The science of meat: The impact of muscle groups on BBQ and cooking

The science of meat: The impact of muscle groups on BBQ and cooking

This article is intended as an overview of the two main categories of cuts of meat (muscles) and the common properties these groups share. A lot of this may be boring science-nerd stuff (which I am all here for), but the reason I think it’s interesting is because these shared properties shape the way we cook them. For example, we would alter our cooking approach if we were cooking chicken breast vs chicken thighs, and likewise, there is no way you would want to cook a fillet steak the same way you cook a brisket. This is because they are in different categories and have different properties, likewise, meats in the same categories can be cooked in basically the same way. Cooked short rib before but never ox-cheek? Don’t worry, just think of them like different shaped short ribs and you’ll be fine.

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Die Hard - Shoot the glass madeira cake

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This is final part of a series of recipes that I created for a cooking competition that I am currently a part of. It’s specifically a BBQ competition run by Globalitc charcoal company, and the third round was themed “TV Dinners” - the idea being you had to BBQ a meal based on something from, or inspired by, a TV show or movie.

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Die Hard - The Nakatomi Tower burger

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This is the third burger in a series of recipes that I created for a cooking competition that I am currently a part of. It’s specifically a BBQ competition run by Globalitc charcoal company, and the third round was themed “TV Dinners” - the idea being you had to BBQ a meal based on something from, or inspired by, a TV show or movie.

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Yippe-cayenne motherclucker - deep fried chicken burger

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This is the second in a series of recipes that I created for a cooking competition that I am currently a part of. It’s specifically a BBQ competition run by Globalitc charcoal company, and the third round was themed “TV Dinners” - the idea being you had to BBQ a meal based on something from, or inspired by, a TV show or movie.

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Die Hard Themed Cooking - Miso aubergine burger with katsu

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This is the first in a series of recipes that I created for a cooking competition that I am currently a part of. It’s specifically a BBQ competition run by Globalitc charcoal company, and the third round was themed “TV Dinners” - the idea being you had to BBQ a meal based on something from, or inspired by, a TV show or movie.

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The science of hot-and-fast BBQ

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Previously we discussed the principles of cooking low and slow BBQ. Cooking for longer periods of time at a temperature ranging from roughly 110C/225F - 135C/275F. In that write up, we looked at the science of heat transfer and all the merits of cooking slowly to reduce the temperature gradient and get a more even cook throughout the meat, and you’d be forgiven for thinking by the end of that, “Why would you ever cook hot and fast?”

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BBQ: How-to get a bigger smoke ring

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The smoke ring. A much sought after, magical thing in BBQ. The visibly identifiable symbol of good BBQ - even though it doesn’t indicate the quality of the BBQ (you can have great BBQ with no smoke ring, as well as terrible BBQ with a smoke ring) - it is a status symbol. There is an undeniable satisfaction cutting into your smoked meat and seeing the pink band around the surface of the meat.

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The science of low-and-slow cooking

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Smoking and BBQ is often low-and-slow cooking, that is, cooking for an extended period of time (anything from an hour through to double figures or overnight cooks) at a lower temperature. Normally in the range of 110-135C (225-275F). But why these temperatures and times? Most elements of cooking (from meat transformation to food safety) are a product of time and temperature, so why do we bother cooking low-and-slow? What’s so special about cooking at lower temperatures? Burning coal can, obviously, easily reach temperatures way above this range without any issue so it’s not an intrinsic limitation of grilling.

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12 hour smoked beef short rib burger

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This is kinda silly. This one started when I watched a video on the SousVideEverything YouTube channel titled “I Try Making a 3 MICHELIN STAR Short Rib”. The host sous vides some beef short ribs (for 16 hours), then shreds them with some other bits and pieces, compacts and wraps in cling film to cool before frying them. The end result being some fancy looking, 3 Michelin star stack of fried beef rib on top of mash and pea puree. My take away from it all wasn’t to sous vide them, but to smoke them and then turn it into a burger. 3 Michelin stars it is not, but it is incredibly tasty.

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Triple chocolate, biscoff stuffed, dirty cookies

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Dirty cookies are an idea I played with a couple years ago which worked out pretty well, and is basically just for a bit of fun. It isn’t quicker particularly than oven cooking cookies, and there is higher risk of them getting pretty badly burnt - but the flipside is the end result is crazily-decadently-good and can be fun if you are entertaining people. If you have been entertaining in the garden at the grill, its quite good fun to whip a couple of these little foil-wrapped balls of decadence straight off the coals for people to dig into.

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