What we refer to as BBQ-ing is what the Americans call grilling and authentic BBQ is the process of the slow smoking of meats and other proteins over coals and woodchips for succulence and flavour. As we enter the summer months, we have come up with a few of our top tips for great fuss free BBQ food. By preparing meats in advance you can really take away from the work on the day and optimise flavour and succulence of meats.
If you have a smoker remember to be patient – the whole process of low and slow is based on tougher cuts of meat benefiting from a long slow cook to help break down intramuscular fats and achieving a succulent texture. Allow a few hours at a low temperature (this will vary depending on protein type and cut used) mopping with sauce from time to time before finishing on the grill on a high heat.
Like many of us if you have no smoker at home and just a BBQ you can still achieve great results. If using a charcoal BBQ try using woodchips for extra flavour. Experiment with different types of woods, for example fruit woods such as cherrywood, apple etc. They will deliver a more subtle sweet smoke flavour while more robust flavours such as mesquite and hickory will give a stronger smoke and may suit bigger cuts of beef such as brisket. Soak the woodchips in water prior to using.
For cuts which require a longer cooking time using racking or removing the protein from direct heat is essential. Alternatively, precooking can help to remove any concerns as to whether something is fully cooked or not. The meats can then be finished on a hot grill to achieve the charred, smoky flavours associated with BBQ cooking.
When BBQ-ing people often worry about ensuring meat and poultry are cooked properly. Lean meats and poultry in particular can become dry and tough when overcooked and when cooking on a BBQ high heat results in moisture loss and shrinkage. Brining is a useful step to take when preparing meat for a BBQ and the results are fantastic! Once you have tried it you won’t look back. Brining helps keep meat moist and succulent as the meat takes on and retains additional water. A basic brine will be made up of salt and water. Sugar is sometimes added to enhance caramelisation of meat during cooking. Many different flavours can be added to the brine to enhance the flavour and texture of the cooked meat. Here at the Culinary Food Group we love to use our natural stocks to boost flavour and texture.
Marinating is also a great way to boost flavour of meats. They can also help tenderise meats to a certain point when acids or enzymes are brought into the marinade. Yoghurts and buttermilk are often used to help tenderise meat. Seasonings such as spices and herbs can be added to this. Marinating meats can be done in advance and save time on the day. Meats such as lamb and beef may benefit from longer marinating times – 24 hours plus in advance whereas vegetables and seafood will require no more than 15 mins to an hour. If using lemon or lime juice, make sure not to leave the marinade for too long (1-2 hours maximum) as this have a negative effect on the meat texture.
Beer Brined Baby Back Ribs with Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce
Carolina Gold BBQ
- 300g American Yellow Mustard
- 200g brown sugar
- 150g honey
- 160g Cider Vinegar
- 80mls apple juice
- 20mls Worcester sauce
- 1g cayenne pepper
- 30g ketchup
- 30g butter
Heat sugar, honey and vinegar in a pot over a medium high heat
Add all remaining ingredients and whisk. Simmer for 4-5 minutes and set aside.
Beer Brined Ribs
- 2kg Baby Back Ribs
- 800ml Pale Ale, Beer or IPA
- 50g Simply Pork Stock (or chicken stock if pork not available)
- 40g salt
- 40g brown sugar
Mix all ingredients for the brine together in a large container. Trim any membrane from the rib racks and submerge the racks in the brine mixture ensuring the meat is covered, cover tightly and set aside in the fridge for 12-24 hours.
Light your BBQ and allow it to heat sufficiently before placing the ribs on. Place the ribs on over a high heat and char on both sides- allow 5-10 minutes on each side, the ribs should not stick to the BBQ if they do, leave longer before turning.
Remove the ribs from direct heat, positioning them on a rack if available or to one side away from direct flames, reducing the heat.
Allow the ribs to cook for 1 ½ – 2 hours, turning and mopping with your BBQ sauce frequently.
Alternatively, you can pre- cook your ribs in the oven at 130/140C for approximately 2-3 hours and finish on the BBQ on a high heat.
Serve the ribs with some more Carolina BBQ sauce on the side!