In July the Grillin Fools and 30 of our relatives went up to Michigan:

Michigan Sunset 09 - Smaller



It wasn’t all sunsets, swans and salmon.  Of course we did some grillin, chillin, and thrillin:




We may not have had much to work with (wait to you see the grills) but we still put out a mean product.  And if we can do amazing things on these grills I guarantee you can learn to do the same on just about anything you have in the back yard simply by perusing this site.   There are no real write ups here but I have linked most of the recipes back to other times we did these items on the grill.  Click below to see how the Grillin Fools roll on vacation around the grill and otherwise.  And make sure you go all the way to the bottom to see yours truly getting mocked mercilessly!!

Day 1

Brisket and Rib  Eye Steak Sammy’s

We marinaded two briskets overnight in mustard, scraped most of the mustard off and placed them on a cutting board:


Applied the rub to both sides and placed them in disposable tin trays which will allow them to simmer in their own juices as well as shield the meat from the heat.  Briskets need low and slow so shielding them is a very good idea:


Now out to the grills.  Try not to laugh:


Coals on one side, a lump of smoke wood on top (pecan) and the briskets on the other side:


Getting some pretty good smoke action from these pitiful grills:


The rest of the items that will be needed – Mop sauce, mop, silicon gloves, squirt bottle to put out fires, tongs, a cutting board and more smoke wood:


This is Dad’s cook so he is ready to man the grills:


After about 90 minutes on the grill:



After about three hours on the grill:



Heat’s running low, so move the entire grill rack over to the top of the other grill and add some more charcoal:


Put the grill back down and rotate the brisket so it cooks evenly:


About four and and a half hours on and ready to come off for some foiling:



While those rest in the foil for about an hour it’s time to get the steak sammy’s going.  Here we have two pans of rib eye slices that have marinaded all night in a mixture of mainly Andria’s steak sauce and diet coke which we will also use to make a rib eye steak hot tub on the grill to keep the meat warm while we make enough for everyone:


The slices of steak on one of the grills:


The other grill has some slices cooking and the hot tub waiting for the meat:


Almost done with one hot tub full so we had to add a second:


Now time to slice up those briskets.  For those of you not familiar with good brisket, it’s supposed to look like that:


Of course one could always use some help slicing the brisket.  That’s yours truly being supervised by my lovely cousin, Hannah:


Not much to the serving and presentation of the brisket or the steak slices as both are just put on buns.  Here’s dad getting ready to serve everyone:


Here is a more descriptive write up on how to grill a brisket and how to make rib eye steak sammy’s.

Day 2

Grilled Chicken

There is not much to this but when you are grilling for 30 serving everyone surf and turf is out of the question.  At least on the Grillin Fools budget it is.  Grilled chicken though is a pretty cheap, and low maintenance way to grill for a crowd, not to mention somewhat healthy compared to a lot of the other stuff we have been known to throw on the grill.

The chicken was sort of a last minute deal so we did not have a chance to brine which I always recommend.  Click here to see why and how one should brine chicken (and pork for that matter). Below we have the chicken laid out.  We did the chicken two ways.  About 2/3 was sauced (the chicken in the pans will be sauced) and the other third will have just a coating of an herb rub that I found in a grinder jar in town earlier that day.  The chicken on the cutting board will get the herb rub:


Here is the chicken coated with the rub as well as a little coarse salt and black pepper:


Now onto the grill.  When doing chicken over coals this is your best friend:


Chicken is notorious for flames ups as the fat renders out of the skin and ignites in the hot coals.  Get your spray bottle ready to put those flames out.  Always keep an eye out on the smoke coming out of the grill when shut.  If the amount increases dramatically you may have a flare up inside that you will want to take care of before it burns the chicken.  You may want to spray the areas just around the flare up as it could be a hot spot that will continue to flare.  Soaking an inch or two all the way around can help cool that hot spot down and reduce future flare ups in that area.

Below is Dead Eye Dad taking down a flame up:


One quick note about grilling chicken pieces like this.  Throw the thighs on first.  I know they aren’t the biggest but they have a lot of mass and the highest fat content.  The breasts have the most mass but the lowest fat content.  The legs and wings have high fat content but low mass.  So put the thighs on first for a few minutes.  Then put down the breasts and the legs for a few more and finally the wings.  In the pic above you can see the skin is browned on all the thighs but not the rest of the cuts because the other cuts had just been put on when I took this pic.  Don’t worry that the skin on the thighs is browned all ready.  The fat content of the meat will continue to braise the skin and keep it from burning.

Below dad is tending to his chicken that is to be sauced:


He was awful proud of his chicken arrayed out so nicely:


Another side note, don’t array food out like this for a neat pattern for anything other than taking a picture.  Let the fire dictate where you need to put the meat.  If a few pieces are cooking fast over a hot spot, swap them with pieces that are not cooking fast in order to have everything cook evenly.

Below the chicken has been sauced with Tracy’s secret sauce and placed back on the grill so that the sauce can caramelize a bit.


Some of you are sauce fans and Tracy’s is one of the best.  And while I crave sauce every now and again, I prefer my BBQ not sauced.  Here is the chicken I did that was not sauced.  How does that look?


