A barbeque device can be anything from a table-top open pit with grill on top to a deluxe barbeque pit/smoker on wheels that is large enough to tow behind your truck. For folks who are just stepping into the world of outdoor barbeque, hopefully the information contained in this article will help you decide what type of barbeque pit best fits your needs.
Barbequing vs. Grilling ~
The first thing you want to decide on is how devoted you are to cooking outdoors. If you just want something to cook a quick meal on such as hamburgers, hot dogs or steak, then a grill is your best bet. Barbeque grills allow you to place your meat close to the flame and cook it in a matter of minutes. Cooking prime cuts of steak such as rib-eye, t-bone and NY strip on a grill is the preferred method. Chicken can be cooked on a grill as well so long as the chicken is cut in pieces. In fact, boneless chicken is probably your best choice if you are short on cooking time. In fact, boneless chicken tends to dry out if cooked too long so grilling it quickly is ideal.
Barbequing meat is a different process altogether. With barbequing on a barbeque pit, it is all about the heat source and all about the time it takes to cook a piece of meat. Barbequing involves cooking your meat by indirect heat much like you would in an oven. This type of outdoor cooking allows you to take less tender cuts of meat and cook them slowly so that when done, they are quite tender and delicious. Meats such as rotisserie chicken, brisket, ribs, roasts, even whole pigs are best when barbequed over a slow fire for hours, sometimes even days.
Gas vs. Charcoal and Wood Chips
Another consideration is what type of fuel you want to use in cooking your meat. Propane gas is a preferred fuel when you need an instant flame to make quick dinner for the family. The best thing that can be said about gas grilling is that it is quick and convenient and it allows you to serve your meats with less grease as the cooking allows the grease to drain away from the meat while cooking. This method of cooking is definitely a better option than frying your meat.
There is a world of difference, however, between a piece of meat grilled over gas and one that is grilled over a charcoal/wood mix. A piece of meat roasted over a slow fire with the lid of the barbeque grill closed allows the sweet smoky essence of the wood to permeate your piece of meat, whether it is a brisket or some baby back ribs. This gives your meat a distinct, succulent flavor you can’t get any other way.
Wood for standard outdoor barbeque pits comes in three types, chips, chunks and pellets. When using chips, you may have to place them on the charcoal several times throughout the barbequing process. When using chunks, you can place a couple of nice chunks of wood in your pit with the charcoal and they should give just the right amount of smoke flavor to your meat without having to add more. Pellets, which are made from processed sawdust, can be used the same way as wood chips. The most popular varieties of wood used in barbequing include hickory, oak, cherry, apple and pecan.
If you are just starting out, it is best to start small and work your way up. The key to becoming a great pit boss is experimentation and practice. Go onto websites of the companies that are known for their grilling and barbeque products and do your research. In no time, you’ll be barbequing like the pros.