Welcome to the Q’ing Basics. These basic items are the foundation of how to grill or smoke in which great Q is made; whether that is grilling, stove top, oven, smoker… The foundations will set you up for success. The art will set you apart.
Here I like to identify the foundations, rooted in science. These are true, no matter how many myths you would like to throw at me. The art is the application of the foundations. In each section I’ll get into it.
I understand there are many different schools of thought out there. However, I encourage you to go into this with an open mind, as I will be bucking some common school of thought, as well throwing in some things that are counter intuitive.
Three Groups of people will read this:
- I don’t know how to grill or smoke. I want to learn.
- Neighbor Joe’s grilled chicken is sooo good, and mine is just meh. I’ve watched him, I’m doing all the same things but it just isn’t as good. I’m here to see how I can improve.
- My meat is the king of the cul de sac, and I have multiple first place competition trophies. I am here to judge your information.
Whichever group you are in, you are in the right place. Enough jabbing, lots to cover… lets increase our iQ’! (See what I did there?)
I have to start with salt. Salt is flavor. Most poultry and processed meats you buy in a grocery store are LOADED with it (Why you should support your local butcher when you can). And then we get it home and add more salt? Huh?
Here at Tucker’s, I believe salt should be controlled. I do not want my meat to come loaded with it and rarely do I put it in my rubs. Continue reading about salt to learn how we do it.
You’ve seen them in grocery stores. They line the aisle with funny names, images of fire, and names of known brands of grills. You might even have your go-to for grilling. They all have something in common: they’re expensive and most of them sort of taste the same.
Rub ingredients are generally inexpensive, and making your own can really up your Q’. They can be super simple (Salt and Pepper) to complicated (8+ ingredients). Rubs are like wine and different rubs pair very well with different meats. Lets explore rubs for the types.
Heat might quite possibly be the hardest thing to grasp when learning how to grill. But heat is heat, right? Nope. There is dry heat, humid heat, low heat, high heat, direct heat, and indirect heat, consistent heat, and inconsistent heat.
Do you want your 8 lb butt to marinate in dry, high, direct heat? Or humid, low, indirect? When would you want to move a steak from indirect to direct, or vice versa? These answers and more will follow where I’ll give you more detail about heat than you ever wished to have.
Hold up, what’s the difference between heat and temperature? Heat is heat, and temperature is a gauge of how much. (Technically heat is the thermal transfer of energy, typically from hot to cold and temperature is the measure of the energy)
For our purposes, it’s understanding two things: Cooking temperature, and finished temperature. Sometimes our cooking temperature changes depending on the flavor profile we want, or sometimes we want something to be really well done, like a 205 degree piece of brisket, or not so done, like a 120 degree filet mignon. We will dive into this.
More Basics to come. Please bear with me while I spill my entire guts of knowledge how to grill into poorly formatted web pages. I hope you bookmark me and come back for updates!