Tips and Stuff!
Great read here for a brush up!
here as often as you would like to brush up on things
you may or may not know. Click on a link below to
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in the hills, if you watch the old timers cook, they
have their own way of adding special spices and herbs.
Our Grandparents did things the same way. If you asked
them how much salt, or pepper, or this or that went
into a recipe, they would tell you "a pinch"
of this, "a little bit" of that. Well, here's
a fun guide for you if you have a recipe with those
types of measurments in there.
1 smidget = a tency little bit
smidgets = 1 pinch
pinches = 1 little bit
little bits = 1 mil and a mount
mil and a mounts = 1 right smart
right smarts = a whole heap
matter what type of fuel you use, the resulting fuel is
the same... a bed of hot coals. You can use hardwood,
charcoal briquettes, or lump charcoal. All three burn
down to hot coals, which cooks the meat. The advantage
of using wood over briquettes or lump charcoal is the
flavor imparted by the smoke. Briquettes and lump charcoal
are processed products and, although they do smoke while
burning, have lost virtually all of the means to produce
the flavorizing effect of burning wood. If using briquettes
or lump charcoal, wood chips or chunks are required to
produce the smoke that flavors the meat.
you burn wood in a fireplace you know the more dense the
wood is, the longer the wood burns. Most any wood will
work for a fireplace. Not so with your smoker. Hardwoods,
either from a nut or fruit tree are most commonly used
due to the flavor imparted by the wood. All hardwoods
are dense, just some more dense than others. Although
a few pitmasters (you can count them on one hand) will
use green wood, it is best to use wood that has aged or
cured out. Most wood is best used in the range of 6 months
to 1 year. If you have wood that has been around a while
and is looking old and getting light in weight, it can
be used as fire-starter wood. Use it to start your fire.
Use good, heavy, dense pieces of wood for getting your
primary bed of hot coals.
When purchasing beef it should be a bright, cherry-red
color and the fat a creamy white.
Shrimp, scallops or cubes of firm fish make excellent
Purchase beef that is firm to the touch, not soft.
Fish usually takes about 10 minutes to grill for each
inch of thickness.
Cut vegetables in large chunks and put directly on the
grill, or in smaller pieces if you have a grill basket
- they'll cook faster.
When buying fish look for glossy, moist and intact steaks
Always marinate in the refrigerator, never at room temperature.
Tender beef cuts need to be marinated only 15 or up to
2 hours for more flavor.
Brush meat with fresh marinade during cooking for more
Do not pierce meat before marinating as it causes juices
and moisture to be lost during cooking.
Keep fresh lemon juice handy while grilling fish. You
can brush this on while you grill to add flavor and keep
the fish moist.
Ribs and chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature
of 140 and 160 degrees respectively.
Don't squish kabobs. Leave a 1/4-inch space between food
pieces so the heat can circulate better and crisp all
Leave a thin layer of fat on steaks during cooking to
preserve juiciness. Trim fat after cooking.
Pat steaks dry with paper towels for better browning.
Cooking meats at too high a temperature can cause the
outside to char before the interior reaches the proper
Use the "poke test" to determine whether your
meat is done or not. Gently push the top of the meat with
your finger. The resilience will tell you the degree of
* Rare: Soft/squishy
* Medium-rare: Slightly resilient
* Medium: Semi-firm.
* Well-done: Firm
The most reliable way to test when food is done is by
using a thermometer.
To assure success when cooking on wooden skewers, soak
the skewers in water for 30 minutes before putting the
food on them.
To cook a 1-inch thick steak over medium heat, allow 4
minutes on each side for rare, 5 minutes for medium and
6 minutes for well done.
Let beef and other meats stand at room temperature for
30 minutes (no longer) before grilling. This standing
time allows the meat to be more tender.
To prevent fish from sticking to the grill, spray the
cold grill rack with cooking spray or brush lightly with
Foil with holes poked into it can also be placed on the
grill to stop the fish from sticking.
Go easy with the spatula. Pressing down on the meat squeezes
out its flavourful juices, causing the meat to dry out,
and can also cause dangerous flare-ups.
Remove cooked meat from the grill and place on a clean
plate immediately. Cover with foil to keep juicy.
Preheat gas barbecue at least 10 minutes on high heat
for searing and to prevent sticking on the grill. Make
sure your grill is clean before using.
When grilling kebabs judge the cooking time of each item.
Precook those things that will take longer then assemble
the kebab and grill.
To help keep meats moist during a long grill or barbecue,
add a pan of water close to the fire, but away from the
If you use the same marinade that you've soaked meat in
as a baste or sauce, remember to boil it for a couple
of minutes first to insure that any bacteria is killed
When grilling whole chiles be careful of the smoke. Chili
smoke can burn the eyes almost as effectively as putting
the chili right in your eyes.
Vent holes in a covered grill control air flow. To raise
the temperature, open vents fully. To lower the temperature,
Season herbs and spices, garlic, salt and pepper immediately
before grilling for maximum taste.
