News and Tribune

June 16, 2013

BBQ MY WAY: BBQ, grilling myths, facts

By DAVE LOBEK
newsroom@newsandtribune.com

> SOUTHERN INDIANA —

I love the topics of food, barbecue and grilling for a number of reasons. Fellowship with friends and family, variety, and great things you can share with others. I also like how opinionated people can be about their favorite foods.

So, I thought I would tackle some of the top myths of BBQ and grilling in this week’s column. I am sure some of you out there will disagree with my assertions and conclusions, but what the heck ... it’s my column. Email me your counterpoint and I might write about it. One thing you can count on is that I will definitely respond to it.

Here we go in no particular order:

 

Searing the meat first locks in the juices 

Absolutely and totally incorrect. Searing produces great texture as a result of the caramelizing of the sugars within the meat itself when exposed to direct flames. But, many curious Alton Brown types have conducted scientific studies where they have measured moisture content of meat that has been seared and then grilled as compared to meat that was not seared and then grilled. No noticeable difference at all. Searing is all about texture.

 

Charcoal lighter fluid imparts a petroleum flavor on grilled food

No study needed here. I can just taste it. Use a charcoal chimney starter with newspaper.

 

Buying meat with the bone is a waste of money

I can see that as a valid point economically speaking, but I truly believe the bone adds flavor. All grill masters believe this to be so, so while I won’t totally disagree with this statement, I do tend to buy cuts of meat with the bone attached.

 

The gas grill is the same as cooking indoors

Totally disagree. I feel the flames kissing the meat and the juices dripping onto the hot, albeit fake, coals creates a smoky, outdoor flavor. But I still prefer charcoal over gas any day if I have the time. Plus, it’s not as cool drinking a cold beer while standing over the stove.

 

Charcoal that has already been soaked in lighter fluid is acceptable

If you believe this, please stop reading my columns. Gross. And I won’t make a separate entry for the use of liquid smoke. Double-gross.

 

A fork is an acceptable grilling utensil 

Absolutely a big no-no. Use tongs or a spatula to turn the meat. When the meat is cooking, the juices are flying around inside the meat. Have you ever left a basketball in the hot sun? Remember how tight it felt and how high it would bounce? Same deal. Pierce the meat at this point and you are contributing to a dry and chewy end result.

 

The temperature of the meat continues to rise after taking it off the grill

This is absolutely correct. If you shoot a model rocket into the air and the fuel source goes with it, the rocket still climbs a bit before starting its downward plummet due to the energy that has been imparted on the rocket. 

Same thing with meat. Count on the temperature to rise another 7 to 9 degrees. So, if your steak is done at 135 degrees, pull it at 128 to 130. 

 

Heating a grill grate over flaming high heat and then cleaning it with a metal brush is sufficient

I personally agree with this. The temperature directly over a hot grill is well more than 500 degrees, capable of killing any micro-organism that might want to mess with you. A wire brush then cleans off the residue. Plus, using soap on your grates makes food stick. Weren’t we taught to never wash the cooking surface of a cast iron skillet? Same deal in my opinion.

 

Let meat rest

Absolutely true. I refer you back to the basketball analogy. You have to let the fluids stop flying around inside the meat. If you cut immediately, the juices will come pouring out. Give the meat five minutes or so to rest.

And now you can sleep well tonight. I look forward to the rebuttals.

 

— Dave Lobeck is an Edward Jones financial advisor in Jeffersonville by day and a BBQ and food enthusiast on nights and weekends. He is also a sanctioned Kansas City Barbecue Society judge. You can contact Dave with your BBQ and cooking questions at his website, www.BBQ-My-Way.com.