Grilling, a cooking technique employed in many countries, is defined as application of heat to the surface of food either from above or below. This radiant heat cooks quickly, draws moisture from the food and intensifies flavour. Radiant heat intensity ranges from 260 – 500 F (130 – 250 C) and creates the Maillard effect, which occurs when temperature reaches 155 C (310). The Maillard effect caramelises sugars in the food.
Beef, pork, poultry and fish exposed to high temperatures form heterocylic amonies, benzopyrenese and polyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, all of which are claimed to be carcinogenic. Regardless, million eat grilled food frequently and enjoy the special flavour immensely.
You can grill with regular charcoal, brickets, infrared heat sources, mesquite charcoal, hickory chips, or pecan, apple, maple or oak chips, but most people prefer gas which is easy to handle, can be regulated, and is much less time consuming to clean.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland people used overhead heat which results in less tasty food. Japanese prefer to grill over small fires and generally skewered meat is used. The same is true in Armenia, Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries.
There are many grill manufacturers, but in my experience Lynx professional grills are best designed and carefully manufactured. They are designed for outdoor use, but can be installed indoors under certain conditions. The product offers unequalled opportunities for everyday eating and entertaining. Lynx, located in California, offers a wide range of free-standing or built-in grills 27 – 54” (67 – 132 cm), as well as, built-in or free standing cocktail stations, outdoor-rated refrigeration, draught beer dispensers, ice machines (Americans like everything either very cold or very hot), side burners for sautéing vegetables or preparing sauces, even infrared patio heaters.
If you love to grill and entertain outdoors on a regular basis, log on to www.lynxgrills.com and read about their products.
Also, wine connoisseurs would benefit from Perlick under counter refrigeration, offering unmatched temperature uniformity for their precious bottles. The company offers undercounted refrigerators; beverage centres, draught beer dispensers and ice makers. Their products can be used both indoors and out and range in size from 15 – 72”. For more information, visit their website at www.perlick.com.
BBQ is a completely different cooking technique and results in food that is succulent with a smoky flavour, and has a different texture to grilled foods.
Most Canadians, Australians and British think of barbecue as grilled meat, but in the US; Texans and the people of Kansas and Tennessee have a completely different understanding of the process. Down South, barbecue means slow cooking over an offset smouldering, smoky fire, yielding exceptionally tender ribs and brisket and pork shoulder that can be “cut” with a fork, all enhanced with a sweet, mildly spicy tomato based sauce.
By the time the Mason-Dixon Line appears on the horizon, barbeque means just an open grill, powered by coal, but today mostly gas is used.
This confusion extends to the etymology of barbecue itself. The generally accepted root of the word is the Spanish barbacoa, which denotes a wooden framework on which meat can be roasted, as was practised by slaves and their descendants on Hispaniola. But most researchers think that the word evolved from French de la barbe a la queue (from beard to the tail). This is why people still roast whole carcasses of lamb in the Caucasus and Balkans where picnics are common, and no picnic is complete without the tradition of barbecue.
In the southern USA, barbecuing evolved during the slave trade. When hogs were butchered and slaves got leftovers – hocks, spareribs, and shoulders, they had to develop a cooking style to tenderise these tough cuts. Shoulders, hocks and necks contain a lot of collagen, and tough but extremely flavourful connective tissue. Slow application of heat and smoke break down the tissue and render meat moist. In addition, rubs were and still are used to both tenderise and flavour the meat. Rubs change from state to state.
Southern-style barbecues are designed to generate and retain smoke. The best temperature range is 220 – 230 F (100 – 115 C) for eight hours (brisket) and 16 hours for pork. Fish is better “cold” smoked or cooked at lower temperatures. The type of wood used for barbecuing is important as it flavours the meat. In Canada apple wood is used, some employ hickory. In the American south, cooks use whatever wood they can get. Mesquite, which was popular a few years ago, seems to have lost its popularity, mostly due to its excessively strong flavour, which creates a burning sensation at the back of the throat.
Slow-cooked and expertly prepared meat needs no sauce. It is succulent as is and will provide all the eating pleasure one expects.