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Safe Holiday Grilling

In case you hadn’t

meat temp img

Meat Temps

heard, the US Department of Agriculture recalled 1.8 MILLION pounds of ground beef earlier this week because it is contaminated with deadly E.coli bacteria.  Unfortunately, some of this contaminated ground beef made it to grocery store shelves (see list from the USDA here) which means you may have unknowingly purchased it.  We know that many of our friends will be grilling burgers this holiday weekend and since ground beef is likely the main ingredient for said burgers, we want to make sure you have this meat temperature chart handy.

BBQ 101: Electric Grills – It’s Electrifying

To round out our overview of different types of BBQ’s, today we are going to take a look at the electric grill.  While not as popular as the gas and charcoal grills, electric grills have made huge strides over the last few years, making them a viable choice for your BBQ.

Modern day electric grills rival the gas grill in terms of speed and precision. Electric grills have one of the fast heat up times, making them ideal for weeknight cooking. Most grills heat up within 7-8 minutes, and a quality grill can reach up to 600 degrees F. Electric grills also reduce the hassle of having fuel, as all you need is an electrical outlet.

Another big advantage to electric grills is that they give an even heat across the entire cooking surface. This consistency erases the worry of keeping an even temperature or from developing hot or cold spots. Electric grills do not have an open flame, making them perfect for condos or apartments. They are also easy to clean.

One final advantage to electric grills is the fact that they come in a variety of sizes.  Some are small enough to keep inside you kitchen, while others are perfect for your balcony or backyard.  Electric grills are often the top choice for apartment dwellers, for those who do not have a backyard conducive to a more traditional BBQ, or for those who want to BBQ a hamburger when it’s chilly outside.

The biggest disadvantage to an electric grill is that it can lack the “pure” BBQ flavor that is associated with a charcoal grill. While an electric grill can cook high quality food, its does not provide the same smoky flavor that many BBQ lovers crave.  Therefore good seasoning for your food is key.

BBQ 101: The Smoker – When you like it Slow and Low

For many BBQ lovers, the epitome of BBQ meat is that which is cooked low and slow. The low and slow process (i.e. cooking a piece of meat over a low temperature for a long amount of time), brings out the full flavor of many meats, while creating a juicy, moist, fall apart in your mouth culinary delight.

For those who want to have the best possible experience and technique at creating a low and slow piece of meat, one of the best BBQ accessories to have is a smoker. In a nutshell, a smoker is an appliance that keeps a BBQ controlled at the desired low temperature while producing and trapping smoke that is absorbed into the meat.

While smoking can be accomplished on charcoal and, sometimes, gas grills, the addition of a smoker, their size and structure make them less than ideal.

There is a wide variety of smoker types, including wood, pellet, charcoal, gas, and electric. Smokers are designed to hold a consistent temperature without too much observation or maintenance by the cook. This allows the cook to place the meat in the smoker and walk away for longer periods of time.  In fact, many will put the meat in the smoker before going to bed, and allow it to cook overnight.

Smokers also create a stronger smoke ring on the meat. A smoke ring is created by the buildup of nitric acid (formed when the nitrogen dioxide in the wood smoke mixes with the water in the meat) on the meat.  This buildup creates a pink discoloration that happens just under the skin of the meat.  The smoke ring can be anywhere from ¼ inch to ½ inch thick, with the thickest ring signaling the highest intensity of smoky BBQ flavor.

If you are looking to create a juicy, smoky, and tender BBQ meat experience, considering looking at adding a smoker to your BBQ accessories.  Your taste buds won’t ever regret it.