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Jun 27, 2008 12:17 PM

Grilling with Chicken Wire?

Well, I looked and looked and this is my best guess as to where to post this question, so here goes...

I want to make this recipe for Jalapeno Poppers: on the grill, but I don't have the popper-holder-thingy. I was thinking that I could stand the peppers in chicken wire so that the filling stays in the pepper. My concern is that if the wire would leach something into the food that should not be there... I remember my mom saying something sometime ago about never using a metal refrigerator rack (remember those?) over a fire to grill and don't now if this is along the same lines?

If not, what might I use instead?

Thanks for any help you can provide!

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  1. What is your chicken wire made out of? It's possible to get stainless steel chicken wire. It might be low-carbon steel which is a combination of iron and carbon. We cook with high-carbon steel knives, and cast iron pans. So why not? However, galvanized steel is coated with zinc which could be undesirable. Just guessing. I would want to avoid rusty metal of course.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Romanmk

      Galvanized comes to mind, but I'm not positive. I'm sure it is not stainless. And not rusty or dirty. ;-)

      Any thoughts on why the zinc is bad? Is it taste or chemical composition? Not that one is less 'bad' than the other...

      Thanks for your reply!

      1. re: evilipoo

        From Harold McGee's - The Curious Cook p.267 "People have become ill after barbecuing on a refrigerator grille that contained cadmium, and after leaving party food in zinc-galvanized tubs. ...metals are both essential and hazardous ... because they are versatile, powerful chemical reactants."

        Interesting side note: The chapter covers aluminum pans. In the the interest of limiting exposure to unnecessary aluminum Harold favors stainless steel pans, because they are the least reactive. When our stainless steel pans oxidize they form a film of chromium oxide that is clear, and release metal that is mostly made up of iron an essential nutrient.

    2. I think the "holders" they are talking about are something like the item in the attached photo. It's simply two small grill racks connected with a loose hinge so you can put delicate items like fish, or small items like jalapeno peppers in them and turn them on the grill without having them fall apart or drop into the coals. Mostly they are square, but this was the only photo I could find. Lot's of asian grocery or kitchen stores have them and they're pretty inexpensive. Much easier than messing with chicken wire.

      1. If it's galvanized, don't use it. Then again, I had an old GF whose Hawaiian family used to use chicken wire to truss the pig before putting it in the pit, and they're all ok, so at least *some* chicken fencing must be safe.

        1. Just a quick follow-up...

          The poppers turned out excellent! We ended up using the toothpicks that hold the bacon on the peppers to prop them up in a grill-top stir-fry... um, pan? Anyway, I don't think the rack in the photo above would work, neither would just laying them on the grill. The bacon sticks to the metal and the cream cheese expands and would run out if they were on their sides.

          Knowing what we know now, we are going to try an improvised rack with foil next time.