Author: Veradis Trippel

Whiskey and Barbecue – What Goes with What

A barbecue is incomplete without the right beverages. While something cool and refreshing like beer may seem like the perfect accompaniment to your meat, whiskey is the ideal beverage for your barbecue party. If you pair whiskey and barbecue right, they can make a great combination. Whiskey and barbecue are a natural pair as they share the same notes of wood and spices. You just cannot go wrong by serving whiskey with barbecue. A knowledge of whiskey and barbecue pairings is sure to serve you well at your next backyard barbecue.

Read on for some tips on how to serve whiskey at a barbecue.

 

Whiskey is a versatile beverage that can be served with any kind of meat, just make sure to go slow with it. When taken with barbecue, whiskey must be savored. Treat it more like an expensive wine, relish every sip. For those not accustomed to whiskey, make sure to pace it with adequate amounts of water. With some practice, you will be able to pick out the unique flavors in the drink.

Scotch and barbecue have an age old relationship. Scotch is very versatile when it comes to barbecue. It is often used in place of barbecue sauce as a glaze. It can be mixed with water and poured over the wood used to smoke the meat. It can also serve as an accompaniment to your meat. A glass of scotch is sure to add sophistication to your barbecue. Scotch goes so well with barbecue that even the oak barrels used to store whiskey are put to use at the end of their lifespan. As the barrel was probably used to store scotch for a long time, the wood is infused with scotch. It can be cut up into chips and used to smoke your meat. This gives the meat a unique, rich and smoky flavor.

Bourbon is another type of whiskey that has a long-standing relationship with barbecue. It is the perfect complement to barbecued meat as it has an underlying sweetness that goes very well with the sweetness in barbecue sauces. While old-school connoisseurs prefer pure bourbon with their meat, a bourbon cocktail can be a better choice. A fruity bourbon cocktail with hints of rhubarb, citrus or honey would enhance the smoky flavor of the barbecue. Bourbon is the drink of choice when barbecuing pulled pork.

Jack Daniel’s, a very popular Tennessee whiskey, goes great with barbecue. Tennessee is the Mecca for barbecue lovers and this is probably why Jack Daniel’s and barbecue complement each other so perfectly. Whether you are having pulled pork or steak, Jack Daniel’s is a must, either as an accompaniment or as a part of the recipe. Add a slathering of Jack Daniel’s instead of barbecue sauce while grilling baby back ribs and you will have yourself a culinary masterpiece. So, at your next barbecue party, keep a bottle of Jack Daniel’s at hand to impress your guests with your culinary skills.

How to Barbecue Pork the Right Way

While pork is one of the hardest meats to barbecue, if it is done right, you will be left with mouth-watering, succulent pork chops. It is said that if you learn how to grill pork to perfection you can grill anything, in the comfort of your own backyard.

 

Listed below are some tips to keep in mind while barbecuing pork:

1. Patience Is Key

As it has been said countless times before, when it comes to barbecuing pork, you must be patient. It is a long, slow process and will probably take up your whole day. Just relax, take your time and have fun with it.

 

2. The Right Meat

Many barbecue novices make the mistake of buying thin cuts of meat in order to minimize cooking time. Make sure to opt for thicker cuts, they are easier to grill and taste much better. The best choice would be a cut with thin streaks of fat, called marbling, across its surface. This fat will melt while grilling and make the inside moist and juicy.

 

3. Time to Brine

Even if you have found the perfect cut of pork, brining is a must. Soaking the meat in a weak salt and sugar solution adds moisture to it. A standard brining solution can be made by mixing 60 ml of salt and sugar in 1L of water. For added taste, boil the water with rosemary, thyme or any other aromatic herb of your choice. There is no need to salt the meat if you have brined it.

4. Using Wood to Barbecue

All BBQ experts know the importance of smoking pork with wood. Apple, hickory, oak or cherry are the ideal types of wood to use while smoking pork. Mesquite and sap woods like pine should be avoided as they would overpower the taste of the meat and are slightly toxic. Place the wood on the hot coals when you place the pork on the grill. Allow it to cook slowly at a low temperature. This ensures that the rich and smoky flavor of the wood is brought out.

 

5. No Peeking!

It can be very tempting to lift the lid while barbecuing and check if the meat is cooking the way you want it. However, each time you lift the lid, you are increasing cooking time significantly. While the lid is on, the meat is being cooked from above and below. The minute you lift the lid, heat escapes and the meat are cooked only from the bottom. As you are cooking over an indirect flame, there is no need to flip your meat. So, just stay away from the grill while it’s cooking.

