How is corn used in making corned beef? It’s not! The closest that the beef comes to corn is that which the cow may have eaten. “Corn” is an old English term used for the word grain. As per AmazingRibs.com, it was used in the phrase of that era “A corn of salt” so it became synonymous with salt. So, what is happening is the meat is being cured with salt. At that time they didn’t have the luxury of refrigeration and so the corning process was used to preserve meats.
Now, not the regular salt we use everyday at the dinner table, but curing salt. The curing salts are either Prague #1 or #2 also know as Insta Cure. Prague #1 is more commonly used for the “corning” process. It should be noted, NEVER use any curing salts at the dinner table and do not mistake them for pink Himalayan salt. If used for anything other than curing, they will be hazardous to your health.
What part of the cow is used to make corned beef? The brisket. Other parts of the cow can be used but none is as delicious as the brisket. When you are celebrating St. Patty’s Day, chowing down corned beef, it is brisket. Most BBQ’ers know what the brisket is but for those that don’t the brisket is the pectoral muscle (chest) of the cow. When it is not corned but smoked, the smoking process can take up to 10 hours since this is an over worked muscle and is very tough. When it is corned the salt breaks down the muscle fibers and transforms the brisket into a piece of tender meat. Oh, have you heard of pastrami? Well, it is a corned brisket that has been lightly smoked and seasoned with liberal amounts of pepper and coriander.
So, when seated at the St. Patty’s Day dinner table, exhibit your worldly knowledge and see how many know the origins of corned beef. Most probably will say “who cares” but you know!
Happy Saint Patty’s Day!!!
For many years salt has been getting a lot of bad press. Just as with anything else, an over indulgence in the use of salt can cause health problems. Some of these causes can be due to the fast pace we live and the tendency to eating fast and processed foods. Not to put down processed or fast food but they tend to be higher in salt content compared to meals you cook at home.
So why is salt important? When it comes to our bodies’ salt is a necessity. Our bodies do not make it therefore we cannot live without it. Salt is important to properly functioning muscles and a healthy nervous system. It also aids in balancing our body fluids.
When it comes to cooking, salt is the most important seasoning one can use above all. It enhances the flavor of just about any meal. When it comes to grilling and smoking , salt penetrates the meat holding in moisture. It is also a natural tenderizer. It helps balance sweetness and bitterness. You will see many different salts on the store shelves but when it comes down to it all salt is from the sea whether it says it or not.
So when we are grilling how do we best use salt? At GrillBillies we believe when using our layering techniques it is better to make salt our first layer. To get a broader flavor profile we use seasoning that have a higher salt content. We get the important benefits of salt in addition to flavor from the other spices. Take chicken or turkey. When salt or a higher salt seasoning is applied two things will happen. Salt will pull some of the moisture out the skin while penetrating the meat. Salt drying the skin gives you a better chance of having crispy skin and it’s penetration into the meat aids in moisture retention.
When used in moderation with our grilling or smoking salt plays a big part in “upping your Q”.
To create those delicious morsels of crispy deep brown nuggets found on that perfectly cooked steak and brisket, you need the presence of sugar.
When meats are exposed to heat, they release sugar and amino acids.
On a quick cook such as steaks, usually the high cooking temperature will provide the elements essential to achieving those crispy nuggets, which are known as the Maillard Effect.
Here’s what needs to be done:
When cooking a steak, for instance, make sure the surface of the meat is absolutely dry.
If not, when the heat hits it you will be steaming the surface of the meat.
After drying the meat with a paper towel, you can sprinkle sugar on the surface and allow the steak to sit so the sugar can penetrate the surface.
At high heat, place the steak on the grill and keep flipping as necessary to achieve that golden brown surface.
On large cuts of meat, because they are cooked low and slow, we will add brown sugar or a layering of seasonings – one of which is high in sugar – to help achieve a nice bark.
Check out our recipes for smoked brisket and pulled pork.
This is a recipe that can be done on any smoker or gas grill. It is easy, simple and all those that eat it will surely be Wowed.
- 1-5 lb Roasting Chicken
- 1/4 Cup of Butcher Bird Booster
- 2 tablespoons of Head Country Championship Seasoning
- 2 tablespoons of Oakridge Secret Weapon
- Peach, apple or pecan wood chunks
- Inject the chicken with the bird booster thoroughly and evenly in the breast, thighs and legs.
- Liberally season the chicken with the above seasoning in order inside and out. Do not blend or mix, layer one on top of the other.
- Place the chicken in a half aluminum foil tin breast side down uncovered.
- Heat your grill or smoker up to 275 to 325 degrees.
- Place the pan on your grill or smoker.
- When using a smoker throw in a few pieces of wood chunks like pecan, apple or peach.
- On the gas grill use our GrillKickers, a Pellet Pot or chips.
- Bring the chicken up to 180 degrees internal temperature in the breast.
- There will be a lot of liquid in the pan.
- Remove the skin.
- Pull all the meat off the chicken and dredge it through the pan and place the meat in a separate bowl.
- Once completely pulled, take the skin and squeeze out the juices and seasoning over the meat and discard. You can add back some of the liquid as we do if desired.
Layering two or three seasonings that complement each other is a powerful, easy and inexpensive way to up the results of your barbecuing cooking. The process is to identify off the shelf seasoning that have some synergy when “layered” one on top of the other. By doing so you are sensitizing all areas of the tongue providing an outstanding and amazing flavor profile. One seasoning can only be one dimensional. Two can quadruple the flavor profile. Three matched perfectly can make for an outstanding flavor profile that will “up” your BBQ experience dramatically without changing anything else.
Take for example the “Holy Grail” combination listed in our seasoning combination page. Applying the Obie Cue’s Double Garlic Pepper provides a nice base coat on the meat. Topped with Smokin Guns Hot we get a slight “kick”. When finished off with the sweetness of Meadow Creek’s Black Pepper Rub we offset the heat and provide a nice top surface for carmelization. Once you have achieved a few recipes it will become easier to distinguish which seasonings work and which don’t. For example, we have found that the “fruity” seasonings such as Peach or Pecan Rubs can be “in your face sweet”. To cut this sweetness but still achieve the pleasant taste of these rubs we just layer a half part of Chipotle Rub which takes the edge off the sweetness and calms things down.
Layering your seasonings is a great way of taking some of the seasonings that are sitting unused in your cabinet or those that you may not be “shot in the head” about and getting some utility out of them.
“Difference between a great one and an OK one”
Hamburgers appear to “reign supreme” when it comes to outdoor cooking. We may eat 10 million hotdogs per year but the average American eats 150 hamburgers per year for a total of 50 billion per year. Everybody cooks them and therefore there doesn’t seem to be much forethought as to what they’re comprised of or how they
We tell customers that when it comes to brisket, butts, ribs etc. half the battle of getting good results is the quality of the meat. Low quality meat low quality results. It is the same with hamburger meat.
To understand the quality issue is to understand what you are buying. There is hamburger meat and there is ground beef. The USDA allows processors of hamburger meat to add fat. Fat is not allowed to be added to ground beef. With that being said, you may elect to purchase the ground beef over the hamburger meat but remember you still need a certain amount of fat to make a good burger.
We recommend the following, avoid either if you can. With either one you never know what part of the cow you are buying, how old it was, was the meat frozen etc. Remember, the USDA does not inspect meat unless it travels over State lines. Some States have State inspectors but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee high quality meat. You can be getting anything from the head to the a-s. Most butchers have scruples and will grind up better parts of the cow than a processor so they are your best friend when it comes to getting good quality meats.