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6 cooking methods for a mouth-watering BBQ!

Grilling meat on the BBQ is a delicious way of enjoying the warmer weather. Brisket, pork flank, or picnic pork shoulder: there are so many mouth-watering cuts to satisfy the meat-lover in you! However, different cuts require different prep and cooking methods. Here are BBQ Québec’s top tips on how to prepare six tasty cuts for the grill.

Beef Brisket

Using a sharp knife, trim the soft fat on the bottom of your brisket. Keep approximately ¼ inch of the waxy fat, which will protect the brisket during cooking. On the top of the brisket, remove the excess fat covering the meat to achieve better adherence of the spices to the meat. If you have a meat injector, feel free to inject your brisket with powder, marinade, or stock, to make it juicier and add flavour.

Coat the brisket with a dry rub, starting with the fatty side. Once the barbecue or smoker has preheated to 275°F, place the meat, fatty side down, to cook indirectly over the heat, avoiding direct flames. You can add oak, hickory, or mesquite shavings to your smoker box if you’re using a gas barbecue, or add a few pieces of wood to your charcoal to get that a good smoky flavour.

Make sure the temperature of your barbecue or smoker stays around 275°F throughout the entire cooking period. Leave the brisket to cook until its internal temperature reaches 170°F (use a meat thermometer to measure the temperature) and the meat is glistening and covered with a delicious crust.

Wrap the meat in aluminum foil or place it in a container lined with foil to retain the cooking juices and fat. Still using indirect heat, cook the meat until its internal temperature reaches between 200 and 205°F. At this point, the brisket should be extremely tender and your thermometer should pierce the meat without any resistance. Remove the meat from the barbecue or smoker and let it rest in a removed area, such as inside a cooler or a cold oven, for a minimum of one hour, but ideally for two hours, so that the fat melts and the connective tissue relaxes. The brisket will still be hot after this resting period. 

Cut the flat (the smooth part on top) against the grain of the meat, then cut the burnt ends of the brisket into cubes, being careful to remove any pieces of fat. Place the cubes in an aluminum pan, add your favourite sauce and seasonings, then return it to the barbecue, tossing the pieces every 5 minutes. Next, all that’s left is to simply enjoy the fruits of your labour!

Beef short ribs

Remove the silver skin found on the underside of the beef short ribs. To do this, use a butter knife to lift the membrane found near the bones. Insert your finger between the knife and the meat, then pull the membrane to remove it.

Once the silver skin is removed, rub the meat with your favourite mix of red meat spices. If the seasoning does not contain enough salt, you should add it based on the size of the meat.

Preheat the barbecue or smoker to 275°F, then place the meat on the grill, being careful to use indirect heat. You can add woodchips to the dedicated pan according to the manufacturer’s directions or even place pieces of wood directly onto the briquettes, depending on the type of appliance you are using, which will give the meat a delicious aroma of maple, oak, or hickory!

Let the meat cook slowly until it reaches an internal temperature of 170°F (use a meat thermometer to measure the temperature) and a nice, caramelized crust has formed on the surface.

Place the short ribs, meat side down, on two pieces of aluminum foil laid one atop the other (for a more solid surface), then seal the package. Continue cooking with indirect heat at 275°F until the centre of the meat reaches 205°F.

Remove from the barbecue, let rest for 20 minutes, then slice the meat between each bone. Enjoy the marvellously juicy and delicious results!

Picnic pork shoulder

If desired, a few hours before cooking, you can inject your meat with apple juice using a meat injector.

Preheat your barbecue or smoker to 250°F and add maple or applewood chips to a pan placed on your barbecue’s deflector or directly onto the coals, depending on your appliance. Rub the meat with your favourite spices, starting with the fatty side.

Cook with indirect heat, making sure you have a large enough cooking area—this will help you avoid any flares caused by juices and fat dripping from the meat. You can also put a drip tray or aluminum plate underneath your meat in order to collect the cooking juices and fat.

Leave to cook until there is a slightly caramelized crust of spices and the internal temperature is between 160 and 170°F (use a meat thermometer to measure the temperature). Next place the pork shoulder between two pieces of aluminum foil, baste it with maple syrup and your favourite barbecue sauce, and seal the foil. Put it back to cook on the barbecue or smoker, still using indirect heat, until the internal temperature reaches 205°F. The roast should be extremely tender, and the thermometer should pierce the meat without resistance.

Using either meat claws or a fork, shred the meat in a bowl, then add your favourite sauce and the cooking juices collected in the foil. You can also add a bit of the spice mix used in the recipe. Enjoy as-is or in a burger!

