Summer is here and it is grilling season! Unfortunately, Summer has brought quite a few storms with it and that can make backyard Bar-B-Ques a little difficult. Stay tuned for some recipes as we dry out the grills, and in the meantime let us explain the difference between BBQ Vs. Grilling.
We’ll be honest, you could get some of your grill/BBQ supplies from anywhere, but when it comes to down-home BBQ seasoning and sauces we really think we have some of the best, and when you count in the convenience you get from opening the bottle and having instant sauce or marinade we wouldn’t trade-off for any other brands or flavors. However that’s enough bragging, so on to the difference between grilling and BBQ.
What is the difference?
People often confuse these two, but there is actually a pretty big difference. Granted they’re both outdoor cooking sources, and often get used for the same kind of events, but grilling is the “hot and high” method used when cooking food over a direct heat source such as wood, charcoal, gas or pellets, and BBQing is the “low and slow” method of enclosing the meat away from the direct heat source but often with the same types of fuel. Traditionally BBQing, or smoking used to be done in fire pits where you’d build a fire, shovel in some rocks, and keep layering until the food was enclosed and could cook in an indirect heat for hours.
Nowadays we identify BBQing more with the types of sauces that are used in each part of the country, and the smoking we use to produce tender meats out of cheap or tough cuts of meat.
BBQing is the long, slow overcooking of meat to get an incredibly tender fiber and enhanced flavor from the smoking. The tenderness is attributed to the way the long, low cooking time actually breaks down the tough fibers and “sugars” them giving the meat a slightly sweet, smoky taste. This is the smoking part if you want to get really technical, and then the sauces are the “BBQ” part. Of course these sauces vary from all over country, and each region thinks theirs is the absolute best. (Secret: Ours is the best, hands down)
If you don’t already own a smoker what to buy is always a bit of a pain when trying to figure out what will be the best option and fit the budget at the same time. If you are just beginning to look into BBQ smokers this page can give you a good idea of smokers anywhere from below $200- $400. If you already have some experience with smokers or want to upgrade to something a bit bigger or a lot bigger this page also has some professional grade smokers that might be something you’d like to buy.
It’s also good to consider things like:
• Do you want it for backyard parties, or large events?
• How evenly can it hold the temperature?
• How easily does it clean up?
• What kind of fuel do you prefer to cook with?
• Is grilling a better option for me?
The basic ABC’s of grilling go something like this:
Smoke a cut of meat at a low temp for 2 - 20 hours to break down the natural, connective fibers in meat and tenderize them as they turn into “sugar.” That combined with the smoking gives the meat a flavor and texture that is “out-of this-world” good.
You can use any meat, though smoking enthusiasts often use rib, brisket or pork shoulder.
Meat should be smoked to at least a minimum temperature of 145° inside.
Buy one of Kauffman’s sauces to marinade or finish off the meat you choose.
Grilling is the method of cooking over a direct flame of anything from wood to charcoal to gas. If you’re interested in cooking or searing burgers or thin cuts of meat quick and hot this might be a better method for you. Grilling works excellently with fresh fruits and vegetables, “quick” meats and meals, and any cooking that gets done over an open flame. For anyone who is interested in in cooking outdoors with fast results on steaks, sausages, chops, and etc it is a great option and helps keep the kitchen cooler during the hot season. Plus, for you ladies, guys tend to do more cooking on a grill than anywhere else so it might give you a break in the kitchen to get your husband one of these for his birthday or Christmas.
The questions to ask for buying a grill are much the same as BBQing, just with a different result:
• How big do I need it - for backyard parties or larger events?
• How easily does it clean up?
• Which fuel do I want to use? Gas, charcoal, wood pellet, etc.
• What kinds of food will I most often be cooking?
In summary, the basic ABC’s of grilling go something like this.
A. Meat all has a specific internal temperature it should be cooked too. Refer to this handy chart to know which is best for your specific cut of meat. Remember tough cuts of meat should never be grilled because the high cooking temperature will make the meat tough and dry to get it done.
B. Marinade whenever possible, and keep brushing your food with it as you grill. This will keep everything more moist at high temperatures. Also figure out where you get a more indirect heat with your grill to use with tougher cuts of meat.
C. The sky is limit. Everything has been grilled from peaches, to pizza, to s’mores, so you can use whatever you want short anything that is more liquid than solid, such as pancake batter.
The Indoor Alternative - What we do
Grills and Smokers are great, but we understand it's still early in the season and you may not have that new backyard accessory yet. Plus, a smoker or grill would make a great Father’s day gift for dad’s, husbands and sweethearts.
If you don’t want to buy a smoker just yet, but would love to get those tender meats don’t give up. Ovens and slow-cookers can actually do a marvelous and tasty job of tenderizing that brisket or pork shoulder for the perfect pulled pork. The key is to keep the temperature low and cook it steadily for more than several hours and keep it away from direct contact with heat or air. In an oven this works great with aluminum foil and pans, and slow-cookers have a “moist” enough heat with little air exposure to make amazing dishes.
Rule of Thumb: The thicker cut you have of meat, the lower the cooking temp. The thinner the meat, the higher you can push the heat.
We took a cut of butt roast today and slow-cooked it for several hours and tested it with a fork to make sure it was tender. After it was done well we flaked it with a fork, layered it on a bun and poured our signature Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce over the top for a beautiful finish. The other way is to mix it in right away, and is great when serving pork to large crowds, but we prefer to control the level of sauciness.
Please comment if you have any questions or want advice, or tell us how it all turned out. Tune in next time for a post on PB & J the healthy way, and how to balance work and play for kids.