Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Kamado Joe MoJOE newsletter

    Kamado Joe "MoJoe" Newscast
March 2012   

Kamado Joe Company
2865 North Berkeley
Lake Road NW
Duluth, GA 30096
(877) 215-6299

Grilling the Perfect Steak
Serving great steaks doesn’t have to be a “rare” event.

There's a reason that steaks are one of the most popular cuts of meat. No other type of meat offers the flavor and juiciness of a prime cut of beef. And it's expensive. That’s why it's critical to grill it to your desired more no less.

Whether you like your steak well done, rare or anywhere in between, a few simple steps will get you to steak perfection.

Choosing a Grill Temperature
Ask 10 ceramic grill owners for the temperature they use to grill steaks and you'll likely get 10 different answers. The reality is that you can grill a steak as low as 300°F or as high as 800°F. You will get more “blackening” or charring by searing the meat at higher temperatures. I prefer 500°F for grilling steaks, because it gives me a bit of blackening like a fine steak restaurant. If you are new to grilling steaks on a ceramic grill, start with a mid-range temperature and work your way up until you find your personal sweet spot for steaks.

Pick the Right Utensils
The first rule of grilling a steak is, “do not use a fork for turning steaks”. You want to keep all the natural juices inside the steak. Piercing the meat allows the juices to leak out and become vaporized by the charcoal fire. Use a set of sturdy tongs or spatula for turning steak.

Judging Time Based on Thickness
A 2” thick steak will take longer to cook to the same internal doneness as a steak that is 1” thick. Most steaks from a grocery store will be 3/4” to 1” thick. For medium rare to well done, the best method is to place the steak on the grill for 1 minute, turn it and wait another minute. Check the internal temperature and if it is not to your desired doneness, completely close the top vent and check the steak’s internal temperature every 1-2 minutes.

Be sure to open the top vent and wait 10 seconds before opening the dome to prevent a flashback. A flashback is a rush of white heat exiting the grill as oxygen is reintroduced to the charcoal fire.

If you have a steak that is 2” or more, you'll need to increase the time to 4-5 minutes each side depending on your grill temperature. To prevent excessive charring, remove the steak after the initial grilling on both sides (8-10 minutes). Insert a pizza stone or heat deflector plate onto the cooking grate, place the steak onto the ceramic plate, shut down the top vent and check the internal temperature every 2-3 minutes. Remember to open the top vent for 10 seconds.

Checking the Internal Temperature
We have all used tongs or a spatula to check the doneness of a steak, but it is not an exact science. A pen thermometer is a “must have” barbecue accessory for grilling, roasting and smoking. After you have turned the steak once, check the internal temperature by placing the probe in the core of the steak. Although you are piercing the meat with the probe, very little juice will escape. I use a Thermapen by Thermoworks and they retail for $99. Another excellent option is the Maverick PT-100 that retails for $62.99. Along with a lower price, the PT-100 has the advantage of a lighted display. To determine the desired internal temperature, see the article below, and download the cooking guide in this issue of MoJoe.
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Time Versus Temperature
A guide to better outdoor cooking.

I regularly see posts on our Facebook page asking for the time and temperature of photos that others have posted of their grilled and smoked food. In many instances, the question should really be “what is the temperature and temperature?”. By that I mean the grill temperature and the internal temperature of the meat. While grilled foods can lend themselves to the time and temperature method, gauging the internal temperature is the key to achieving the optimal doneness, whether you are grilling, roasting or smoking.

Choosing the Right Method
If you go to any recipe website and do a search, you will find cooking times and oven temperatures for every recipe. You can get excellent results with grilled foods like fish, shellfish and vegetables using time and temperature. To make matters a little more complicated, there are meats that span both methods.

For example, chicken can be grilled, roasted or smoked. You can grill a boneless chicken breast 400°F for 3-4 minutes on each side, roast a whole chicken in an hour at 350°F or smoke it at 225°F for two and a half hours. Each method will get you to an internal temperature of 160°F.

We want you to get the most out of your Kamado Joe grill, so we have put together a cooking guide that you can download. Also, the back has a guide for ceramic grills basics, like controlling temperature and how to achieve low temperatures for smoking.

Top 10 Grilling Mistakes
Avoiding the pitfalls of grilling is easy.
Thermoworks, the makers of Thermopen have put together a list of the most common grilling mistakes. Many of the mistakes have to do with internal temperature, but they are worth reading.

Give Yourself a Good Rest
The science of juiciness.

Taking the time to let meat “rest” after cooking is simply allowing the meat to sit a few minutes before serving. It ensures that the meat you have lovingly prepared is as juicy as possible.

The reason for resting is based on physics. Physics is simply the science of matter and energy and the interactions between the two. The meat (matter) is cooked over a fire (energy), which causes the proteins in the meat to heat up and become firm. As the proteins set they push the meat’s juices to the meat’s center.

Allowing the meat to rest away from the heat allows the juices to be reabsorbed into the outer areas of the meat. The result is meat losing less of its juices when cut.

How to Rest Meat
Remove the cooked meat from the grill and place it on a warm plate or platter. Obviously, a plate at room temperature will pull heat from the meat. I like to preheat a plate in the oven. “Tent” the meat by loosely placing aluminum foil over it. The resting time will depend on the size of meat. A roast or whole turkey should be rested for 10 to 20 minutes before carving. Steaks should stand at least 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

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