By: Craig Tabor, Owner of Suwanee’s Playing with Fire BBQ Emporium
1. Use Good Fuel
Without a doubt, the first ingredient to any smoked or grilled protein is the fuel. Don’t skimp with the cheap stuff. Quality fuel should burn clean, be free of any debris, and produce very little ash or waste product. Whether you are using pellets, charcoal or smoking wood, a high-quality fuel builds a solid foundation for a great finished product.
2. Cook by Temperature
Cooking using time is a great way to undercook or overcook an item. Every piece of ’cue will cook differently based on fat content, the animal’s quality of life, and cooking temperature. Take the guesswork out of it by using handheld instant read and/or wired thermometers.
3. Brush Often
A clean grill is a happy grill. Those stalactites hanging from your grill grate isn’t flavor, it’s rancid drippings leftover from the last hundred times you grilled. Those crusty, charred and burned clumps will taint the flavor of your grilled foods. Using a grill brush or a wooden scraper will eliminate this issue.
4. Use Lube
All of those crusty clumps that you just brushed off are from food that is sticking to the grill grate. After you’ve brushed your grate, thoroughly lube your grate with cooking spray, an oiled towel, or even some fat trimmings from the on-deck protein. Lubing will prevent sticking, create better grill marks, and actually help with clean-up.
5. Use Quality Proteins
This has to be the most important piece to the barbecue puzzle. Starting with a high-quality protein will yield a high-quality finished product. Spend the money and invest in the highest grade of beef, heritage breed pork and organic chicken that you can afford. Cooking at home is way less expensive than eating out so put a little more into it.
You’ve spent a lot of time smoking/grilling and we’re sure you are probably starving, but don’t forget to let your proteins rest. Juices are rapidly moving in meat that comes directly off the smoker or grill. Resting these cuts allows those juices to settle down and distribute throughout the meat resulting in a juicier bite. We recommend two hours for larger barbecue cuts, 30 minutes turkeys/prime rib roasts, and 10 minutes for steaks/chops.
Playing with Fire BBQ Emporium is located at 4092 Suwanee Dam Road in Suwanee. For more information, call 470-439-7969 or visit PlayingWithFireBBQEmporium.com.