3 Ways to Improve the Consistency of Your Barbecue

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Are you having a hard time producing consistent results on your smoker or grill? Here are three ways to improve the consistency of your barbecue and cook for your guests with confidence.


Nothing sucks the joy out of cooking more than inconsistent results. Here are some methods to help you crank out great barbecue every time you fire up your grill.

The first step in identifying the cause of a problem is to understand each part of the process, so that we can figure out which parts are broken. This principle applies whether you're repairing a car, solving relationship problems, or cooking barbecue.

Here are some of the variables you need to think about when cooking outside:

  • Grill or smoker temperature
  • Weather (temperature, wind, and barometric pressure)
  • Quality of the meat
  • Size of the cut
  • Seasoning recipe and the amount of the seasoning
  • Internal temperature of the meat
  • Heat source and configuration
  • Smoke density and composition
  • Fuel quality

If you always use the same equipment, fuel, and seasoning, you are eliminating some of the variables, but if you are careless with even one variable—such as the temperature of your smoker or the doneness of the meat—it would be possible to produce your best barbecue one weekend and a real bummer the next.

Prefer to talk with us? Visit our store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA or call us at (717) 355-0779 for everything you need to cook outdoors, including gloves, thermometers, rubs, and sauces. More importantly, we have personal experience in smoking and grilling and are happy to help you overcome your cooking challenges, so that you can cook for your guests with confidence.

Use a Thermometer

One variable that will make the biggest difference in your results is cooking the meat to the best internal temperature of the meat. We carry a variety of instant-read hand-held thermometers that make it easy to check the temperature of your meat.

If you don't own one yet, an instant-read thermometer should be at the top of your wish list. We carry Thermoworks, a brand known for their accuracy and durability. These thermometers are designed for backyarders, caterers, and even professional chefs.


Of course, you'll also need to know the optimum internal temperatures of each type of cut. With time you'll memorize these, but our handy time and temperature chart takes the hard work out of figuring out target temperatures of many common meats.

  • When checking the temperature of a piece of meat, carefully check in two or more places and probe the coldest parts of the meat to make sure that it's reached the recommended minimum temperature.
  • One piece of meat will cook faster than the other, so take your time to check each one.

Take Notes

It takes discipline to do, but many successful pitmasters use a journal to record everything about each cook, so that they can duplicate the results of any given cook.

Here is a link to a printable recipe and cooking log on StoryQue.com. It's available as either a PDF or Word document.


Pay Attention

One of my biggest mistakes has been letting meat overcook because I'm not giving it enough attention. This often happens when I'm busy multi-tasking. The meat is cooking just fine and before I realize it, I've overcooked it.

Some meats have a more narrow window of perfection, such as pork loin and chicken breast. Even ribs can overcook in a short amount of time if you're not careful. The solution is actually pretty simple: focus on what you're doing and don't let the meat overcook.


Conclusion

In theory, cooking great barbecue is easy. However, consistency takes practice and diligent application of tried-and-true methods. If you will master internal temperature, take notes, and focus on what you're doing, you'll be well on your way to producing exceptional barbecue every time you fire up your grill or smoker.

Prefer to talk with us? Visit our store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA or call us at (717) 355-0779 for everything you need to cook outdoors, including gloves, thermometers, rubs, and sauces. More importantly, we have personal experience in smoking and grilling and are happy to help you overcome your cooking challenges, so that you can cook for your guests with confidence.

About the author: Lavern Gingerich is the digital marketing manager for Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply.

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