Wed 6 Jun 2018
Read other related stories: Charcoal Grilling , Electric Smokers , Grilling , Smoking Tips
WHY IS MY BARBECUE MEAT DRY??
The best way to keep meat moist while smoking is to follow the recommended cooking temperatures for meats! Wood fired cooking, wood smoker, electric smoker, charcoal grill, or gas grill a meat thermometer is a MUST! Meat cooking temperature is important for outdoor cooking to prevent why is my barbecue meat dry!
You thought you timed the meat perfectly on your smoker or grill. When it came time to cut it, all you found was a gray, dry former piece of meat staring back at you.
What went wrong?
Don’t fall into your old habits when it comes to outdoor cooking, whether you’re using a traditional wood or electric smoker, charcoal grill or gas grill. Learn some easy tips to keep your foods juicy and enticing this outdoor cooking season.
Tip #1: Own a Good Meat Thermometer
There is no way around it! You need to own a good meat thermometer. That is truly the only way to know when meats are done before you keep them on the grill or smoker too long. There is no one internal temperature that is good for all meats either! Don’t think because you cook chicken until 160°F that this is the ideal temperature for beef, lamb, fish, pork, and sausage.
Tip #2: Know Ideal Food Temperatures
It is vital that you know when to pull the meat off a grill or smoker. All chicken and turkey need to cook until 160°F (71°C). Ham, sausage and hot dogs should have a minimum temperature of 140°F (60°C). Pork including ribs and shoulder need to register 145°F (63°C) while pork steak, chops, roasts can have a range based on doneness preference: 120-130°F (49-54°C) for rare, 130-135°F (54-57°C) for medium-rare/medium, 145-155°F (63-68°C) for medium-well, and 155°F (68°C) and above for well-done. Beef, lamb, and venison range 120-130°F (49-54°C) for rare, 130-145°F (54-63°C) for medium, 145-155°F (63-68°C) for medium-well, and over 155°F (68°C) for well-done.
Tip #3: Flip, Flip, Flip
When you grill over high heat, it becomes vital that you learn to flip more often. The results will be better flavor, better color to the food, even doneness and a quicker cooking time. The flip ensures that only even heat levels get in instead of too high which results in a burnt, charred mess.
Tip #4: Moist Burgers Every Time
Burgers can become extremely dry due to the higher heat level they are cooked over. To keep as much moisture into the meat, here are a couple of tricks. The first is to add 1-2 tablespoons of either mayo or Greek yogurt to your ground meat or turkey. Mix well then form into your burgers. I sometimes like to mix in ricotta cheese! Or you can add an herb-butter patty to the center of the burger to add moisture. Be sure to follow Tip #3 with burgers!
Tip #5: Consider Marinating
Although you can now purchase cuts of meat in most stores pre-marinated, I beg you to do this step yourself to control the additives and preservatives that are commonly found in the prepackaged items. Marinating cuts of meats, especially thinner cuts, produces great flavors and can make for a moister experience as the liquid finds the cracks and crevices on the meat. It helps to make small slices in the cut of meat to help with the marinade absorption. There really is no need to marinate overnight though you can do that. Just know that a couple of hours for meat in a marinade is enough to produce a great outcome. Plus, marinated foods reduced the unhealthy chemical compounds that can form when you use a hot grilling technique.
Tip #6: Considering Brining
A brine is a wet, salty, slightly sweet mixture that you soak your meat in. The salt and sugar react with the protein in meats to help retain moisture. It’s like having a protective moisture-shield around the meat.
Tip #7: Use an Indirect Method of Cooking
An indirect or two-zone cooking method refers to using one side of your equipment for heat while the other side is used for the actual food placement. By keeping the lid on the grill or smoker, you will retain the heat and radiate it throughout the grill. If you want to produce a crust on your food, you can easily move it to the direct fireside for a few minutes to accomplish that. On a gas grill, you would lite the burners on only one side of the grill. On a charcoal grill or smoker, you would place and lite the charcoal on just one side of the charcoal area.
Tip #8: Foil Wrap
Aluminum foil, the heavy-duty kind, works wonders at keeping foods moist. By adding 1-2 ounces of liquid to the foil with the meat placed inside and any other ingredients you want to incorporate flavors from, you allow steam to be produced inside the packet and keep everything super moist. Just be sure you crimp the foil tightly around the food so nothing escapes.
Tip #9: Extend the Cooking Time
If you’re able to plan out your outdoor cooking event, then consider doing a combination of a two-zone cooking method with lower level temperature cooking. Any time you can cook at a lower temperature for a longer time, you allow the collagen in meat to breakdown producing a gelatin that releases great flavor. The two-zone cooking method will allow the meat to receive heat in every direction at an even level.
There you have it! Some concrete tips to ensure you can produce tender and juicy results on your grill or smoker and won’t say Why is My Barbecue Meat Dry!