Guest post, by Daniel Roberts.
As I have already spoken of in earlier posts the meat you cook and how you prepare it to be cooked can have a big impact on your food budget. I would now like to delve into the area of how that food, meat in particular is cooked, and the options each method provides. To start I would like to remind the reader that the lesser the cut of meat the more I recommend the low and slow approach to cooking.
A look at the history of BBQ will find that that relationship between the cut of meat and the way it is cooked goes back a very long time. There are four variations I would like to cover today. The first is grilling. Grilling can be done either on a gas, electric, or coal cook top. Your choice in this depends on your commitment to the slight flavor variations some attribute to the use of charcoal or wood instead of gas. Charcoal to some degree and wood to a larger extent can add some flavor to your meal. If using wood then there are many charts to be found that match specific types of wood to the meat they will be cooking. Maple or Apple for pork, mesquite for beef, and a myriad of other possibilities for chicken can really add to the finished meal. Charcoal is a little more straight forward but like wood, has to be maintained while you cook. The temperatures in wood and charcoal fires can vary and have to be watched especially if you are trying for a low and slow cook (usually no more than 200 degrees for three or more hours).
Gas grills and smokers (another good method for cooking that offers the ease of gas with the tastes of wood ) will not have some of the added flavors of wood and charcoal but their temperature do not need to be tended half as much. It all depends on how comfortable you feel with each method as to which you should use. For those who do not have a grill or smoker let me offer up a few in home alternatives.
The Crockpot is a wonderful tool when trying the low and slow method. All one must do to have a great meal is add whatever meat you have on hand, add some water or better yet whatever you chose to marinade your meat with, and heat. If you don’t have a Crockpot, baking bags or even paper grocery bags can be used. One method I have used to a great level of success is placing butter under the skin of a chicken or turkey, adding a good rub to the skin, then placing the bird in a paper store bag, folding the end closed in such a way that the bird’s weight is enough to pin the bag shut, then baking on 200 for 8 to 10 hours.
All in all, take your time, experiment with what flavors you enjoy more, and have fun.