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What is cooking all about? The basic idea of cooking is about putting ingredients together whether you need to heat them or not and building a product that everyone loves. The basic idea of cooking in the United States is based on French influences. Gravy and the idea of flavoring came from the French. It has evolved since then.
With all nations around the world weighing in now. Foreign influences are becoming Americanized. A great example is Mexican Food. Local Mexican restaurants serve Mexican food with cheese and seasonings that are not found in Mexico. Maybe because these ingredients are available here.
If we chop off one piece of cooking and focus on cooking meat what is that all about? Its about denaturing proteins if you heat them. If you don’t its about setting it up in a form easy to eat. Cooking meat over heat is about transforming it into something safe and tasty to eat.
I will agree that meat is 75% water so boiling water is in the equation. The more contaminates you put in water the higher the boiling point goes up but the capacity to hold heat goes down. Proteins have a high content of water. Converting them to solid from gelatin is what smoking and grilling is all about.
Cook times depend on how much energy it takes to convert the proteins to the desired consistency. The bigger the cuts the more energy its going to take to make the conversion from gelatin like substance that proteins come in to the solid state you want to end up at.
That is where the science of cooking comes in. Some people want to make a big deal about the routes that heat travel. Conduction, convection, induction, radiant, infrared, common sense is that pan frying comes from a more concentrated substance than smoking in a smoker. Pan frying your meat depending on contact with the pan, smoking is mostly radiant heat minus the small amount of conducted heat you get from the little grate.
Let us focus on the real issues. Cook times, Flavoring, Handling and When your meat is done. Flavoring meat has developed from a lot of different influences. Mexican influences alone with the meat markets in Texas have shaped BBQ in a big way. Salt Pepper and Lawry’s Season Salt started a trend toward the rub. Everglades Seasoning was developed by a mess Sargent in World War II because the meat was going bad and seasoning it made it last longer. We have developed The Top 100 Rubs list.
Chicken companies have been injecting meat with salt water for over 40 years, since the 70’s. Chicken in processing plants have been injecting meat with salt water, chicken stock, seaweed extract or some combination thereof. I would gather that is where injecting has its root. If anyone knows of a grand moment when injecting started we’ll have a comment box on the bottom send it on over.
Injecting crosses all barriers and gets moisture where it counts in the meat. Injections are salt based because proteins are polar like salt. Injections add moisture and flavor. Sweet Smoke Q adds a large amount of flavor and changes texture. Its not just for moisture.
Rubs are the meat of the order. If you have a good enough rub you won’t need sauce. If you put enough rub on in the right combination you will not need rub. I’ve done it 1000 times. Trim + Injection + Rub + Correct Cook Time and Temperature = perfect BBQ.
Sauce is to cover up your mistakes some say. Sauces are a last thing at the end because the sugars in BBQ Sauce will burn fast if added into the cook.
Now Brine, Marinades, Injection, Rub, Cook Times, Temperatures, and BBQ Sauce have made BBQ the most manipulated cuisine in the world. The magic of blue smoke, combined with the sugars and salts in a rub create the Maillard Recation and that may be the most important reaction in Food History. The Indians at Key West, Islands Off of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia all knew that this reaction was happening and relied on it for their seasoning. The bone was the best source of salt flavor in the dark ages. Indians knew about the basics of BBQ before settlers were ever in America. The smoke ring was the area that the Millard Reaction happened in most.
If you look at a Boston Butt, of Brisket as a base of BBQ. Both are essentially a big bag of water. Each has a self defense system that is activated when it is cut off the animal. Brisket lovers take advantage of this with wet and dry aging. Boston Butts heal a whole made by and injector enough to hold the injection in. The injection disperses through the pork as it is allowed to set. Room temperature makes everything go faster. The colder the slower. Once you start cooking its like heating up 16 pots of water for a Boston Butt. Each separate muscle has to heat up individually but may get heat from other muscle groups as it all heats up. The membranes serve to disperse heat but eventually break down. That is where ascorbic acid come in with pork. Ascorbic acid will help break down collagen. Using Pineapple Juice, Orange Juice, Mango Juice, Peach Nectar all help in the process of breaking down collagen.
Beef has to be cut right. Muscles have to be cut against the grain or they are hard to cook and eat. Injecting is a must Sweet Smoke Q’s beef injection will turn any Beef Cut larger than 1 pound into a magic cut of meat when served. Beef fat isn’t like pork fat. Beef fat just jells, pork fat will melt and run off to a most extent.
Most FDA required temperatures for safe serving of meat are all below the boiling point of water. The documented serving cooking temperatures are usually kind of low. Chicken was once 140 F as a good serving Temperature. The serving temperatures have been moved by agreement between cooks because they want a certain consistency more than doness. That is not what backyard cook needs to worry about. Serving a Boston Butt to your family has nothing to do with a perfect money muscle. A well flavored, falling apart done money muscle will probably taste better. There is the official FDA requirement then the exceeded standard of wanting to serve the tastiest BBQ you can eat.
Cooking Temperatures start off with a consistent Chamber. The chamber has to be sealed so no heat escapes. A leaky cooking chamber is hard to keep a consistent temperature. The efficiency of the chamber is important. Heat can be conducted out of the chamber by a thin walled cooker as fast as a leak from a leaky cooking chamber. The ability of the cooking chamber to maintain heat is key to getting the same result every time.
Maintaining a heat source is important. Pellets, Gravity Flow, Gas, are guaranteed as long as the sources are full. Offsets, Charcoal Grills, and wood burners will take a little more attention.
Temperature at the grate is important. Thermometers that are in a lid 6 to 12 inches above the grate where your BBQ is setting may vary in temperature 25 to 150 degrees. Getting an idea of the difference will be the difference in a big time cook success or failure.
Never BBQ indoors, in the garage or in a closed in area. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning kills. Carbon Monoxide has 10 time the affinity for hemoglobin as Oxygen. It can be cumulative if you expose your self to Carbon Monoxide in closed places to often.
Knowing how long to leave it on at what temperature. When to wrap your BBQ if you going to wrap is key. That is what BBQSuperStars is all about. We have video, radio, and website information with graphics to explain all that to you.
Cooking is a past time, profession, hobby, love, and best friend. Its a place to loose yourself when you need a break. The results a can be delicious. BBQSuperStars is going to give you a starting point in BBQ you can’t get any where else. Enjoy the ride, jump in if you want. We welcome everyone.