It’s summer and time for a good weekend cookout to hang out with family, colleagues, neighbors, and friends. The scorching sun is perfect with a grilled steak and a bottle of beer or wine.
While it sounds easy and like a great idea, you would soon find yourself concerned about a couple of things. Oh, you’re here, which probably means you have some questions or are curious about how to have a safe summertime cookout.
Without further ado, let’s check out some frequently asked questions about barbecue for a safe, healthy, and worry-free grilling this season.
Is barbecuing and grilling the same?
Grilling is a different mode of cooking from barbecuing. The latter requires low and slow cooking in an enclosed environment over an indirect heat source. On the other hand, grilling involves cooking your meat openly over a direct heat source.
Not all grills are capable of BBQing and grilling. These kinds of grills will come with one burner for grilling alone. This means you can’t BBQ with it.
Propane or Charcoal – which is healthier?
According to recent studies, charcoal-cooked meats contain more polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons known as carcinogens than propane cooking. When cooking the meat, the fat drips as the meat burns, which generates PAF-infused smoke. Furthermore, charcoal flames deliver higher temperatures than propane, which singes the meat to create heterocyclic amines (HCAs), another form of carcinogen.
Cooking with propane also infuses your food with these carcinogens – HCAs and PAHs. However, the amount of these carcinogens can be controlled with these cooking methods, such as frequently flipping the meat, marinating, and trimming the fat to a reasonable extent.
These studies also point out that soaking your meat in lemon juice or vinegar helps cut the amount of HCAs and PAHs by nearly 90%.
How to make the meat taste less smoky?
If you want your meat with less smokiness, there are a plethora of things you can try out. However, most people use apple, cherry, or alder wood chips since these options are known for generating subtle smoky flavor profiles.
Another option is burning down the wood chips in a barrel ahead of the cooking time. The remaining hot coals are retrieved and used for barbecuing. Also, you want to keep the exhaust vent widely open to ensure proper smoke flow via the smoking chamber to cut down the smokiness imparted to your meal.
Which beef cut is best-suited for BBQing?
When it comes to making sumptuous BBQ, brisket is a common cut option. However, there are other worthy candidates like filet, steak mince, beef top rib, rump, sirloin, and rib-eye.
How to cook without meat sticking to the grill?
One of the best approaches is to keep your grill clean. For better nonstick performance, you want to make sure the grill grates are not dirty. Also, you want to apply a thin coat of 100% natural cooking oil. This improves your grate’s nonstick performance for an effortless food release. Also, you want to allow the grill grates to get properly preheated before cooking to sear your meat’s flesh.
How long can I keep my BBQ sitting outside after cooking?
At room temperature, it’s recommended not to leave your food sitting outside for more than two hours. But for your summer BBQ under the scorching sun, bacteria tend to grow much faster. Hence, it’s best to keep your BBQ sitting outside less than an hour in temperature above 90 degrees F for a healthy and safe meal.
Is it best to soak the wood chips before using them?
No! Soaking chunks or wood chips is uncalled-for and time-wasting. As a matter of fact, it might be counterproductive. The essence of this idea is to allow the wood to absorb water, which studies show takes anywhere from three weeks to a year. Thus, soaking your wood overnight won’t deliver any expected result.
Furthermore, cooking with wet chunks or wood chips causes lower heat levels and won’t generate smoke until the wood chips are bone-dry. Most people often think the steam that comes out after adding the soaked chunk with smoke – it’s actually steam.
The steams are produced off the water on the wood’s surface. The smoke gets generated only after the wood is completely dried. If you don’t want the wood to smolder but start to smoke immediately, you want to use dry wood chips. Smoldering wood offers unwanted flavor and smoke, not a cleaner smoke with a sweet, smoky flavor.
What wood can I use to smoke my meats?
This boils down to personal preference and taste. We prefer to use the Missouri White Oak for barbecuing our sausage, beef, poultry, and pork because it infuses just the right amount of smoke and flavor. However, you can try fruitwood for mild results or hickory for a bitter and harsh smoky profile. For us, we feel like the Missouri White Oak has the perfect, sweet balance.
What is the difference between direct and indirect cooking?
The BBQing method involves exposing the food directly to a flame or heat source. In general, fish, poultry, or other thinner cuts of meat are the best option for this cooking method.
In a similar sense, you want to use indirect cooking for thicker cuts or combine both for desired results.
For indirect cooking, this has to do with cooking conventionally. This method is similar to your kitchen oven and best for whole fish, vegetables, casseroles, poultry, roasts, and rotisserie cooking. Indirect cooking is perfect for cooking fish steaks and thick meat already seared using the direct cooking method to seal the meat’s natural juice.
The most important thing to bear in mind when cooking with the indirect method is to preheat the BBQ and cook slowly.
How do I leave grill marks on my meat?
If you want to get those beautiful grill marks on your barbecue meat, you don’t want to move the meat around too much. For grill marks, it’s best to place your chicken or steak on a hot grill and allow it to sit for more than 2 minutes. The key thing is reducing how often you move the food from one side to the other.