 

6. It’s a Wrap

Now that you have your perfectly cooked, tender pork ready, it is time for the finishing touches. Though barbecued pork by itself, can be great, adding sauce will only enhance the taste. Glaze your pork with barbecue sauce and smoke for about twenty more minutes. This will ensure that the sauce bakes into the meat. And there you have it, your pork is ready to be served. While you may not get it perfectly right the first time, after some trial and error you are sure to find your ideal barbecue method. So put on your apron and happy grilling!

For some more instructions on how you can get that barbecue perfect, here’s a great video by Smokes A Rollin.

Selecting the Best Electric Smokers for Your Backyard – What to Look For

Smoking and grilling meat is as popular today as it was a decade ago, the techniques are just more refined. An electric smoker is a versatile, modern appliance that is a must for those who love smoked meats and other such delicacies. An electric smoker is much easier to use than a traditional classic smoker, mainly because you do not need to gather wood or charcoal. However, choosing the best electric smoker can be quite a daunting and confusing task. There are so many factors to consider like temperature and pressure control, type of fuel used, size, etc. So how can you find the best electric smoker to suit all your needs? Read on for information on choosing the perfect electric smoker.

 

The first factor to consider while choosing an electric smoker is your experience. Are you a beginner to smoking meat? If so, you would do well to stick with smaller, user-friendly models. Once you have gotten the hang of it, you can always trade in your smoker for a more advanced model. Many beginners make the mistake of buying a large electric smoker without considering their needs. If you plan on cooking just for your family and friends, a small to medium sized smoker would be adequate. Even a small smoker can easily turn out enough meat for a gathering of about twenty people. It would save you space as well as money. However, if you plan on using your smoker for large parties or competitions, a bigger model would be required. So, keep in mind your experience level and needs before buying an electric smoker.

 

The most important factor when it comes to smoking meat is the temperature and the timing. If you have these two factors down, your meat is sure to be tasty and succulent. Most electric smokers use thermostats to maintain the temperature. However, electric smokers with rheostats are becoming popular too. It is recommended to go for the ones with the thermostats as they are more flexible and can be used to smoke a variety of meats.

As all experts in smoked meats know, heat flow is another factor to be considered while buying an electric smoker. Advanced electric smokers have the heat flowing sideways and downwards and while this is probably the best way to smoke meat, it isn’t necessary for beginners to shell out a fortune on such an expensive smoker. A beginner can go for a simple electric smoker with upward heat flow. This would cook the meat to perfection and give it the desired rich, smoky flavor.

The design of the electric smoker also plays a big role in the kind of meat it turns out. It is recommended by experts to choose electric smokers with thick and straight grids, preferably with a hollow inside. Smokers with box-like chambers are not good for smoking meats as they don’t allow it to be cooked well on the inside.

 

Electric smokers are the most convenient appliances when it comes to grilling and barbecue. You do not need to constantly monitor the temperature and timing. You can load up your meat and go on with your work, confident that your meat will be perfectly cooked and ready by the time you’re back. Easy, isn’t it?

Selecting the Right Puck Flavor for your Meat 101

People have been barbecuing food for centuries past. In the beginning, an open fire and a spit were all that was used to cook meat. Over the decades we refined our cooking methods and adopted more sophisticated culinary techniques. The modern barbecue grill is probably one of the most revolutionary inventions and it changed the culinary world forever. It changed our methods for cooking meat, making it much easier and the meat much tastier. You can now have a barbecue in your own backyard with minimal hassles. However, as our cooking methods developed, they also got more complicated.

There are a variety of factors to be kept in mind while barbequing meat. The type of barbeque grill used, the temperature, the BBQ sauce, all play an important role in the quest for the perfect barbeque method. While all of the listed factors are important and should be considered, one oft-ignored factor in barbeque is the flavor of the pucks being used. The puck flavor plays a big role in the taste of the meat. If the meat is paired with the right puck flavors, it will enhance the taste of the meat. The wrong puck flavor can diminish the taste of the best and most well-prepared cuts of meat. So, all barbecue beginners should adhere to the guide below when choosing the puck flavor for your meat.

