Hello BBQ lovers!
Hope you all enjoyed part one of our terminology series. Today let’s continue with some “EdQUEcation”!
Pitmaster - An experienced barbecue cook and a skilled craftsman. He/she watches over the pit and can tell by sight, sound, smell, and touch if it is running too hot or too cold, when it needs fuel, when to add wood, when to add sauce, and when the meat is ready. Too many people are called pitmasters today. It takes years to be this good!
Membrane - A skin on the concave side of ribs. The older the pork, the thicker the membrane. It can become tough when grilled, and spices and seasonings cannot penetrate it. It should be removed. It’s typically a HASSEL to remove this crap so most folks don’t. Here is a tip that will save you time and aggravation: The membrane will always have a “piece you can grab a hold of”. Get yourself a good ole paper towel, grab that SOB membrane and start pullin. Unbelievably, it will pull right off in a few large sections. I’m not sure why the paper towel works so well – maybe it’s the added “gribtion” you get with it. Try it and you’ll be a membrane pullin believer.
Mop - A thin sauce brushed on the meat while it is cooking, especially on an old fashioned direct heat pit. It keeps the surface cool and adds flavor. Remember – don’t get too “moppy”. Over mopping isn’t good as it can hurt bark and potentially remove your dry rub. A good rule of thumb is too let your previous mop dry before you mop again. Depending on the length of cook and temperature you’re at, every 45 minutes to an hour.
Bark - A brown crunchy jerky like crust that forms on some foods caused by seasonings from the rub. You’ll typically see a good crust on larger cuts of meat like Pork Shoulder/Boston Butt, Brisket and Steak.
Texas crutch - Aluminum foil wrapped around meat with a little liquid (water, juice, beer) to prevent dryness and accelerate the cooking process. There are varying opinions on when to do this. Personally, if I wrap, I will do so at the end of my cook and use it as a finishing – almost resting process. Others will wrap in mid-cook and finish the whole cook “under wraps”. Again, experiment and see what you like.
Indirect heat cooking - A method of cooking where the food is not directly over the heat source so it can roast more slowly with convection flow of hot air. Many smokers use indirect heating.
Again the last term for the day, but certainly no less important is………
Liquor - Distilled spirits usually made from fermented fruit or grain, usually 40 to 50% alcohol (80 to 100 proof). The elixir of life for an all-night cook. You cannot roast a whole pig without it. It can also be used for shorter cooks like ribs and chicken.
Tune in next time for our final part of this series - and remember - NOTHING BEATS A GOOD RUB!!!!