Grilling a delicious piece of meat takes a lot of knowledge and preparation. You can say that it’s a sort of an art form where everyone uses their own methods to achieve the end result. Although the way you make your barbecue mostly depends on your own cooking style, this foolproof advice will help you step up the taste of your meat.
What Kind of Fuel Should You Use?
Before you start grilling and get to the fun step of trying out the various delicious meat rubs, let’s talk about the type of barbecue fuel you need. As I’m sure you already know, today’s modern grills are more versatile than ever. They come in a variety of styles, sizes and fuel options. These include propane, natural gas, charcoal, electricity and pellets.
A good barbecue represents an alchemy of wood, smoke and meat. This means that the type of fuel you use dramatically affects the flavour. The best bet is to use lumpwood charcoal. Make sure it’s made from high quality hardwood and doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that can harm the food. Add hardwood chunks depending on which flavour you’re looking for. The most popular options are oak, apple and cherry, which you can find in any well-equipped garden centre.
Many households prefer using charcoal as barbecue fuel because of the distinct flavour it imparts to the food. However, you should avoid charcoal that has the scent of petrol. Manufacturers often use accelerator fluid to produce this type of fuel, which can ruin your food. Another thing to steer clear of are compressed briquettes – they contain glue and often burn too hot.
The next step is lighting up the grill to start cooking. The correct way to prepare your grill is to light it up early and let the flames die down before you start. You need to let the charcoal burn down and become coated with white ash before placing the meat. The grill shouldn’t be too hot – you should be able to comfortably stand close to it while grilling. Another tip – don’t apply any oil on it. If your grill is at the right temperature, your meat won’t stick to it. Using too much oil while you’re cooking will only increase the risk of a fire.
The way you prepare your meat before grilling will have a large impact on its flavour. First what you need to do is take it out of the freezer and let it rest until it reaches room temperature. Chefs call this process tempering. Make sure that the meat is at least 4cm thick. This is the ideal thickness to get a good char on the outside and a tender, juicy inside. Another tip for getting a good char is to pat it well with a kitchen towel before cooking. The problem with wet meat is that it doesn’t form a decent crust and picks up nasty boiled-meat flavours.
After this part, it’s time to cover your meat with one of the premium meat rubs. The right rub makes a piece of good meat taste great, and a great one taste exceptional. Depending on your preference, you can go for spicy, sweet or one of the quirky flavours you never expected would work for a barbecue.
When you’re looking for barbecue rubs, there are a few things you need to consider:
Dry vs wet rub – Dry rubs are much more popular than wet rubs; however, grilling enthusiasts favour them both equally. Dry rubs are in fact, mixes of carefully selected spices and dried herbs that you rub onto your meat before cooking. They mix with its juices and enhance the overall flavour. On the other hand, wet rubs resemble a paste. You can also create it out of a dry rub, by mixing it with mustard, apple cider or apple cider vinegar.
Taste – Modern meat rubs are much more complex than simple mixes of salt and oregano. They’re available in a variety of flavours, ranging from sesame, lime, chilli and oregano to honey and chilli-honey blends. If you’re feeling experimental, you can go for one of the particular flavours like espresso or Jack Daniels.
Sugar content – If you’re planning to use a sweet rub, make sure your grill doesn’t exceed the 190⁰C mark. This temperature is where sugar starts to burn, which results in a bitter taste.
How to Apply a Barbecue Rub?
Apart from choosing the right bbq rub seasoning for your meat, you also need to know how to apply it properly. The rub needs to stick to the meat while it’s cooking to give it maximum flavour. However, depending on the type of meat, there are different approaches for this:
For steaks, it’s best to marinate the meat first. After this, apply the rub directly onto it without patting it dry. The liquid marinade helps the rub stick to the meat and enhances the flavour.
For pork, you should apply the rub in several layers. Add the first layer before you start cooking, and when the meat is halfway through – add another one.
For fish and shrimp, start by sprinkling the rub on before cooking. After this, apply a layer of oil with a brush and dip it into the rub again, while coating it evenly.