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Barbeque Basic Terminology part 3

Hello Bar-b-que lovers!

Our terminology EdQUEcation could go on forever, but this will be our final lesson for now. Don’t worry there is no final exam.

PPP or The Three Ps. This stands for Patience, Perseverance, and Practice. These are the key ingredients to becoming a Pitmaster. You’ll soon find out that quick and out the door may be good for Chinese “takee outee”, but it sucks for BBQ and smoking. Invest the time and reap the rewards!

Brisket -Brisket is cut from the breast section of a side of beef. Each beef carcass renders only two whole briskets.On a typical whole beef brisket there are two muscles, the flat, and the point. They are separated by a layer of fat. The flat is the longer of the two and the leaner of the two so it tends to be the fryer of the two. The point is the thicker “lump” of meat. It has more of the fat and connective tissue.

Spritzing -The practice of spraying meat with a mist of water, juice, beer, whatever the Pitmaster is drinking. It cools the meat and slows the cooking and helps keep moisture from the meat from evaporating. It is different than moping.

Drip Pan – Typically used with in direct cooking, it is a pan placed under the meat. The pan is filled with liquid and sometimes spices. It serves several purposes – helps keep meat dry during longer cooks, catches dripping from meat to keep cooking area cleaner and these dripping coupled with the liquid and form steam and rise back up and around the eat during cooking.

Hot and Fast or Hot n Fast is a cooking technique becoming popular with many BBQ cooks. The Hot and Fast method involves smoking the meat at temperatures around 325 F. It greatly reduces cooking times for longer cooks like Boston Butt.

Bear Paws - Made from hard plastic these meat handler forks are used for shredding BBQ meat. The Bear Paws are also useful for lifting hot food to move from the cooking pan. 

Rib Rack – Is a device that is used to hold multiple racks of BBQ ribs during cooking. They typically hold the ribs upright instead of laying flat on a grate. 

Lump charcoal – Is charcoal made by burning wood at high temperatures until it has turned into carbon. It typically burns hotter than briquettes and leaves less ash.

Again, our last term, but certainly not the least is……

Wine – Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes or other fruits. There are many types and classifications of wine. Although not as popular as beer and liquor with Pitmasters, it is still a great friend to the BBQ enthusiast. Many folks say a long cooks with good friends and a bottle of wine makes for a great time!

In closing, I will say that if you become familiar with these terms and how they can enhance the foods you cook you’ll be glad you did!

 

 

 

 

Barbecue Basic Terminology part 2

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!!!!

 

Barbecue Basic Terminology

Hello Bar-b-que lovers!

I thought we’d take it back to the basics today so this is the first in a series devoted entirely to Bar-b-que terms. Its one thing to love “the que” another to be able to cook it still another to master it. I think understanding the jargon and being able to “talk the talk” is important; besides who doesn’t want to know the difference between a “mop” and a “rub”. So in no particular order, let’s dive in!

Dry Rub – Could I mention anything else first? Of course not! A dry rub is a combination of spices and herbs that you apply before cooking. You’ll find them in many flavors and sometimes even for specific meats.  I personally feel most rubs contain too much salt, that is why I make salt my last ingredient. I want to always taste what I’m cooking not overpower it.

Fat Cap - The thick layer of fat between the meat and the skin. This term comes up quite a bit when you see recipes about searching for the right cut of meat, preparing it and cooking Fat Cap up or Fat Cap down.

Smoke Ring - The moneymaker pink layer near the meat’s surface, resulting from a chemical reaction to wood smoke. This is what every BBQ and Smoking enthusiast looks for and is the first sign that you did something right!

Brine - A wet brine is salt mixed with water and a “sweetener”. Many conventional recipes use juice, herbs and spices in wet brines. A dry brine is salt applied to the surface of a food. The salt dissolves and diffuses into the meat. It helps protein hold onto moisture during cooking and amplifies flavors. I tend to use brines with bigger meats that are cooking longer. Examples would be Pork Shoulder/Boston Butt, Brisket and Whole Turkey.

Hardwood - Wood from dense low sap woods such as oak, hickory, apple, cherry, and many others. These are best for smoking foods and over the cooking process their natural flavors will seep into the meat. At the end of the day you should experiment with different types of woods and food, but here is a list of some typical parings:

Apple wood has a fruity and sweet smoke that pairs wonderfully with pork, fish, and poultry.

Cherry wood’s flavor is best suited for red meat and pork.  

Maple has a sweet and delicate taste and tends to darken whatever meat you’re smoking and is typically used for poultry and ham.

Alder has a light and naturally sweet flavor; it’s great for fish, poultry, and any white meat.

Pecan gives meat something of a fruity flavor and burns cooler than most other barbecue woods. It is best used on large cuts like brisket and pork roast but can also be used to compliment chops, fish and poultry.

Oak is great for big cuts of meat that take a long time to cook.  Try it on Pork roasts, hams and ribs and chicken.

Hickory has a strong and distinct flavor that’s ideal for red meat and ribs.

Mesquite is a powerful wood can easily overpower your meat if used improperly. Avoid using mesquite with larger cuts that require longer cooking times, or simply use it with other woods.

Low 'n' slow - keeping the heat low, under 275°F and usually closer to 225°F, and taking your time, the fats and collagens melt, making the meat juicy and flavorful. Too much heat and the proteins get bunched up in a knot and the meat is tough. Cooking low 'n' slow means you usually do not have to turn the meat over because it is not exposed to direct heat.

And the last term for toady – but certainly not the least important is……..

Beer – Beer is carbonated fermented grains and water, often flavored with the flowers of the hop plant. There are infinite styles and flavors. It is often used to enhance sauces, marinades and even cooks. It plays an important part in the barbequing, grilling and smoking experience.

Be sure to tune in next time as we continue exploring the terms that make up the wonderful world of barbeque, grill and smoking.

 

 

You've Got to Start Somewhere

Hello - Dave here!

Today is the beginning of what is going to be a weekly blog from yours truly. Funny thing is I've never "blogged" so be gentle. I'm not sure what direction this will take, but here is what I know. I love to cook! I love everything about it. I love to experiment with spices, dry rubs, marinades and sauces. I love to try new and different cooking techniques. In the kitchen or outside - it's just a blast. But I must say outside is where my true passion lies. Be it grill, smoker, fryer - whatever - I love cookin outdoors. It's a source of relaxation for me. My wife knows when I'm in the mood to film another episode of "Man Meets Grill"  there's nothing she can do about it - except sit back and enjoy the outcome!

So what can you expect; my answer is a little bit of everything. I'll give you some great recipes, review some products - both new and old, talk to some "grill masters" about their likes (possible dislikes) and techniques, suggest a few cocktail recipes (a must for outdoor cookin), throw some pics up of the finished product and at the end of the day share with you the satisfaction of grillin, chillin and of course eatin!

So be prepared for a fun ride!

 

Dave