Fish fillets (like salmon) will need about 6-8 minutes
per side. Trout fillets may only need 4 minutes per side.
When cooking vegetables on over an open flame, presoak
them in cold water for half an hour to keep them from
When cooking larger pieces of meat, like roasts, over
charcoal, pile the coals on one side and place the food
on the other. This allows for indirect cooking and reduces
Don't peek. Resist the urge to open your grill cover until
For direct cooking on a charcoal grill, make sure there
is enough charcoal to extend in a single layer 1 to 2
inches beyond the area of the food on the grill.
When grilling with the lid closed, open a can of beer
and place the beer over the hottest part of the fire.
The beer will boil and saturate the air inside the grill
with water vapor, beer flavors and alcohol. This will
help keep the roasting meats moist, while adding flavor
to the meat.
Tomato and/or sugar based BBQ sauces should be added at
the end of the grilling process, since these products
will burn easily and are seldom considered an internal
Lock in flavors by keeping the grill lid closed.
Light basting sauces, such as beer for brats or olive
oil on chicken, can be added throughout the grilling process
Fish is cooked when the meat flakes easily with a fork
and appears opaque all the way through. If any of the
meat is still glossy and translucent then it is not done.
A grill basket makes grilling fish, especially smaller
pieces, considerably easier for cooking and clean-up.
Line inside of a charcoal grill with Reynolds Wrap Heavy
Duty Aluminum Foil for easy cleanup.
a Great Smoke Flavor
When you BBQ you must add a smoke flavor to the meat.
is one of the two most important things you can do to
add flavor to your meat.
good smoke flavor will penetrate the meat with the heat
and give your meat a real boost in flavor. Don't add a
smoke flavored spice.
get asked all the time...... What kind of wood do I use?
answer is a wood that produces a good flavor and you can
get your hands on. Many people use what is around them
locally. It could be oak, pecan, hickory, or a fruit wood.
These all work great.
The two most popular BBQ woods are hickory and oak. Down
here in South Texas I use mesquite because of it's sweet
wood gives its own distinctive flavor to the meat you
are cooking. For a comparison of different woods click
here. Do yourself a favor and try different woods until
you find your favorite.
Never use pine or cedar. There are some bad things in
the smoke that can ruin your meat and cooker, and possibly
make everyone that eats the meat sick.
If you use a gas grill you can still add the smoke flavor
to your meat. Simply put a metal pan with some wood chips
(soak them in water for about 30 minutes first) of your
favorite wood on top of the fake charcoal while you are
cooking. This will give you a smoke taste. Check them
periodically and keep adding them to the metal pan as
you are using a charcoal grill, you might be using some
type of charcoal that has added a wood to the briquettes
themselves. I would suggest using more chips of wood in
a metal container placed on the briquettes for more flavoring.
You can even put the wood chips directly on the briquettes
if you wish.
Never use a cheap charcoal. Many of the cheap charcoals
are made with sawdust and glues. They simply just don't
do anything for your flavor but make it worse. Always
be sure your charcoal is made with a hardwood.
Don't use charcoal lighter fluid when starting your fire
as this will leave an unpleasant taste in the smoke. Also,
don't use the charcoal briquettes that have added starter
fluid built into them.
- PREPARE THE MEAT FOR THE GRILL
do you need to do to get the meat ready for the grill?
There are basically two ways to prepare your meat for
A marinade is a combination of several ingredients used
to tenderize and flavor the meat. There are many recipes
out there for marinades with all kinds of flavors. But
marinades are always a liquid and have a few common ingredients;
acid, oil, and spices.
acid is used to help break down the meat, the oil is used
to keep the meat from drying out, and the spices are used
to add additional flavor to your meat.
are several different acids that are commonly used
Oils can be a vegetable oil, peanut oil, olive oil, but
never use any oil that will coagulate in the frig such as
butter or bacon drippings.
can be a wide variety to suit your taste buds. They are
used to add additional flavor (remember the smoke adds
flavor) to your meat. Examples are spices include peppers,
salts, paprika, cumin, cayenne, basil, mustard, etc. Of
course you will usually have onion and garlic also.
can always experiment around with mixes of oils, acids,
and spices to get the taste you prefer. This takes a lot
of your valuable time up when you could have your meat
already on the grill cooking.
Using marinades can cause some real serious problems if
they are not handled right. Here is a list of some of
the problems you could have.
Use extreme care when you use tenderizers, vinegar, and
citrus juices. If left on the meat too long, they can
cause the meat to become mushy.
2. Do not use aluminum pans when you marinade. The acids
in the marinade can react with the aluminum and cause
a serious problem. Always use a glass dish or a large
plastic bag to marinade your meat.
3. Perhaps the biggest problem; do not reuse any of the
marinade again once you have let your meat sit in it unless
you take the marinade and boil it first. Chances are the
meat you just marinated has left bacteria from the meat
in the marinade and this bacteria can cause severe sickness.