Pork flank

Using a long knife, cut 1/8-inch slices (they will be thicker than ordinary slices of bacon). Preheat your barbecue to around 500°F, then lower the flame to a minimum to reduce the flare-ups the grillades will cause during cooking because of the fat.

Sprinkle your favourite grilling spices over the pork flank. Cook, turning them over once a minute, until the slices are crispy.

If you’re making a large number of them, separate your cooking into two steps: Pre-cook the slices using indirect heat, with an aluminum plate underneath to stop the fat from running into the barbecue and catching fire. Then, remove the plate, set all the burners to medium heat, and grill the slices on each side (you can then use the entire cooking surface).

Serve them in sandwiches, usually with yellow mustard, a slice of tomato, and a few pieces of onion, or simply add them to your favourite recipes.

Happy barbecuing!

Pork side ribs (Saint-Louis style)

Remove the membrane found on the back of the pork ribs. To do this, use a butter knife to lift the membrane at one side of the bone. Insert your finger between the knife and meat, then pull the membrane to remove it.

Once the membrane is removed, bend the ribs in the opposite direction to locate the junction between the bones that are part of the Saint-Louis cut, and the smaller bones, known as the short ribs. Using a knife, separate the two parts. The knife should easily separate the meat at the cartilage. Note that you can cook the short ribs with the same technique as the Saint-Louis ribs, although the result might be a little less interestin.

Completely and generously coat the ribs with your favourite pork spice mix: the crust formed by the spices will trap the sugars and flavour, which otherwise would run off the meat and into the barbecue during cooking.

Preheat the barbecue to 250°F and add apple, cherry, or even oak chips to flavour the meat. Cook the ribs, bone side down for around 2 hours on indirect heat, being sure to open the cover as few times as possible, until the internal temperature reaches between 160 and 170°F. A caramelized crust should form over the meat after this amount of time.

Pour melted butter, apple juice, and your favourite barbecue sauce into a sheet of aluminum foil (use a double thickness for strength), then place one rack of ribs inside, this time with the meat side down and the bone on top. Moisten the ribs with the mixture and seal the foil. Repeat for each rack. Return them to the barbecue at 250°F for around 2 hours or until they reach an internal temperature of 205°F. Check the ribs: They should be soft and shiny and smell delicious.

Saint-Louis rib veterans end the cooking with one final step: basting the ribs with your favourite barbecue sauce on both sides and caramelizing them for a few minutes on the grill to make them finger lickin’ good. Wet wipes highly recommended!

Tomahawk

Feel like grilling a hunk of meat that could fill a few stomachs? Then a Tomahawk is a must… and its prehistoric look will be sure to attract attention. Here’s how to smoke, cook, and sear one so that it forms a delicious exterior crust while remaining perfectly pink and juicy in the centre.

A Tomahawk is one of the tastiest and most marbled cuts of meat. It’s cut from a side of beef with the bone left as-is, giving it a surprising look and thickness that allows the meat to cook more slowly, like a roast.

Take some time to select your Tomahawk: For maximum flavour, it should be generously marbled, with a thick cap. However, if this is your first time cooking a Tomahawk, choose one with a relatively thin cap, since it will cook more uniformly. When in doubt, choose a cut from Sterling Silver, which will be worthy of even the best steakhouse.

Our Cooking Technique: The Reverse Sear Method

Let the piece of meat rest outside the fridge for around 20 minutes. Rub your favourite spices on all sides of the meat to create a good crust of seasoning. This mix should have adequate salt and pepper, given the thickness of the steak.

Preheat your barbecue or smoker to 300°F. In a smoke box, add shavings of hickory, mesquite, or even maple, which has subtler aromas, lending your steak a woody flavour. If you have a barbecue or smoker that uses charcoal or wood, opt for wood chips instead. Place your Tomahawk over indirect heat, on an area of the barbecue where the burner is off.

Let the steak cook slowly until it reaches an internal temperature of 125°F (use a meat thermometer to measure the temperature). If necessary, add more wood shavings or chips. Remove the Tomahawk from the barbecue or smoker and light all the burners to maximum heat to increase the temperature. If you have access to an infrared sear zone, also set it to maximum heat while your Tomahawk sits in the barbecue or smoker. Sear your Tomahawk on both sides. At the last minute, slather it with your favourite steak sauce and allow it to caramelize (making sure the sauce doesn’t burn).

Internal temperatures for different degrees of doneness 

Rare: 130°F
Medium: 140°F
Medium/well-done: 150°F
Well done: 160°F

When you reach the desired state of doneness, turn off the heat and leave the steak to sit for a minimum of 5 minutes in order to trap the juices inside the meat. Slice the Tomahawk at the table for that mouth-watering appeal and enjoy with pride.