 

1. Hickory

Hickory is probably the most popular puck flavor used. Many people use hickory with all kinds of meat but this is a grave mistake. Hickory has a strong, pungent aroma with smoky undertones. It can be paired with pork, bacon, in particular, chicken and beef.

2. Mesquite

Mesquite is another popular puck flavor widely used by barbecue enthusiasts. The use of mesquite is justified as it goes well with most meats and even vegetables. This is the best puck flavor for barbecuing beef. It has a sweeter flavor than hickory and is not as pungent.

 

3. Apple

Apple pucks have a sweet, fruity flavor that is perfect for barbecuing poultry, beef and especially pork. The sweetness in apple pucks goes well with the sweet undertones in barbecue sauce.

 

4. Cherry

Like apple flavored pucks, cherry also has a similar fruity flavor, though it isn’t as smoky as apple. Cherry flavored pucks go well with pork, poultry, and game birds.

 

5. Maple

Maple has a distinctive, slightly smoky and sweet flavor. Mable mixed with corncobs is the perfect blend for barbecuing ham. However, maple can also be used to barbecue vegetables and poultry.

 

6. Alder

If you are barbecuing seafood or light meats, alder is the way to go. Whether it is salmon or swordfish, alder will give your seafood the perfect flavor. It also works with chicken and pork.

 

7. Pecan

Pecan is similar to hickory but is it milder and has a richer flavor. If you are barbecuing on very low heat, you should opt for pecan. It can be used to barbecue fish, lamb, and chicken.

 

8. Oak

Oak has a strong flavor and is quite versatile. It blends best with beef, pork, and poultry. Your barbecue exploits are sure to be successful if you pair meat with a suitable puck flavor. Using the above tips, you can throw the best backyard barbecue party of the season! And if you need more help, you can read more at Chadsbbq.com. This article by him is really something of an eye opener!

6 Tips to Selecting your Barbecue Music

You have your grill set up, meat cooking and beverages all ready for your backyard barbecue party, but aren’t you forgetting something? The music, of course! Music can truly make or break an event. It is as much a part of the ambiance as the location and the lighting. The right music at your barbecue can help set the tone for a fun-filled summer party that your guests are sure to remember for a long time. You don’t need to hire a DJ or a live band to have a great time, just your iPod and speakers are enough to set the mood.

 

The following tips will help you in crafting the perfect playlist for your barbecue:

1. Cater to the Audience

The music should be selected based on the people who would be attending. Is it a family get-together or a bachelor’s bash or maybe an afternoon soiree with just your girlfriends. A younger crowd would prefer peppy dance numbers while older guests would want light music playing in the background. Choose songs that your guests would be familiar with and can sing along with. It is crucial to be mindful of your guests’ preferences while picking out the music.

2. Timing

When your barbecue party is, timing is another major factor to consider while compiling the playlist. If it is a brunch party, you would want to play fun-filled, light music that wouldn’t drown out your guests’ conversations. However, at a BBQ cocktail party in the evening, fast numbers that people can dance to would be a bigger hit. At the beginning, you could start off with mellow songs and as the party picks up steam you would want to include faster numbers.

3. The Venue

If you are having your BBQ bash in your own backyard, in a residential area, you cannot play loud music all through the night. It will probably make you unpopular among your neighbors and it is unfair to them too. Pick the music for your event depending on the surroundings and ambience.

4. Theme

If you have a theme in mind for your BBQ party, make sure to match the music accordingly. If you’re having red meat and whiskey, the music should be low-key and conducive to conversation. If it is cocktails and ribs that you’re having, the music can be fun and peppy.

5. Mix It Up

Sticking to one genre like country or hip-hop is another amateur mistake people make while choosing the music for their barbecue party. Make sure to pick a wide variety of songs from popular pop music to rock and roll. If you have a good mix of different kinds of songs, you are sure to please each and every one of your guests. But be sure to transition gradually between the genres as the party progresses.

6. Don’t Leave It to the Last Minute

Do not underestimate the importance of the ideal playlist. Make sure to have the music ready the night before your barbecue party. You do not want to just plug in your iPod the day of the party and play whatever it is that you have on it. Have a playlist of at least 50 to 100 songs ready to play on the day of your barbecue.

If you keep in mind these tips while planning your next BBQ bash, it is sure to be an unforgettable success among your guests!

How to Know If Your Meat Is Undercooked?

