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Perfect BBQ in Three Simple Steps

To a purist, BBQ is all about slow cooking.

This usually includes using a smoker, or a grill, with a tight fitting lid and large surface.  The idea is to keep the food at some distance away from the direct heat.

You can do this by rearranging the briquettes, or by having a flame on only one side of the grill. This produces a section of low heat that lets you implement the first of three steps to a perfect BBQ – infusing.

With infusing, your objective is to get all of the flavourful ingredients into the meat before the surface layer is cooked sufficiently to seal the inside.

Sauces, rubs, fat and the meat’s juices intermingle with the heat and smoke to create a symphony of effects within the meat. Both surface and interior fats melt away and the particles become part of the external layer. Now the conditions are right for the spread of flavor compounds throughout the meat. Some killer BBQ is right around the corner.

The time consuming second step is where the cooking actually takes place. While the inside temperature of the meat increases, the proteins break down and convert to amino acids. As the sugars break down they lend a sweet flavour throughout. Enzymes get active, and salt becomes ionized. The final effect of this fired up chemical process is to transform raw meat into a delectable entrée.

If you’ve added any wood to the fire, it will impart a smoky flavour to the meat during this stage. The meat seals itself and internal juices are preserved, heated up and altered. The meat will spend most of its cooking time in this phase. The temperature has to be lower than what you’d use indoors to cook.

Once the meat’s inside temperature reaches 200F, it’s time to take it off the BBQ grill or smoker.

During the third step, your meat finishes cooking. While it cools down, there is still sufficient internal heat to keep altering the structure of the meat slightly. Your meat can tenderize even further during this stage, resulting in a mouth watering piece of meat.

Once the temperature has decreased to less than 165F, it’s time to dish it up. Cut off a small piece and check the colour. Beef should be dark red in colour, while chicken should be white with clear juices. Pork should be a greyish white. The taste should be subtle and it should have an easy to chew consistency.

And voila, the perfect BBQ.

by Ashley King

About the Author
Barbequeing makes us think of sunny days, tantalizing aromas and good food enjoyed with great company. For some great tips and advice on the art and science of BBQ, visit Best BBQ Tips.

[wordbay](meat thermometer, smoker bbq grill, smoke chips)[/wordbay]

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