There’s an art to the perfect meat barbecue. If you’re not really sure what you’re doing, you might end up with overcooked, tough meat.
Or you may end up undercooking the meat, which freaks some people out.
Choose the wrong rub or sauce for the meat, and it confuses the palate.
We recently spoke to barbecue guru Wes Griffiths, or Hillbilly Wes as he calls himself, who’s the Texas-style barbecue pitmaster from Australian barbecue restaurant Bovine and Swine in Sydney.
He has been a barbecue master for five years, and lives and breathes charred meat.
Here are three things he told us that he wants everyone needs to know about barbecuing perfect, succulent, charred meat.
Use only the best quality meat
Whether you’re using a pricey, high-end eye fillet or a cheaper, secondary cut like like chuck steak, make sure you buy the best quality cut you can find.
“Like anything, you put garbage in, you get garbage out,” says Hillbilly Wes.
Pork neck is a nice and simple easy one to start with.
Control the fire
Three elements make up a barbecue fire.
Air, fuel, and heat. Control these, and you control the barbecue.
To control the air, you need to choose if you will have an open or closed grill. An open grill will cook slower, and only on one side, whereas a closed barbecue will cook more thoroughly all over, and more quickly.
Which fuel you use depends on the flavour you are aiming for. Using charcoal or wood can bring sweeter, fruit-based flavours through the meat.
Using coal will make it smokier and more savoury.
Cook your meat properly, and only then think about adding flavour profiles
Don’t try to overthink things.
Cook the meat properly to how rare or well-done you like it. To do that, you need to know what meats cooks the best way.
Secondary cuts can be a bit tough so are best cooked low and slow, that is, on a low temperature for a long time. Those cuts are pork shoulder, pork neck, beef brisket, and chuck steak.
For a cut like scotch fillet which can have high fat marbling, the best way to cook it is to grill it on either side for about 3-4 minutes.
The professionals use a cooking thermometre, which you can buy at a kitchen goods store, to tell them that the meat has reached the right temperature,
Once you’ve learnt to cook to your taste, then you can start changing flavour profiles.
Know what flavours work well with each type of meat, then season it simply to start with.
You can buy great pre-made rubs, seasoning and sauces if you’re low on time or creativity, but sometimes all you need is already probably already in your pantry.
For example, paprika, apple juice, and honey is a great sweet and savoury sauce for pork, and a little different from the standard apple sauce.
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