Grilling and Barbecue Tips

What is the origin of the word barbecue?

We have to go back to the West Indian island of Hispaniola in the seventeenth century to begin the search for this word. The local Arawakan Indians had a method of erecting a frame of wooden sticks over a fire in order to dry meat. In their language, Taino, they called it a barbacòa, which Spanish explorers borrowed.

This word seems also to have been applied by Europeans to sleeping platforms raised off the ground to reduce the risk of snakebite, presumably without the fire underneath. That extraordinary seaman William Dampier was the first person to use the word in this variant sense, in his New Voyage round the World of 1699: “And lay there all night, upon our Borbecu’s, or frames of Sticks, raised about 3 foot from the Ground”.

It seems that the word began to be applied quite quickly to cooking meat rather than drying it, and for such outdoor cooking to become a social event, even though barbecues in those days differed from the modern suburban ritual in that animals were often cooked whole over pits of hot coals (the Oxford English Dictionary has a lip-smackingly wonderful definition of the process: “To broil or roast (an animal) whole; e.g. to split a hog to the backbone, fill the belly with wine and stuffing, and cook it on a huge gridiron, basting with wine”. The first example known is of the verb, in a work by Aphra Behn of 1690: “Let’s barbicu this fat rogue”, showing that it was well enough known even then to be used figuratively

In 1733, a certain Benjamin Lynde, who lived in Salem, Massachusetts, wrote in his diary “Fair and hot; Browne, barbacue; hack overset”. This is rather a cryptic comment, but then he could hardly have known that nearly three centuries later his jotted note would be transmitted across the Internet as the first ever recorded usage of the noun in our modern sense. It seems that on this hot but pleasant summer’s day he went to some neighbours called Browne to have a barbecue, but that at some point, presumably on the way back, his hack — either his hired horse or carriage — had an accident.

Incidentally, many people believe that barbeque actually derives from the French barbe à queue, that is, “from beard to tail”, signifying the whole of the pig being roasted. Leaving aside the question that pigs don’t have beards (though the allusion would work for goats), the true origin is well authenticated, and the story is just another example of folk etymology.

Whyldfire Bar-b-que:

This Blog contains recipes, thoughts, whats cooking and mostly things related to Bar-B-Que including some awesome recipes and how to build the “Ugly Drum Smoker”, this is great material!

Picnic Recipes and Games:

These tips should help make your first, or next, BBQ a big success. Bare in mind there are a few exceptions to these guidelines and not every “expert” sees eye-to-eye on some techniques. However, keeping these things in mind will greatly increase your chances of a having a wonderful BBQ or picnic.

Hot – Above 400 °F You will very rarely want to BBQ anything on hot for more than a few minutes, just long enough to sear the meat and give it a nice grilled taste. If you do intend to sear the meat, you will want to do so when you first put the meat on the BBQ and then lower the temperature to medium. It should noted that many people believe the process of searing the meat seals the juices inside but that’s not correct. Searing will only caramelize the meat. It will not seal the juices inside. Sealing the juices inside a piece of meat cooked on a BBQ grill is almost impossible.

Medium – 300 °F to 400 °F

This is temperature at which most things are BBQed on the grill, including chicken, hot dogs and burgers.

Low – Below 300 °F

Low temperatures are used to BBQ large pieces of meat such as roasts and prime rib. BBQing at low temperatures is a must for meats which are quite high in fat. Please note, we do not recommend cooking any meat at a temperature below 225 °F.

Tips For Cooking Meats And Seafood

Here we will review some tips when BBQing burgers, steaks, chicken and seafood. First, we will start with some general BBQ grilling tips.

Whenever possible, marinade the meat overnight. At the very least, let it marinade for a couple of hours.

If you get the BBQ grill too hot while trying to sear a piece meat, don’t be afraid to remove the meat until the BBQ grill cools a little bit. Better this than a burnt steak.

Brush the meat often with butter or oil. Olive oil is probably best.

Try not to turn the meat too often. This is especially true of beef. You should be aiming to cook the meat 40% done on one side, flip it once and then cook it the rest of the way done. Beef is about 40% done when it has become slightly brown about halfway up the edge of the meat.

Unless you are in a big hurry or you like for your meat to be dry, do not press on it. You will just be squeezing out all those wonderful juices.

If you are not a pro when it comes to cooking meat, always use a thermometer to test for doneness. Check out our Meat Doneness Temperatures page to learn the exact temperatures at which different types of meat are safe to eat.

Do not salt the meat while it is on the BBQ grill. The salt will soak up some the juices and may cause the meat to become dry.

Don’t be afraid to let the food stand for five or ten minutes after it’s done BBQing on the grill. The food will be too hot to enjoy straight off the BBQ grill anyway.

Tips for BBQing Burgers

To prevent “pregnant” burgers, make an indention in the middle of the patties before you put them on the BBQ grill. This will allow room for them to swell in the middle.

Always mix the seasonings into with the ground beef before making patties.

Don’t use ground beef that it is extremely lean, 20% fat is just about perfect. The fat helps make the burgers juicy and very tasty.

Tips for BBQing Steaks

If you buy a large piece of meat and you plan to slice it into smaller pieces, remember to cut against the grain of the meat.

Don’t take the meat directly from the cooler and put it on the BBQ grill. Let it stand out for a few minutes and warm up a little bit. The meat will cook more evenly.

Trim away excess fat but never trim away all the fat. The fat is what gives a steak most of it’s flavor.

If you plan to use salt, do so just before you eat it.

Tips For BBQing Chicken

If you are going to use some type of seasoning rub them buy chicken with the skin still on it. You can rub the seasoning under the skin and it will stay there. Otherwise, much of the seasoning may fall off when you are BBQing it.

If you are going to use a marinade then skinless chicken is perfectly fine.

Trim away all the fat, it serves no useful purpose.

Monitor chicken closely. It will dry out quickly if you overcook it. This is especially true of boneless, skinless breast filets.

Injecting chicken with a marinade is a great way to add flavor and reduce dryness.

Tips For BBQing Seafood

Use fresh seafood, if you can. Don’t cook frozen seafood without thawing it first.

If you are using thin filets of fish, wrap them in foil or place foil underneath them while BBQing them on the grill. If you don’t, they may fall apart.

Shrimp are difficult to BBQ on a grill without overcooking them. Try jumbo shrimp or precooked shrimp that only need to be heated up.

Fish is done when the meat in the middle has turned opaque in color.


1 thought on “Grilling and Barbecue Tips

  1. Pingback: BBQ Chicken Split Roasted Style Barbecue Recipe « BBQ Channel – Barbecue and Grilling

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