Memorial Day weekend is upon us which means the start of summer is finally here. Many will be having pool parties or camping out by the lake. It is the perfect opportunity for some good ol’ Texas BBQ or a wood fired grilled feast. Not only will your guests love the food, but will also appreciate the aroma! What is it that makes people love this food so much?
While cuts of meat are important, the biggest factor is the firewood. That’s right, wood fired grills and smokers add extra flavor to the food through the firewood. Wood contains a chemical called lignin. When the firewood is ignited, the lignin gets broken down into guaiacol which gives the smoky, delicious flavor BBQ is known for. Guaiacol also gives flavor to things like roasted coffee, think Summermoon, and even whisky. This is why meat cooked in smokers or on wood fired grills with quality seasoned firewood like Woodchuck Delivery sells, leave your guests wanting more!
We know what adds the flavor but what makes the meat so tender and juicy? When you cook with firewood, you produce nitric oxide. This combines with the myoglobin found in meat, creating nitrosyl hemochromogen, a red-colored pigment otherwise known as a “smoke ring.” This doesn’t happen when meat is cooked in an oven or on a stove because you don’t have the nitric oxide in the mix. When meat is BBQ’d properly, it practically falls apart when it is finished. This is because meat is held together by connecting tissue largely made up of collagen. When collagen is heated, it turns to gelatin, which is loose and soft, allowing the meat to tear easily.
Tips & Tricks
Now that we know what makes BBQ so delicious, here are some tips for cooking low and slow this Memorial Day Weekend!
There’s no need to quickly BBQ anything. In fact, hanging around the wood fired grill is one of the best parts of a Memorial Day BBQ. You are off of work on a Monday with your friends and family gathered around. Can you think of anything better?!
Cooking “low and slow” is a well known motto when smoking meats. The science from earlier explains why smoked meats turn out the best when they are able to cook over a long period of time over a low heat. The firewood that yields the highest BTU’s is quality, seasoned oak firewood.
Have you ever heard “the right wood for the right food?” When it comes to BBQ, the right firewood paired with the right meat can make all of the difference! For enhanced flavor use wood that pairs well with specific foods:
To get the most flavor out of the woods listed above by soaking the cooking wood in water for a minimum of 30 minutes and drain well before adding to the fire.
You may not think there can be such a thing as “too much smoke” but there definitely is! If too much smoke is rendered during the cooking process, the result can quickly turn from delicious and flavorful, to horrible. Smoke flavor can quickly turn from deep and complex to terribly over smoked with a bitter taste if too much smoke is created during the cooking process.
You can add wood chips every 30-40 minutes and wood chunks once an hour until the right amount of smoke is reached. The best way to tell if there is the right amount of smoke is when a pale blue smoke is emitted. Once this is achieved, sit back and savor the aroma.
Remember, don’t ruin a good BBQ by rushing the process, or by adding too much wood flavor and being overzealous with smoke! Enjoy the day and soak in the start of summer. Follow these tips and be sure to experience a flavor rich wood fired Memorial Day BBQ this year.
Restaurants and residents in the Greater Austin TX area can enjoy the highest quality cooking woods for sale with convenient delivery to your home or business. If you’re a professional chef or an amateur just getting into smoking or cooking over an open flame, we have wood that is perfect for cooking. Order online or give us a call at 512.387.7270 to talk to someone directly about choosing the best cooking wood possible.