Blackening is the name given to a quick-cooking process developed by New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme.
Blackening produces a peppery black crust, while searing in all the juices and flavor, which makes it a great choice for the grill. Blackening can also be accomplished in a cast iron skillet. As long as the meat is relatively thin and has the same consistency, it should be a good candidate for blackening.
You’ll need the following:
- A fairly thin, uniform piece of meat or fish
- Lots of melted butter
- A very hot fire to seal in the juices and blacken the crust
To blacken your favorite recipes for the grill, follow these easy steps:
- Mix blackening spices in a small bowl or use a commercial blackening mix sold in your local supermarket.
- Prepare barbecue grill for direct cooking, or heat a cast iron skillet.
- Melt butter in a microwave-safe pie plate.
- Dip meat into melted butter, then shake to remove excess.
- Sprinkle blackening mix on food and rub in well with your fingertips on both sides.
- For grilling: Regular charcoal doesn’t burn hot enough to grill blackened foods. Use hardwood charcoal. It takes longer to heat up, but results in a much hotter fire. If hardwood charcoal is not available, scatter dry hardwood mesquite or hickory chunks over the hot fire to ratchet up the temperature. Place the meat on very hot preheated grid – this causes flare-ups and spicy fumes, so be careful.
- Grill quickly, on a covered grill, over very hot coals 4 to 6 minutes or until tested with a fork, turning halfway through grilling time.
For using a cast iron skillet: Allow the skillet and oil to get very hot. Be careful not to splash when turning.