Essential Cooking Methods for Every Pit Master
Becoming a pitmaster is easy to understand but hard to realize. Most of what barbecuing is, at its core, simply putting food onto a grill and letting the heat cook it to the right temperatures.
All you need to do is pick out or make good sauces, marinades, and rubs for your meat and veggies and flip them occasionally to ensure they don’t burn. With the right tools, doing just that can be incredibly easy.
However, a wide range of techniques and cooking methods also make mastering your grill far more intricate. If you’ve ever searched for barbecue recipes online or looked for tips, you might find that there are different preferred levels of how well cooked a steak is or something called reverse searing.
With so many different techniques, you suddenly have a wide range of new skills you need to master. Which ones do you need to know and which aren’t as needed?
We’ve written this article to help answer the question of what the essential cooking methods are that every pitmaster needs to know. If you’re interested and want to learn more, you can check out this catalog for some of the best Weber natural gas BBQ grills.
If you’re new to grilling, you’re likely not yet to have heard about indirect grilling. However strange as the term might sound, understanding the concept is quite easy. Simply put, this method of grilling food places it away from the source of your flames.
If you own a gas grill, place your food as far from the burners as possible; if your grill is charcoal, you stack the coals away from the food.
Indirect grilling – and its opposite, direct grilling – are frequently grouped in a way that makes each term far easier to understand. Barbecue experts and chefs generally use direct grilling as the technical term for normal grilling or cooking your food directly over the grill’s flames. This immediately makes indirect grilling recognizable as its opposite.
Though not as well known as some other forms of cooking with a grill, you can still smoke foods if you don’t already own a smoker. Though the ideal temperature for smoking meat and veggies is 200 to 220 degrees Fahrenheit, many grills can still reach quite a low heat level that’s just as good for packing in delicious flavor. Between 225 and 250 Fahrenheit, charcoal and gas grills can hit low heat temps, generating more smoke than actual flames.
Smoking is usually done by burning wood chips or pellets. If your grill reaches higher heat, an accessory is still available that allows smoking even at higher temperatures. All you need is a small one. Usually, an aluminum or steel box is aptly named a smoker box.
To smoke your veggies and steak, all you need to do is toss a handful of wood chips into the box and light them before you put your food onto the hot grill. The smoke that’s created will get absorbed into the meat, regardless of grill temp or grill type.
As another form of barbecuing that’s best done with tools today, spit roasting is a staple of barbeque and camping cuisine. Many cultures worldwide have had their types of spit-roasted food, many of which are widely known and incredibly popular today.
Now better known as a rotisserie, this cooking style can use any cut of meat with any combination of seasonings, making it incredibly versatile.
In today’s world of barbecuing and cooking, rotisserie is often done in ovens to save room and time. But, if you want to impress your guests, you can easily get a roasting spit for your barbecue grill.
The process is quite similar to indirect grilling, though the meat you cook needs to keep rotating to baste itself. The ideal temperature for spit roasting tends to fall between 200 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit, with higher temperatures being set for more tender cuts and quicker cooking.
Cooking methods for pit master: steaming veggies
Much like spit roasting and smoking, not many people know you can steam veggies using your grill. As long as you have a metal or otherwise heat-safe dish to store water in, you don’t need any extra accessories or tools to steam veggies.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t use other tools, like smoke boxes, to add more flavor. Tossing a handful of hickory or maple wood chips into it and setting the box under the grate can be a great way to improve a meal. The smoke you make can still be absorbed into it, making the veggies – or even meat – taste great while still being healthy for you!
Baking dinner and desserts
Possibly one of the only methods of cooking that go widely ignored in most of the barbequing community is the ability to bake with just your grill. Since barbecues often give off smoke and have a grate that can interfere with the process and the taste of whatever you bake, many pitmasters forgo baking for other techniques. Instead of using your grill, many people invest in a pizza oven for pizzas and other baked goods.
However, your grill, whether it’s a gas or charcoal one, is still entirely capable of baking. The few pitmasters that do bake with their grills often make bread, pizzas, and even mac ‘n cheese for dinner, but a lot more can be done with it. While baking dinner on your grill is a perfectly viable technique, you can also bake desserts on your grill. The smoke that’s created will add a new depth of flavor to them.
Cooking methods for pit master: Takeaway
Your grill is an extension of your home’s kitchen. While the grate may pose some problems due to its gaps, many accessories available can allow you to do more than grill and roast meats with your barbecue.
Many pitmasters know that they aren’t limited to just one or two types of food or just one method of cooking, and often all of these methods and more to create wonderful and delicious meals for their guests and families.