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VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND | TIDBITS

Grill Can Add Warmth to Thanksgiving Meal

Barbeques Galore will give a workshop that may even help dad get more involved in the holiday cooking.

November 14, 1996|LEO SMITH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Thanksgiving dinner prepared not in grandma's cozy kitchen but entirely on a gas-powered barbecue grill may seem somewhat implausible. But it is a dream come true for Stuart McDonald.

"You can still have traditional Thanksgiving, but you can do it on a barbecue and get different tastes and flavors," said McDonald, manager of the Barbeques Galore store in Oxnard. "Plus more of the family will participate. Instead of dad watching the football game while mom is slaving over the stove, dad is probably going to get out and barbecue."

McDonald's view may be optimistic, but he said it is possible to prepare the whole Thanksgiving feast on the grill.

For doubters, McDonald's shop will host a holiday cooking workshop Saturday part of a series of free monthly demonstrations at Barbeques Galore.

"Your barbecue is really three appliances in one--a grill, a smoker, or you can use it as an oven," McDonald said. "You can cook a turkey or ham on the grill, of course, and all of the vegetables and accompaniments. You can even do a pie to finish off with."

McDonald said the key to preparing such a variety of dishes is using the "indirect" barbecue method, a technique that is particularly useful on dual- or multi-burner grills.

"It's just a matter of watching your heat more than anything else," McDonald said. "On a dual-burner unit you are going to have one side of the barbecue on and the other side off. You place the food above a drip pan over the side that is off."

When the backyard chef closes the lid, he said, the heat circulates around the grill, gently cooking the food on the unheated burner.

A similar technique can be applied to multi-burner grills. On a single burner, it's a little trickier. But, again, McDonald said the trick is to keep the heat very, very low. A turkey on the grill will take 15 to 18 minutes per pound, unstuffed, to cook. If stuffed, it's 18 to 21 minutes.

McDonald said barbecued turkeys have been gaining in popularity in recent years.

"What started it off, more than anything else, is people wanted to do smoked turkeys," he said. "They were looking for more pizazz, different things to do with their cooking."

Danny Bendas and partner Dean Small, of Dean & Danny's Custom Foods, will be on hand at Saturday's workshop. The Thousand Oaks-based cooking consultants will bring along their line of barbecue sauce, seasonings and rubs.

Barbeques Galore is at 1700 E. Ventura Blvd. Workshops will begin at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Reservations are suggested. Call 485-0535. (Note: Food will not be served, so guests may want to preempt those inevitable hunger pangs.)

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Sheepherders on Main, the new Basque restaurant at 2367 Main St. in Ventura, is set to open Monday.

Owners Mike Loftis and Stan Weiner will serve lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday.

The family-style dinner menu, prepared by chef Chad Capingha, will include a lightly battered Basque-style fried chicken with garlic ($10.50), grilled lamb chops ($14.50), breaded veal cutlet with mushroom pepper sauce ($10.50), oxtail stew with noodles ($9.50), halibut with lemon butter and fresh herbs ($11.50), grilled tri-tip ($11.50) and sauteed scampi with garlic, butter, lemon juice and herbs, served on a bed of pasta shells ($16).

All entrees will come with fresh sourdough bread, homemade vegetable soup, Basque beans, green salad, warm salsa, a special cottage cheese, marinated vegetables, pickled tongue, French fries and dessert.

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