Since consuming raw or undercooked food is dangerous and can expose you to foodborne illnesses, there are ways to learn how to check whether your meat is cooked or not.

1. Using a Meat Thermometer

Learn the correct temperatures for different meats, then use a thermometer to check it. I’ve made a list of a few common ones you’ll need.

Chicken: 165 F.
Beef: 155 F.
Pork: 160 F.
Ground beef: 165 F.
Fish: 145 F.

Place the probe of the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat and that is usually the center, but not touching a bone. The thickest part of the cut will be the slowest to reach the desired temperature.

2. Look at the Food When It Is Finished Cooking.

The fluids draining from poultry should be clear when you cut it. This piercing needs to be done carefully, though you don’t want to pierce in so deeply that all of the juices run out; after all, you want meat that is cooked through but still moist. Make sure you sharpen your knife. And the meat tissue attached to the bone should have no pinkness evident. Beef, if handled properly, may be pink, or even red, but ground beef, because of handling and processing, is more likely to be exposed to bacteria and therefore should never be eaten pink. Pork will have an even, light appearance with no pink color showing at all. Cured ham labeled fully cooked requires no further cooking.

3. Palm and Finger Test

Open your hand, palm up, and relax it. With your other hand, feel the fleshy part right below your lowest thumb joint. This is what raw meat feels like.

Now touch the tip of the index finger to the tip of the thumb and feel the muscle right below your thumb. This is how rare meat feels.

Repeat the feeling of the thumb muscle with your middle finger to your thumb. This is how the meat feels when it is cooked medium-rare but the feeling of your ring finger to your thumb is exactly the same when meat is cooked medium, and your pinky to your thumb is well-done.

Here is a great article on how you can check your meat using just using your hand!

4. Shrink Test

When meat or chicken cooks, it shrinks in size. There is less reduction in size for meat on the bone. But if there is a significant shrinkage then your meat is overcooked.

5. Careful Watch

A person can look at the meat to tell, by how drawn up it is. Nothing else but eyeballs and concentration is required. Watch the meat as it cooks, when it halts drawing up and no red fluid comes out when poked, it is done. Outside color if meat tells how well it is cooked.

6. Cutting into the Steak

Just nick the meat in a spot that’s not too noticeable and peak inside. Well, it is an optional method as it may result in the loss of juice but it will not ruin your steak.

Follow these instructions to avoid consuming undercooked meat as there is salmonella, a very known bacteria that you can get while eating undercooked meat. Symptoms of having salmonella inside your system are nausea, diarrhea, and extreme upset stomach. So, always check the meat before serving or consuming it.

Why Do People Still Prefer Propane Smokers over Charcoal Smokers?

Undoubtedly, people prefer propane Smokers to Charcoal Smokers because of the advantages that propane Smokers serves and disadvantages that charcoal Smokers has.

Here is a list of reasons why Propane Smokers are way better than Charcoal Smokers.

1. Taste

Propane Smokers serves the purpose of smoking food so well that you get extremely delicious food to ear. On the other hand Charcoal Smokers changes the taste of food and gives a character flavor and odor to your food that ruins the originality of the food item. Propane Burns cleanly and efficiently so you’ll avoid soot deposits on your food.

2. Ease of Use

It is a way too easy to use a Propane Smoker as fuel is readily available. These Smokers require lesser attention and maintenance than Smokers of wood or charcoal variety.

3. Portability

With nothing to plug in, you can take it to tailgate parties or a friend’s barbecue. This type of smokers is ideal to take on vacations as they are portable. Propane having obvious advantage that it is easy to purchase and easy to carry, people prefer propane smokers.

4. Efficiency

Propane Smoker burns cleanly, reducing the carbon footprint on the environment and on your food. Propane is relatively cleaner fuel with less ash residue.

5. Cleaning Problem with Charcoal Smokers

There is more work in cleaning up a charcoal smoker. When the fire cools down, it needs to be cleaned out but what makes it difficult is that charcoal Ash is acidic and if mixed with water it will act to corrode your equipment.

6. Difficulty in Controlling the Temperature  in Charcoal Smokers

Heat in these smokers is controlled by oxygen flow. Any change in the available draft will change the temperature and makes it difficult to control the temperature. Since charcoal grills do not have temperature dials to raise or lower temperature so, regular tending is essential to make sure temperature don’t drop or shoot up.