Dinner is served.  And my sister does not look happy about me taking her picture.  My Aunt on the other hand is looking forward to the meal:


The creator of the BBQ sauce is happy to have her picture taken.  Blake, on the right, has no idea that the camera is even there.  All he cares about is the food:


Dad and I serving the masses.  And yes, I realize I look a bit possessed:


Here are some links to other chicken recipes

Day 3

Salmon and Lake Trout Fresh from Lake Michigan

Before you can serve fresh fish from the lake you have to catch fresh fish from the lake.  I think this will do:


From left to right above you have Tom, aka the third Grillin Fool, Brad and Gary.  These boys can fish!!  Oh, did I mention that was only the first big catch.  A couple days later they brought this home:


My son touching a fish for the first time:

Copy of F3

How much fish is all of that.  Well this is some of it:


And here is the rest of it:


BTW, that was after feeding salmon to 30 people!!!  Like I said, these boys can fish!!!

Now on to the cooking.

Here is Tom discussing exactly how he wanted to grill the salmon, which considering how fresh this salmon was, it was not going to be complicated.  The fish is amazing by itself.  It doesn’t need much to be absolutely incredible:


Here is a closeup to that salmon in front of Tom.  How does that look?  It should look great considering it was swimming a few hours before I took this pic:


What the hell am I doing with that pair of needle nose pliers?


Removing these little bastards.  Those are pin bones that are a pain in the rear to eat around and only a little less annoying to remove one at a time from enough salmon filets to feed 30.  And again, how does this salmon look?


Don’t forget the lake trout:


Very simple here.  Drizzle with olive oil, inside and out:


Dust with Slap Ya Mama spice rub inside and out along with some coarse salt and black pepper:


Put some lemon sliced inside and wrap in foil:


On the grill.  When the fish softens up  it’s done:


Now back to the salmon.  Some we did with those herb grinder I mentioned in the chicken section:


Some we did with a dusting of Slap Ya Mama:


Salmon just needs a dusting of this stuff and maybe a little salt and pepper.  The SYM just accentuates the flavor of the fish which is great by itself.

Back to the salmon.  Here is the salmon on the grill with the foiled trout:


This is Tom tending to one of the grills:


Here is a close up of that salmon he is grilling:


Some have been flipped and some are ready to be flipped:


At this point the trash talking had commenced.  It seems my father decided to challenge Tom and Brad’s fishing abilities.  He bet them a couple bottle of Pinot they wouldn’t catch anything.  Well here is my dad paying up and Brad basking in the victory:


We also did some salmon with a sort of glaze on it but I didn’t get to try any of that so I can’t really comment on it.  The salmon on the back of the grill have the glaze:


And here are some pics of the masses enjoying a couple different nights of grilled deliciousness:





Day 4

Surf, Turf and Spuds

The last night of vacation a bunch of the crew went into town for seafood.  A couple of us decided to just grill some steaks, potatoes and prawns.  I did the salt marinade trick with the steaks except I added some garlic and a little Worcestershire sauce on top of the salt.  I will have a full write up on that soon as well.

First are the grilled the potatoes.  Easy as can be.  Slather with olive oil, dust with granulated garlic, a little coarse salt and some fresh black pepper.  You can find a more detailed write up here:


On the grill indirect:


About 45 minutes in:


90 minutes in and ready to come off so the steaks and shrimps can go on:


Once the potatoes were done I threw on some shrimps and a couple steaks:


No final pics of this meal. I was too hungry.  I dove into that porter house instead.

Here are some other interesting pictures from the trip.

Sunset on day one:

Michigan Sunset 09 - Smaller

The single biggest thing I have ever seen that actually moved.  This was a coal ship on it’s way through a channel to pick up a load to take back to Canada.  I couldn’t get the entire thing in one shot:


A future Grillin Fool?  Watchout fellas.  This little cutie might be teaching you a thing or two on the grill before you know it:


Couple of sunset shots from day two.  After that we had clouds in the evenings:



Some swans and their babies that swam into the harbor after the sun set:


And let’s not forget the adventure on the way home.  Here we are waiting for some gas as we ran out.  Luckily we were able to coast into a weight station.  My son is giddy not to be strapped into the car seat anymore:


There is my little boy in the wooden shoes that his grandmother insisted she get for him:


And of course there was no way I was going to get out this without some ridicule for running out of gas:


To my credit, the Navigator is not my car and when the gas alarm dinged that we were empty I was told we could go for quite a while.  We lasted maybe 5 miles before we ran out.  Never in my life have I seen a car that when it chimes that the gas is gone, it’s really gone!!!

If you have any questions about any of the meals we grilled while on vacation, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email.

Also, you can follow the Grillin Fools on Facebook and post your own grillin pictures or Twitter @GrillinFool.

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

@GrillinFool - #GrillPorn abounds here. All meat, all the time!
Look at that primo prime rib!?! Pic and steak courtesy of @eviemaesbbq - This could be yo… - 11 hours ago
Scott Thomas

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What a vacation! Scenery, family, food and the JD on top of the fridge.


Looks like a blast! Where do you guys go to in Mich?



We go up to Ludington but also run over to Mainstee and Pentwater when we are there. Next year may be the Beach in FLA for this Grillin Fool… But definitely back the next year…


In general, you really can make some good Q on any grill, no matter its condition. My old Weber kettle is so old, it has the wood handles, the legs sometimes fall off (not while Qing) and has alot of rust. But I manage to Q up good stuff, Alas, my son likes to play with the ashes that fall into the pan. So I’m going to upgrade to the Weber 26.75″ kettle with the ash catcher as soon a I’m done with the addition to my patio.



I have a weber that is about 30 years old. 22 inch kettle that I traded my 18 inch kettle for. One of the legs finally rusted through about 3 inches from the bottom. I upgraded to a new one right around then but I still have the other one in the shed. I can place a brick under the one leg if I need the extra grill space.

That 26 inch is a monster. Good luck with that bad boy….

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