This Saturday me and Ross reformed our Chilli Cook-team, Sauce Code, to enter Bubba’s annual BBQ cook off. It was a good day out, we didn’t come away with any trophies but I learned a few things about BBQ.
The first point should be that this was a Texas style BBQ comp so it seemed like we should cook in a Texas style, which meant low and slow. Now, I have never used indirect heat to cook large bits of meat before (in a BBQ of course, I always roast things at home). Our largest piece of meat was a Brisket coming in at just over 2 kilos.
Here are a couple of things I learned from the experience:
With a new BBQ burn and treat twice with oil, similar to treating a wok. This can take up to an hour.
Keep one side of BBQ for direct heat and one for indirect – We were using a large but single chambered BBQ. This heat can be regulated by a water bath under the non-direct side.
Our large cuts of meat was undercooked and needed to be finished off over direct heat. I was a bit miffed about this as it had had more than enough time in the BBQ. It only occured to me the following morning that our indirect section was facing into the wind this meant that most of the heat would be flowing in the wrong direction (this was a closed bbq with vents, I did not think it would matter). Balls, they publish wind direction on the layout for a reason. I am also guessing the last minuite stall changes were due to more professional teams moving into better wind positions.
Meat should be seared on direct heat before being taken to the indirect, I dont know why I decided it would be better to do this afterwards, I am sure I had a reason at the time. This does not seal the meat by the way, we should all know that by now! But is important for mailliard reaction. My plan was to do this afterwards but then I didnt think about the glaze. The glaze being high in sugar would burn if over the direct heat for too long.
Fine woodchips give off a good amount of smoke but they do not last very long. Better with slow burning wood blocks, unless you are doing something like chicken wings in direct heat and you need a quicker blast with the smoke.
Burn all your paper out before you start cooking.
A spray bottle with apple juice is good for keeping meat moist over indirect heat.
Don’t forget resting times when handing in. These can be pretty long for large pieces of meat.
One large bag of good charcoal was good for us thoughout the day.
If the event is offering tasting tickets for teams to claim money back then it really pays to do something like a paella on the side. Rather than just having meat samples.
These competitions, because of the expense and the planning are taken pretty seriously. Expect heavy competition, computer controlled BBQs and grills towed in on the back of trucks.
Be friendly to your neighbours you will probably have to borrow something sooner or later.
Lots of wetwipes, bottled water, and teatowels you can never have enough. Also metal trays.
Keep prep off your front bench, work to the sides.
Okay best get to class, will publish part two and some phots as more stuff comes to me. Please feel free to leave any extra advice at the bottom.