer. It’s not inconvenient at all, he just starts his grill ten minutes before I would start mine and cleaning is just letting the ashes fall into a bag. In fact there is less cleaning since he doesn’t have to keep his grill sparkling stainless steel clean, and since food tastes better with charcoals and wood, he finds it a pleasure to use it quite often. In fact I recently found out that competitive cooks wouldn’t be caught dead near gas grills. The flavor is just not comparable.

Ohhhhh…. Now I see!
Well I have became jealous of Peter’s barbecuing experience and wanted a charcoal grill myself. So I asked my husband to turn our existing gas grill into a charcoal grill. Bought some hardware and aluminum plates to hold the charcoal or wood, got rid of the gas tubing, made the adjustments needed, went out and bought charcoal and wood flavored chips and chunks and made my first barbecue on my once gas grill. The smart thing I did when buying this grill is that it has a black finish, so like Peter I don’t have to keep the stainless steel sparkling clean.

Charcoal cooking gives a more intense smoked flavor than the gas grill. Charcoal burns hotter, making it a great cooking tool for searing.

A charcoal grill takes about 15-20 minutes after lighting to be ready for cooking, depending on the amount of charcoal briquettes or wood used, while a gas grill only needs about 10 minutes, Charcoals need a little more attention during the cooking process, but it does make my barbecue taste better.

One more benefit is, that in case of an emergency, as in a hurricane, when everyone is looking for propane containers to fire up their grills so they can have some hot food, you won’t be looking all over town or state for a left over propane tank (no such thing exist during an emergency state). It has been my experience, that all of the provisions that we take for granted disappear from shelves on such emergencies. So, if worse came to worse I can always gather some wild wood and fire mine the old fashioned way. You never know what the future might bring, better to be ready, while enjoying an honest to goodness barbecue, the way I remember having in Sicily. Gathering up wood and firing a slow flame was part of the fun then.

We have gone so far from the simple things, that we have begun to think all the luxuries we enjoy, have become needs. With the economy on a downward scale it is going to come as a cold shower to many to adjust to more down to earth methods.

For those concerned about the health hazards of charcoal-grilling producing carcinogens called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), no need to worry. Use leaner meats that drip less fat. Fat, which burns, is the reason for the infusion of smoke that coat your meat. Also turning meat frequently results in fewer HCAs (heterocyclic amines) which is another carcinogen, caused by the charring. Wether you use propane or charcoals, trimming fat, using leaner meats, turning your food frequently on your grill and marinating food in lemon (a Sicilian favorite) will reduce both carcinogens by 90%

Love you barbecue and eat it too!

Prep time:
Cook time:
Servings: 4 servings


Cost per serving $0.23 view details
  • 4 Australian or New Zealand Lamb steaks cut from a shank (or any other meat, or cut you prefer)
  • salt to taste
  • My Lemon Garlic Sauce (recipe as follows)
  • Ingredients
  • Juice of 1 large or 2 small lemons
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh black pepper (increase or decrease pepper to accommodate your taste)
  • a handful of basil leaves optional
  • Directions
  • Mix all the ingredients in a food processor


  1. Salt Lamb and grill until done to your cooking specifications, on both sides
  2. Serve hot with my Lemon Garlic Sauce smothered all over it.
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Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving %DV
Serving Size 16g
Recipe makes 4 servings
Calories 122  
Calories from Fat 119 98%
Total Fat 13.51g 17%
Saturated Fat 1.87g 7%
Trans Fat 0.0g  
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 291mg 12%
Potassium 9mg 0%
Total Carbs 0.66g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0.0g 0%
Sugars 0.02g 0%
Protein 0.13g 0%



  • Patricia Turo
    June 24, 2010
    I am moving to Florida and I'm wondering how in the world I'm going to grill. Living in the Swiss Alps, we use our fireplace. ( I love the taste of the slightly woody smoke and cook everything including pizza on it. This post helps me to think about how I'm going to deal with a grill. I was thinking of building a pizza oven in the back yard. Wondering where I'm going to get the wood in Florida. Thanks for the recipe also.
    I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
    • I Sicilian
      June 24, 2010
      Florida still has lots of untouched land. I guess it depends where in Florida you will be moving. But for the moment you can buy wood from just about any place, until we start running out of energy. But that will be a worldwide problem, it won't matter where you are.
      I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
      • Micheline
        July 28, 2010
        I will try this for my next BBQ. Sounds great! Thanks for great instructions and recipe.

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