We’re all familiar with barbecuing, but most of us are unaware of the real tricks that make it taste so wonderful. To some barbecuing is an art form. Anyone new to this art may get confused, because cooking meat over an open fire can be really tricky. In order to get an impressive and delicious BBQ dish, you need a lot of patience. Barbecue can be prepared with two techniques: grilling and smoking. Grilling is, by far, the quickest method of cooking meat over a direct source of dry heat. In contrast, smoking is a very slow process, where the food is kept at a distance from the fire. Let’s take a look at the two separately to understand the real differences.
Before going into detail, understand that there are three types of grills: charcoal grills, gas grills, and electric grills. Charcoal grills tend to be the least expensive when compared to the other two. Gas and electric use external power/fuel to produce the heat and are, thus, more expensive. However, let’s get back to the cooking. Grilling is accomplished one of two ways: direct and indirect. The direct method is a high-heat method. It is typically used for cooking small pieces of food. Steaks, chops, chicken breasts, etc. are some of the foods that can be grilled directly. As the name suggests, the indirect method keeps the food to the side, away from the heat source. It is somewhat like baking a cake or roasting a loin.
Smoking is one of the finest ways to cook food, even though it takes significantly more time. While grilling is best for cooking smaller pieces, smoking is best for cooking larger pieces. Roasts, ham, ribs, and brisket are some of the foods typically smoked. You need to maintain a steady temperature to be rewarded with tender, deliciously smoked food. The normal temperature range for smoking is between 200-225 degrees F. If you cook the meat until it’s 165 degrees in the middle, it makes the meat tastier as the smoke flavor gets deep inside.
For basic BBQ smoking, you can use the regular grill. The only thing that you need to be aware of is the selection of right kind of wood. Each wood offers different flavors and character to the dish. You need to experiment with several kinds of wood to find out which one you prefer. The actual smokers may vary in shape and size. There are smokers available that run on either gas, electric, or charcoal. The heat produced by smokers is a cooler one, which is why it takes more time.
Finally, barbecue has to involve one more process: topping it with sauce. Many purists regard it to be the most important ingredient that you simply can’t omit. Types of sauce varies according to the region. While vinegar-based sauces are typical in the southern United States, tomato-bases sauces are typical in the western United States. (In fact, some old-family recipes are closely guarded secrets passed on from generation to generation). The best time to apply sauce is during the final stage of cooking. Apply it when you’re sure that the meat is well cooked. Because sugar is one of the main ingredients in barbecue sauces, it tends to burn easily. So, you must cook the meat so you can avoid burning the sugar.