 

7. Igniting Charcoal Is Difficult

People struggle to light the charcoal which is also not an easy process until or unless you have chimney starter. On the other hand, Propane is easy to burn and doesn’t deposit any material on food.

 

 

8. The Risk of a Fire

There is a slightly higher risk of fire when working with charcoal and because of this reason, many apartment buildings and local fire codes ban them from high rises. Coals and sparks can escape the grill by falling through vents or from chimney starters, and you may need water or a fire extinguisher to put them out. Charcoal is dirty to handle; it can be hard to light; it takes a few minutes longer to get up to temp; there can be flare-ups that can not only burn the food but also may cause a health risk; it is hard to tell what temperature you are cooking at; the temperature cannot be turned down rapidly.

Hence, people or chefs prefer propane smokers to Charcoal ones inspire of the fact that charcoal gives more smoke but Propane Smokers give a cleaner smoke without the risk of fire or bad health.

Masterbuilt Electric Smokers – 30 Inches or 40 Inches?

Smoking and barbeque go hand in hand. However, smoking food is not child’s play; it requires a precision of cooking time and temperature, and it is hard to achieve unless you have a good smoker. Masterbuilt electric smokers really impressed us with its precise temperature control and a host of other features that make smoking convenient and fun.
Masterbuilt electric smokers are appliances that make smoking convenient, easy and pleasurable. You no longer have to be on your toes to see if your food is getting too much or not enough heat, or worry about getting your food undercooked or overcooked. For the beginners, they are the blessing.

Masterbuilt Electric Smokers come with features that can satisfy even the most demanding of users. The best feature of this smoker is that it lets you control and monitor temperature, time and other operations from a distance of up to 100 feet. They are a “set it & forget it” type smoker.

You get perfectly cooked food that is tender, juicy, tasteful and has a great smoky flavour. It is available in both 30 inches and 40 inches.

20070115 40 Inches Masterbuilt Electric Smoker: Pros and Cons

Pros: Bluetooth integrated. Large 975 sq. in. cooking space

Cons: Handheld device needed for Bluetooth technology.
If high-tech smokers are what you are looking for, then this Masterbuilt Bluetooth 40 inch smoker is for you. This product is Bluetooth integrated to allow the cook to use their handheld device as a remote control. Four chrome-coated racks give you 975 square inches of cooking space, and 1200 watt heating ensures your food is evenly cooked. This digital model also has a blue LED digital control panel as well as a built-in meat thermometer. Prices are around $380.

Official Masterbuilt product page.

20070910 30 Inches Masterbuilt Electric Smoker: Pros and Cons

Pros: 730 square inches of cooking space. Temperature control.

Cons: Powder coated racks versus porcelain.

This Masterbuilt 30-inch electric smoker with front control is great value for someone looking to purchase a reasonably priced ($220) smoker. There is enormous space of a total of 730 square inches of cooking on 4 racks. The racks are coated with chrome offering a more non-stick surface. This smoker also comes with a blue LED display to watch that the temperature remains steady. The blue LED is also easier to read if grilling in the summer time sun. There is a thermostat that allows the user to adjust the temperature accordingly to create the perfect heat.

Official Masterbuilt product page.

20070311 40 Inches Masterbuilt Smoker: Pros and Cons

Pros: 40 inches. The window for viewing. RF remote control and temperature probe. Good cooking capacity.

Cons: Only four racks to cook on.

This Masterbuilt Electric Smoker has many high-end features that make this a model for anyone looking to upgrade their smoker. This smoker comes equipped with a remote control that allows the user to adjust the setting from up to 100 feet away. A window gives the chef a chance to check up on the food without releasing any smoke. Plus this model also comes equipped with a temperature probe for meat. It is also step-up in cooking space on this model with an impressive 975 square inches available.

Official Masterbuilt product page.

20070910 30 Inches Masterbuilt Electric Smoker: Pros and Cons

Pros: Large cooking space. Removable drip pan.

Cons: No Wheels for easy manoeuvring.

For those starting with an electric smoker, this Masterbuilt 30-inch smoker is easy to use and well priced ($190) option. Wood chips load on the side for convenience and a thermostat allows you to set a temperature up to 275 degrees. This product is insulated to be more energy efficient as well. Four inside racks offer a total of 730 square inches of cooking space, allowing the chef to cook multiple items at once. A removable water pan creates an opportunity to infuse the smoke with different flavours.

Official Masterbuilt product page.