Barbecue Recipe Science Part I

There's a whole lot of "science" behind what makes good slow smoked barbecue recipes develop their flavor, tenderness, appearance, and moisture content. So, let's take a few of the reactions and try to explain the science behind it …

Browning …

This is also called the Maillard Reaction. It is a reaction between amino acids in the meat's surface and sugars in the presence of heat. The Maillard Reaction and the smoke introduced to the meat's surface is what gives barbecue it's characteristic "bark". Typically, well smoked barbecue has a crust that is black in color suggesting the Maillard Reaction on overdrive. Do not worry … this is a good thing. Most people love the "bark" on a properly cooked Boston butt or brisket.

Searing …

Most barbecue pit masters do not sear their meat before smoking. Searing meat is cooking it for very short amounts of time in an attempt to seal in the juices. Scientific tests have been performed which weigh two identical pieces of meat before and after cooking. One being seared and the other not. Test results show that the seared piece of meat lost more moisture than the not seared meat. If searing is done properly, it will improve the flavor due to the Maillard reaction, but it will probably not improve juiciness very much. This one is extremely controversial though. Many chefs swear by "searing in the juices". Maybe there is something to it because after reading the paragraph on resting, you'll understand how the muscle fibers contract when heated and push the juices to the center of the meat.

The Smoke Ring …

The smoke ring is important for aesthetic reasons, but as far as flavor is concerned, it contributes none. The smoke ring is just a chemical reaction between nitrogen dioxide and the amino acids in the meat which produce a pink color. Nitrogen dioxide is produced when wood is burned at temperatures exceeding 600 deg F. Note this is in the firebox and not your cooking chamber. The smoke ring really has nothing to do with smoke at all. The smoke will impart it's flavor to the surface of the meat independent of the smoke ring reaction. Interestingly enough, gas grills do produce nitrogen dioxide. Some sawdust burning smokers that combust at lower temperatures do not produce nitrogen dioxide. Of course, ovens do not produce smoke rings, but what kind of jackass would cook barbecue in an oven anyway !? Note that in barbecue competitions, most judges do not know these facts and they think the smoke ring is caused by smoke and they do take that as a sign of properly smoked meats – especially brisket. So producing a good smoke ring is important.

Resting …

I can not say this loud enough … make sure you properly rest your meat before slicing or pulling! As the outside muscle fibers in the meat heat up, they contract and push the moisture to the center of the meat. If you pull …

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The Best College Football Sites and Forums on the Internet

Football is just one of those sports that everyone loves. It does not matter where you are from, what you do as a profession, how old you are or what sex you are. In fact, I've met some women that were more hardcore fans of football than men have been! Well college football is no different. Some people even switch over from college to pro when one is over and the next begins. I personally have not ever been too hardcore about college football but that does not mean I do not check out the teams or watch out for cool sites online that involve football! I'm more than a pro football girl myself! Recently, however, I was checking out some college football sites just to see what was going on and I found a few really sweet sites that I think everyone should check out. So, if your looking for something a little different or a little more unique, read below:

College Sports Info – Listing of NCAA message board forums, fan sites, official school sites and various media resources including videos, audios, and interviews.

Connect-Dots – The home of the best college football sites on the net.

Top Football Sites – The 100 most popular football links on the web. Top sites include links to NFL, college, high school, and fantasy football sites.

Football Forum – NFL & College fan discussion site. Topics include news, game reviews and trade rumors.

Against The Line – Against The Line provides college football news and commentary as well as a thorough analysis of each week's college football bets and propositions.

Image Football Resources – College Football Forum. Discuss any and all relevant college football issues — create your own threads or reply to others

Some of those forums and some of these are just plain old web sites. Personally I like forums a lot better because you can sign up and talk shop with everyone. Most of the forums include extras like newsletters, news, polls, links to sport betting sites aka sport books and much more. Websites are cool too but a lot of the time you just have to sit back and read but not really participate. Of course you can also go to the ever popular NCAA Football website and the likes, but as said above you can not really participate in these sites! You can also find more forums and websites for college football by going to your favorite search engine and searching for relative words. Have fun! …

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