Sauces & Seasonings

Cooking with Speed "The Sauceman"

Cookies Original BBQ Sauce

Speed “The Sauceman” Herrig is the man behind the Cookies madness. You can often find him at Rib Wagon events, wearing his signature grilling gear and talking food with BBQ lovers and Cookies fans. From tasty appetizers to hearty main dishes, the Sauceman always enjoys sharing recipes and cooking tips to make every meal a success. Learn some of his secrets in these two-minute videos.

When the Sauceman isn’t on the road you can usually find him in the Cookies kitchen, however his favorite way to prepare food is outdoors using a grill or smoker. Here are some sure-fire tips to help you become a grillmaster.

Grilling Tips from the Sauceman

Of all the ways to cook for family and friends, grilling is America’s favorite. We love the ease of grilling and the tender, juicy foods it produces. When you fire up your grill, it’s easy to get delicious results simply by brushing meat or chicken with one of the Cookies Bar-B-Q sauces. Here are some other sure-fire tips to help you become a grillmaster.

Direct or Indirect Cooking?

With direct grilling, the food goes on the grill rack directly over the heat. Choose this method for foods that are tender, small or thin, and cook in less than 20 minutes - steaks, burgers, kabobs, hot dogs, boneless poultry, fish, and most vegetables. Indirect grilling - done with the grill cover down - is best for cooking whole chickens or turkeys, ribs, roasts, whole fish, and vegetables such as potatoes and corn on the cob.

When grilling indirect, resist the urge to peek. Every time you lift the lid, heat escapes and you add as much as 15 minutes to the cooking time. Let the foods cook the minimum time given in the recipe or chart before checking for doneness.

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Be Safe

Never use gasoline or kerosene to start charcoal. Use fire-starter gels as directed and never apply starters to an existing fire or even warm coals.

Take raw burgers and chicken to the grill on a clean plate. After cooking, place them on another clean plate to serve.

Don’t guess about doneness. Use a meat thermometer or instant-read thermometer to be sure.

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Steaks & Chops

Turning meat too often is a waste of time. For direct grilling, turning once halfway through cooking is enough. When cooking indirect, you usually don’t need to turn the meat at all.

Use tongs, not a fork, for turning so juices aren’t lost through holes poked in the meat.

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Use good quality ground meat but not the leanest available. A little fat makes burgers moist and juicy.

For uniform patties, use a measuring cup or ice cream scoop to scoop up the meat mixture.

Shape the patties gently; don’t squeeze or pack the meat.

Never press down on burgers with a spatula while they grill. This squeezes out the juices, making them tough and dry.

To ensure food safety, burgers should be cooked until well done.

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Chicken & Turkey

If you don’t care for poultry skin, remove it before cooking or buy skinless pieces. However, the skin adds flavor and keeps the surface of the chicken from drying out during cooking. You can remove the skin after cooking if you’re concerned about the fat it contains.

When grilling skinless chicken pieces, prevent sticking by spraying the cold rack with nonstick cooking spray or brushing lightly with cooking oil. Do this before grilling fish steaks and fillets, too.

Cook a turkey on the grill once and you’ll never do it any other way, fans say. For best results, choose a turkey that weighs less than 16 pounds; larger birds are too big for some grills and may be difficult to remove from the grill. Only grill unstuffed turkeys because they cook more evenly than stuffed birds.

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Fish is more fragile than meat or poultry so use a grill basket or place the fish on the grill on a double layer of heavy foil with slits cut in the foil.

Pieces of fish that are less than 1 inch thick don’t need to be turned during grilling. Pieces that are 1 inch or thicker should be turned once about halfway through grilling, using a wide spatula.

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Metal skewers are easier to use than wooden skewers, which will burn if not soaked in water for 30 minutes before using.

For even cooking, allow a 1/4-inch space between food pieces on skewers.

Precook vegetables such as tiny whole potatoes and carrots before placing on skewers. Sweet pepper pieces, onion wedges, zucchini pieces, and mushrooms do not need to be precooked. Tomatoes cook quickly so add them only for the last few minutes of grilling time.

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Grilling vegetables in packets made from folded heavy foil is a trade off. Packets are convenient and cleanup is easy, but you sacrifice that delicious fresh-from-the-grill flavor.

A grilling basket, tray, or wok will give you that grilled flavor and work well for small or cut-up vegetables, with no worry about food falling into the fire. Or, if you don’t have one of those, use a foil pan.

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Using Wood Chips

Wood chips give foods an appetizing wood-smoked aroma and flavor. Good chip choices include mesquite, hickory, oak, and sweet fruitwoods, such as apple, cherry, and peach. Supermarkets that stock charcoal usually carry wood chips as well, or order from websites.

For large meat cuts and whole birds that take longer to cook, use wood chunks, which last longer than chips.

Soak chips or chunks in enough water to cover for at least 1 hour before using. For long cooking times, soak enough wood to add more to the grill as necessary.

When using a charcoal grill, sprinkle drained chips on the coals. For a gas grill, place chips in a metal box, disposable foil pan, or wrap in heavy foil with holes poked in the top for steam to escape.

If you have fresh herbs in your garden, use them to flavor the smoke. Add a generous handful to the coals when you put the food on the rack.

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Cleaning Up

Cleaning the grill after each use helps prevent flare-ups next time.

After each use of your gas grill, turn the grill settings to high for 10 to 15 minutes with the lid closed. Then, simply brush off the grill rack using a brass bristle brush.

For a charcoal grill, remove the grill rack and wrap it in wet newspaper. Let it stand about 1 hour, then wipe it clean. If necessary, use a stiff brush to remove stubborn burned-on food.

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Cooking with Cookies Videos


How to Cook Easter Ham

The Sauceman's Special Chili

Pork Wings

Hot Wings

Prime Rib


Choosing Ribs (Part 1 of 2)

Cooking Ribs (Part 2 of 2)

Sides on the Grill

Grilled Salmon

Stuffed Burgers

Stuffed Pork Loin