Some of the most expert cooks spend most of their time outdoors, grilling the most delectable dishes to suit your palate. Nevertheless, you don’t really need to be an expert to come up with the juiciest and tastiest grilled meat so long as you know some of the basic techniques in doing so. If you are keen on making your next grilled dish one for the books, below are the different barbeque methods and techniques that you need to know about.
Direct grilling is by far the simplest and most common barbeque method there is. It involves cooking small chunks of meat positioned on skewers or grill baskets directly over fire. For this reason, direct grilling is perfect for kebabs, tender chops, or fish. More often than not, direct grilling is done over medium or high heat with a general rule that a hotter fire should be used for a thinner piece of meat. The time spent to cook food over a direct grilling method is usually anywhere from three to six minutes per side, making this barbeque method the fastest way to cook food over a grill.
Contrary to direct grilling, indirect grilling is a barbeque method that involves cooking food next to the fire in the grill. The coal is often raked on opposite sides of the grill, with the food cooked in the center. An aluminum foil drip plan is situated under the food, between the coals raked on the side, to catch the dripping fat. Aside from a drip pan, you can also use an aluminum foil as a grill brush. Indirect grilling is best suited for larger cuts of meat and it is often done with the lid of the grill closed. Pellet grills are best to be used for this barbeque method because of their design. It often takes anywhere from an hour to a couple of hours to cook your food through the indirect grilling method so you need to have patience.
Apart from direct and indirect grilling, another barbeque method is smoking. With smoking, you need to use hardwood in the form of chunks, chips or logs on the fire. The hardwood you use to fuel your smoker will somehow influence the flavor of your food. A great tip is to use wood from fruit trees for an extra flavor such as apple, cherry, peach or grape. It will also help to soak the wood chips in water for at least an hour, or even overnight because the water content would make the wood chips produce more smoke.
You must take note, however, that there are smokers not fueled by wood. Rather, there are different types of BBQ smokers fueled by charcoal, gas or electricity. A different set up may be needed to smoke your food, depending on whether you intend to directly or indirectly grill over charcoal, gas, or pellet grill. If you are directly or indirectly grilling over a charcoal grill, you need to add hardwood chunks to the fire or to each side of the coal mount. On the other hand, if you are using a gas grill, make sure to put the hardwood chunks directly on the heat diffuser. The hours that you need to wait before your food is ready depends on the meat you are smoking, but it can be anywhere from an hour to a couple of hours. If you are smoke-roasting, set the temperature to medium heat, but keep in mind that true barbecue is smoked in low heat.
Another barbeque method is spit-roasting or live-fire cooking. It is somehow a technique that combines the direct and indirect grilling methods because of the gentle rotation that you need to perform to cook your food evenly. Medium to high heat is often used for spit roasting, but the waiting time is comparably faster than that of indirect grilling or smoking. Spit roasting is the perfect method to cook oval-shaped meats such as a whole chicken.
Caveman grilling is one of the oldest barbeque methods. You need to build a charcoal fire and rake the embers on the sides, forming a grill hoe. Your food should be laid directly on the embers. The grilling time is comparatively quick, cooking the food within just a couple of minutes on each side. For this reason, caveman grilling is perfect for vegetables or shellfish. It results in crusty food texture and a smokier flavor because of the varying heat zones of the setup, as well as the slight charring of the food.
Important Barbeque Tip
It is best to grill meat that is already at room temperature so as not to slow down the cooking process. Thus, take the meat out of the fridge for at least an hour before you grill. Additionally, avoid applying sugary marinades too early and brush the sauce only during the last couple of minutes to prevent it from burning. Also, try to resist the temptation of peeking into your barbeque every so often because this disrupts the smoking process. It is unnecessary to open the cooker and check the temperature more than once every hour.
In addition to this, let the meat sit before serving, regardless of the barbeque technique you used to cook it. This will seal the juices of the meat and keep it from drying out. But keep in mind to only cut the meat when you are ready to serve it. Finally, keep in mind to keep your grill clean before you use it, while you are using it, and most especially after you use it.
You can opt to perform either a direct or indirect grilling, depending on the type of meat that you need to barbeque. You can also go for smoking or spit-roasting, as well as caveman grilling, depending on the time you are willing to commit to cooking your food. The important thing to consider is that whatever barbeque method you choose to use, you need to use the appropriate grill or smoker along with it to ensure that your efforts will be all worth it.