Each month we feature a culinary write-up from one of our resident culinary and hospitality experts!
This Month Chef Jayson Brown of Cafe 57 at Hearst in New York shares his secrets for grilling and BBQs!
If you’re throwing a BBQ themed party and don’t have access to a grill for outdoor cooking, you can always use liquid smoke. It’s very strong but will give a nice smoked flavor to foods when used properly. Add it sparingly – only a few drops will do – to a marinade or a mop sauce for basting while cooking, on anything from chicken to brisket. Remember the bbq motto “low and slow”; you want to cook at temperatures between 225° F and 250° F. It’s pretty safe to say you’ll need one hour of cooking time per pound of meat. So, if you have a 7-pound pork shoulder it will take about seven hours to cook. For cuts like pork shoulder and brisket, look for an internal temperature around 195°F on an instant-read meat thermometer. Baby back ribs will take about three hours, and you will know they’re done when you can pull a few ribs from the rack and they come off easily.
If you are using a grill outdoors, whether it is gas or charcoal, remember indirect heat for smoking or BBQ and direct heat for grilling. With charcoal it’s important to remember that 1) look for white-hot coals and 2) you never want to cook directly over a flame. For grilling, it is always good to have a safe spot on your grill where you can move food away from direct heat. If using charcoal find a spot with no coals directly underneath and with a gas grill just turn one of the burners to a low or off setting. This will allow you to cook with radiant heat and not burn items like the skin on chicken.
Some quick tips to remember:
1. Dry rubs are a great way to add flavor at the beginning without fear of burning on the grill.
2. Basting towards the end of cooking allows you to add BBQ type sauces and get just the right caramelization.
3. If something is getting away from you on the grill you can always finish it in an oven.
4. To get a quick smoke flavor from wood while grilling, throw some soaked chips directly on the coals. If using a gas grill, place them in a small aluminum pan on top of the briquettes.