During the dead of winter, few things can brighten your mood quite like a great football game and a nicely seared rack of ribs. Unfortunately, if you aren’t a great cook, you might end up with dried-out, flavorless meat that disappoints your guests. However, by upgrading your grilling equipment, you might be able to make those homemade dishes the star of the show. Here are two barbecue accessories that will transform your grilled meats:
1: Aromatic Wood Planks
Do you ever feel like barbecue sauce simply isn’t enough to season your meat? If you are looking for a way to increase the depth of flavor, you should consider investing in aromatic wood planks.
Aromatic wood planks are blocks of wood that are usually around an inch thick, and wide enough to sit underneath a few pieces of meat. The planks are placed directly on top of the grill grates, and then the food cooks right on the wood—instead of resting against the metal grill. Planks are typically soaked in water beforehand, which adds humidity to the grill and allows the wood to slowly smoke without burning. This smoking action infuses your meat with a mild smoky flavor. Believe it or not, you can even alter the flavor of your grilled meats by experimenting with different types of wood planks. Here are a few tips for pairing aromatic wood planks with your favorite meats:
- Pork or Chicken: To give your white meat a pop of flavor, try using heavily aromatic woods such as apple, pecan, or maple wood.
- Beef or Game Meats: Red meats, such as beef, elk, and venison, meld well with traditional aromatic woods such as oak or hickory.
- Fish: Since fish has a delicate flavor, try to avoid woods that would lend an overly-smoky finish. Instead, opt for alder or cedar, which impart a mild, pleasant flavor.
To successfully pair your meat selection with the right aromatic wood plank, think about what ingredients you would typically pair with the meat. For example, since pork melds well with maple glazed carrots and apple stuffing, you could safely assume that apple wood would lend a great flavor to those pork ribs.
2: A Steak Weight
If you have ever wondered how professional chefs churn out perfectly cooked steaks with heavily-defined grill marks, you aren’t alone. If your grill is too hot, the outside of your steaks can burn before the inside of the meat is cooked. If your grill is too cool, your steaks can steam instead of sear, leaving them colorless and tough. Fortunately, those line cooks at your favorite restaurant likely have a tool that you have never heard of before—steak weights.
Steak weights are essentially a food-safe, thick metal plate with a fire-safe handle at the top. After the piece of meat is put on the grill, the weight is placed on top of the meat in order to press the meat against the grill. In addition to helping you to create gorgeous grill marks, steak weights also offer these great benefits:
- Even Doneness: Because steak weights press the meat down against the grill, meat tends to cook more evenly. For example, if there are certain pieces of your steak that are thicker, the weight will press the steak down and spread it out, so that it all cooks in harmony.
- Speedy Cooking: Also, since weights are typically made of cast iron or aluminum, they heat up along with the grill. This means that the weight can actively cook the top of your steak, while the bottom of your meat develops those perfect grill marks. This speeds up cooking time, which means you might be able to enjoy your dinner a little sooner.
To top it off, steak weights also make it easy to accommodate your guests. If you have friends or family members who prefer meat more well-done, you can use a steak weight on their meat and leave it off of yours. Because their meat will have more contact with the grill and the top will cook faster, you might be able to serve everyone at the same time—without ignoring their personal preferences.
By investing in better barbecue accessories, you can enjoy food that looks and tastes professionally prepared—without spending more time than you need to away from the TV. If your big party is coming up fast and you don’t have time to invest in toys like these, contact a BBQ catering party for the big day.