Do you pride yourself on being a BBQ master and love to show off your mad skills to your friends and family every summer? Test your expertise against these common barbecue myths. How well do you really know barbecue?
Here are 9 common barbecue myths debunked:
Myth #1: Only Flip Steaks Once
Many chefs swear by this rule, believing that it allows a perfect crust to form on both sides, but there is no proven science behind it. Flipping the steak more often actually allows it to cook more evenly, and the frequent flipping will prevent the steak from curling up on the sides.
Myth #2: Smoking Meat Adds Flavor
This myth has some truth to it, but with a strong caveat. While smoking meat does add flavor, it only really has an effect on meat that you cook for twenty minutes or longer. Smoking a steak that will only be on the grill for a few minutes is not going to have the impact you are hoping it will.
Myth #3: Oil You Grill After Each Use
In reality there is really no need for a lot oil to be used when barbecuing. If you keep your grill or barbecue pit nice and clean and hot, the meats won’t stick. It is the heat not the oil that makes the cooking surface non-stick.
Myth #4: Wet Wood Chips Gives Off Better Smoke
Many BBQ amateurs still abide by the rule that you should soak wood chips for one hour to get a real smoky flavor. But in actuality, damp wood does not smoke better than dry wood. What you think is smoke coming off the wood chips is just steam from the water evaporating. BBQ experts say that the most flavorful smoke is blue smoke which is only achieved through the combination of high heat and dry wood.
Myth #5: Rubbing Steak with Salt Prior to Cooking Is Bad
To salt or not to salt? When it comes to your steak, seasoning with salt in and of itself is not bad, however, if you salt the steak hours before cooking it will dry it out, leaving it tough and hard to chew. It is better to just season the steak right before you put it on the fire.
Myth 6: Smoke Rings Are a Sign of Flavor
If slowly smoked over a low heat for hours, you will start to see a pink band form on the outer rim of the meat called a smoke ring. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the meat is perfectly flavored no matter what your Dad says. The smoke ring is actually just what happens when the meat protein molecules and the gasses in the smoke react to each other. It has not effect on flavor whatsoever.
Myth 7: Always Bring the Heat
The temperature of your grill or barbecue pit is what can really make a difference in the quality of your meats. While it might seem to make sense that the hotter, the better, that is not really the case. BBQ experts instead recommend that you start cooking at a higher temperature and then lower it as the meat finish cooking. This way the meat doesn’t lose too much moisture.
Myth 8: Meat Should Sit at Room Temperature before Barbecuing
The temperature of the meat as it hits the heat doesn’t really impact how well it cooks, but you are actually playing with fire by leaving meat unrefrigerated for hours because you are opening yourself up to bacteria and food borne illnesses.
Myth 9: You Can Feel the Temperature by Holding Your Hand Over the Heat
Unfortunately, this myth is very pervasive although it is not true. While it seems like a cool trick to be able to tell if the grill or pit is hot enough by just putting your hand over it, you really can’t get a definite temperature reading this way. All of us react differently to heat so there is no precise science involved.
More Barbecue Tips
Here are some other barbecue tips you should follow to cook like the pros:
- Consider making the switch from charcoal to wood for a more smoky, woodsy flavor to your meat. Make sure to use good quality wood and only let it burn for about four hours so it doesn’t over-smoke the meat.
- Quality of meat matters. Of course having the right ingredients for your menu is important, especially for barbecue. Really look into the potential sources for your meat and make sure you getting the best quality. Decide if it is important for everything to be organic or not, and aim for meat from animals that were reared outdoors because the quality of the meat will be better.
- Not every cut is equal. It may surprise you, but the cut of meat you order or pick up can determine not only how many people you can feed with it, but also how good it tastes. When you are cooking steaks, the beef feather blade is a good quality cut that is relatively inexpensive.
- Flavor is a balancing act. The BBQ rubs and sauces are the key to really good flavor. But it doesn’t have to be fancy to taste good. A mixture of sea salt and black pepper can really bring out the natural flavors of the meat. Through trial and error you will find the just right hint of flavor. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little.
- Remember that practice makes perfect. Any BBQ pro worth his or her salt knows that you need to put in time over the fire to really become an expert. Especially if you are trying to perfect your barbecuing skills for your restaurant, then you need to spend hours perfecting your craft. Practice, practice and practice some more. Never settle for just okay barbecue.
If you are finding yourself a little shattered right now because everything you thought to be true is not, don’t worry. With the right resources you will become a true BBQ master. For more information on barbecue myths debunked, and what BBQ best practices to follow at home and at your restaurant, call Chaps Pit Beef today.