Always throw out any marinade you have used when you are
4. Marinades need refrigeration. Always keep the meat
you are marinating or have marinated in the frig until
you put it on the grill. Once you put it on the grill
and the heat from the grill reaches the marinade, the
tendency is for the marinade to roll off the meat. So,
all that work is for nothing, except the small amount
of marinade that actually pierced the meat.
5. Marinades have a short shelf life. Store any unused
marinate in air tight container (remember o aluminum)
in the fridge.
6. Marinades have a tendency to burn very easily on the
outside of your meat. This creates an unpleasant taste
and color to your meat.
ME SAY IT ONE MORE TIME... BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL WHEN YOU
USE ANY MARINADE
I will tell you that I only use a marinade occasionally
when I cook chicken or pork tenderloin. I use Italian
dressing as my marinade. I just pour a little over the
chicken or pork loin, let it stand for a couple of minutes,
and then add Texas BBQ Rub over the meat. The Italian
dressing helps hold on the rub as well as adds flavor.
MARINADES DO ADD FLAVOR RO YOUR MEATS.... BUT.... THEY
HAVE THE POTENTIAL DANGERS OF SPREADING BACTERIA, CAUSING
SICKNESS IF HANDLED IMPROPERLY, AND NEEDING REFRIGERATION.
is a RUB?
are used in every part of the country to enhance the flavor
of BBQ. Generally, rubs are a combination of spices which
are "rubbed" or sprinkled on the outside surface
of the meat before you put it on the grill.
do GREAT things to your meat.....
seal the flavor of the meat
form a tasty crust on the BBQ
enhance the color of the cooked meat
Important - Rubs pull moisture from the air while drawing
juices from inside meat. This reaction is called osmosis.
This literally causes the meat to marinade itself as it
Rubs are a combination of different spices mixed with
salts and sugars. The salt draws moisture out of the meat,
the sugar locks in the flavor of the spices by caramelizing
on the surface of the meat and sealing in all those great
spice flavors. The sugar also assists in osmosis.
in rubs can include allspice, onion, garlic, cinnamon,
chili pepper, paprika, mustard, cumin, sage, or thyme
(just to name a few).
of Rubs Over Marinades
are more economical than marinades
do not need any refrigeration
have a long shelf life (several months)
use only the amount you need, and save the rest in your
pantry for later
add a colorful and tasteful crust to the finished meat
self marinate the meat so you don't have to marinate the
meat while it cooks
are EASY to put on the meat
make it easier for you to control the flavor of the meat
are perfect for larger pieces of meat such as pork spareribs,
pork butts, briskets, and tenderloins
rub can either be wet or dry. Wet rubs have some liquid
in them that gives them a consistency of a paste. Some
rubs (such as Texas BBQ Rub) start out as a dry tub, but
when it is heated, becomes a paste.
do they call it a rub? I prefer to rub the surface of
the meat with the rub. Some prefer to shake the rub on
the meat and leave it that way. Either way the rub will
enhance the natural flavor of the meat and add those special
spice flavorings to the meat.
can apply rub up to a couple of days before you cook your
meat, wrap it up in a plastic wrap or butcher paper, and
put it in the frig. (For larger pieces of meat this works
best). Add a generous portion of the rub at first to the
meat and then as it sits you should add a little more
rub before cooking.
I apply TEXAS BBQ RUB as little as a few minutes before
I put the meat on the cooker. It seems like I never have
enough empty space in my frig for large amounts of meats.
No need to overnight it in the frig with TEXAS BBQ RUB.
I'll give you more tips on applying TEXAS BBQ RUB in a
few minutes. Using these tips you will immediately turn
TEXAS BBQ RUB into a paste.
large cuts of meat (brisket, pork butts, pork loins, beef
tenderloins and pork spareribs) I always use indirect
heat and smoke to cook the meat. These pieces of meat
(and most others) require time to cook thoroughly and
indirect heat mixed with smoke will slowly penetrate the
meat and cook it to perfection
you are using a gas grill with at least 2 burners, it
is easy for you to cook with indirect heat. Just turn
off one of the burners and put your meat on that side
of the grill.
you only have one burner on your gas grill, you can still
accomplish cooking with indirect heat and smoke by placing
a pan of water on the grill and put your meat on a rack
inside of the pan. Be sure to check the water on occasion
and fill up the pan when it gets low on water.
charcoal grills you simply stack the charcoal to one side
of the grill and cook on the opposite side of the grill.
are the easiest since they have been designed to cook
with only the heat and smoke pulled over the meat.
need to use a thermometer to make sure the heat is right
to cook with. Some cooker and grills come with built in
thermometer to temp gauge and these will usually work
just fine. If you don't have a temp gauge built in your
cooker then get one and put it where you will be cooking
next to the meat.
are now ready. Get your grill up to temperature and while
you are letting it get hot, take your meat out of the
frig, rub it down with Texas BBQ Rub and let it stand
at room temperature until you are ready to put it on the
YOUR SUCCESS!!!! Remember these things when you are BBQ'ing:
Cooking at low temperatures
Use a great rub
here's where ya get the rub!