Under Construction. Come back soon to see a glossary of grilling terms added like the thumb test, offset smoker, indirect grilling, smoking, etc
Brine ~ a salt water solution that meat is soaked in to increase tenderness and juiciness. The salt water pushes liquid from the brine into the meat making it more juicy. The salt itself also breaks down connective tissues and thus makes it more tender. If flavor is added to the solution, say in the form of a fruit juice (apple juice and cider being my favorites) or soda (root beer works really well) instead of water, then that fluid that goes into the meat will also add to the flavor profile. So brining in a flavored fluid makes meat more tender, juicy and flavorful. Three things we are always looking for when cooking.
Generally speaking, the ratio of salt to liquid is 1 cup of salt:1 gallon of liquid. If using a quart of say apple juice, use 1/4 cup of salt. Soak the meat in the solution for 2 to 12 hours in the refrigerator. Up the salt some if brining for shorter periods of time.
Marinade ~ a flavorful liquid or semi liquid solution to soak meat in that adds flavor to the food. A marinade could be something like beer or wine, fruit juice (not citrus), milk, Italian dressing, basil pesto, or a combination of flavors such as chipotle, a dash of orange juice and Worcestershire. Leave the meat in the marinade and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.
Resting ~ Most people assume that searing in, or sealing in, the juices is the key to a juicy steak, but that is actually a myth debunked by Alton Brown. The key to keeping a steak, or any meat coming off the grill, juicy comes at the end in the form of resting. When the meat comes off the heat, the juices are in an excited state. They are moving inside the meat a million miles an hour. If you slice into it right away, they are going to exit the meat all over the cutting board or plate. But if the meat is allowed to rest, the juices will settle down and redistribute throughout the meat ensuring that the meat will be juicy through and through.
Resting time is determined by the size of the meat. A steak needs 3-5 minutes depending on the size. A roast needs 10-20 minutes, also depending on size.
Resting can take place on a cutting board or plate, or it can happen under a tent of tin foil to slow down the cooling process and retain some of the heat. This is referred to as tenting:
Thumb Test ~ Is a simple, yet extremely clever way to determine how done a steak is by simply pushing on the outside of it without having to slice into it and let the juices leak all over the place. A very in-depth explanation of the thumb test can be found here.
Two Zone Grilling ~ Also known as indirect grilling. This method is a way to moderate temperatures in the grill to keep the meat from cooking too quickly. Basically it involved putting the heat on one side and the meat on the other. For a gas grill it means turning the burners on one side of the grill on and leaving the other side off and putting the meat on the latter. For charcoal grills, the briquettes or lump charcoal is put on one side, the meat on the other. For Kamado style cookers, they come with what is called a place setter that deflects the heat away from the meat. This is compounded further by doing the flank method in which coals are on each side and the meat is in the middle.