BBQ Cooking Methods: Which Way Is the Best?

BBQ Cooking Methods

The Wonderful World of BBQ is a tasty one indeed but it is not as simple as you might think.  BBQ can get downright complicated.  Even the act of cooking the meat is quite diverse.  Which way is best?  That has been in debate for as long as BBQ has been.

There are three main ways you can cook the meat which is grilling, indirect grilling and smoking.  And each of those methods have many variations that can be used as well.

There is direct grilling, indirect grilling, and smoking.  Usually, people chose the method they use by which gives the taste and texture they like best.  Sometimes though, it is a matter of what method is available to you.  If you are on a campout, you may not have your fancy gas grill with you so you might go for what you have to work with.  The way in which you cook your meat may depend on more than personal taste.

Direct grilling is when your food is cooked not far over the flames.  Oftentimes it is just inches above the fire.  Usually thin meats, fish, shellfish and even fruits and vegetables are cooked this way because they do well when seared from the close flames.

Because direct grilling is done quickly, you want to stand guard and keep a close eye on your food as it cooks.  Usually, the lid is left open due to the intensity of heat and the fact that what is being cooked does not require a lot of cooking time.

Another rule of thumb that goes along with direct grilling is that you have three spots, or heat zones.  One is for searing which means to cook the meat quickly over a very hot heat to seal the flavor and juices in.  You will need a spot that is less hot to actually let it cook and then a place to set the food once it is done.

Many people prefer to cook on a charcoal grill because it gives them hands-on control over the three zones.  You can place the coals in different positions to get the desired heat you would like.  Be sure to let your coals completely cook down before you start cooking with them or you will not only have trouble controlling the heat but the flavor will likely be botched as well.

Gas grills are favored by others who like the fact you can control the burners with a simple touch.  You can vary the heat on some gas grills like have one burner designated for high heat, the next for medium which is used to actually cook the meat and can even turn the third off to allow the cooked meat to rest.

Indirect grilling is the best way to grill thicker, larger pieces of meat because it allows you to cook them slower thus making them more tender.  You can put the lid down if your meat is really thick or if you want to employ a smoky taste.  You can leave it open if you choose if you don’t want to hurry it or to have a smoky taste.

Smoking meat is always a hit.  It takes a little time but is well worth it for it renders that “melt in your mouth” BBQ.  A good number of people think that BBQ must be smoked in order to even earn the honor of being called BBQ.  There are many ways to smoke meat but it is usually done in a smoker, smoker box or BBQ pit.

Smoking requires wood in order to fuel the fire.  The type of wood has a lot of influence on how the meat will taste.  Hickory, oak, apple, cherry, peach and many other varieties can be used and each bring a unique infusion to the table.  Corn cobs are sometimes used instead of wood and actually work quite well in my opinion.  Soaking the wood chips that are used to kindle the fire is a big deal with BBQ masters.  Smoker bags and smoker cans are sometimes used too.

There are a trillion tricks of the trade when it comes to the method of cooking the meat and what marinade, sauce or rub you put on the meat makes a world of difference too.  Which way is best?  The verdict is still not in.  It is at the heart of every cook-off and may never be resolved.  Why should it be?  As long as the question is still unanswered, competitions will be held in backyards across American and at county fairs and events across the nation and those are just too fun to ruin by ever pronouncing a winner.