With decades of experience under his apron, it’s fairly safe to say that Townsville local Shane Ryland knows a thing or two about how to BBQ like a pro. Each issue, Shane lets us in on his barbeque obsession.
There aren’t many things better than spending your Sunday outside working on a recipe that can take anywhere between six and 16 hours to cook.
The low and slow movement is certainly taking off here in Townsville, so if you are looking to explore the tasty world of BBQing and cooking the most succulent meats to enjoy the way they were meant to be eaten, you’ve come to the right place – as I have put a few tips together for you to help see you on your way.
Don’t let cooking with fire intimidate you…
BBQ is all about confidence!
Temperature: One of the most common misconceptions for BBQ beginners is that it is the same as ‘grilling’, but that is not the case. Grilling uses high and direct heat whereas BBQing calls for longer cook times with indirect, low and consistent heat. A couple of top tips:
• Be sure to keep temperatures even and consistent throughout the cook.
• Know what internal meat ‘done’ temperatures work best for the cut of meat you’ve chosen to avoid a tough or dry finished product.
• Ensure you have accurate and sturdy temperature monitoring equipment on hand.
Cooker: Put simply, having a well-made cooker or smoker (aka ‘pit’) is essential. You want something that uses either charcoal or wood as the heat source; this allows that indirect low and slow heat I was talking about earlier. When cooking with a pit, be sure to invest in a quality product. Good design will ensure correct airflow so as to avoid unwanted
temperature spikes. Popular styles of cooker include kettle, offset and bullet or egg style smokers – and we carry all of these, with well known brands such as Hark and of course, Weber.
Fire: Don’t let fire intimidate you – BBQ is all about confidence! As opposed to grilling with gas, low and slow uses charcoal or wood (or both) as the heat source. Many pitmasters will use charcoal briquettes or natural lump coals. These take a little while to get started, so it is recommended to use a starter torch or a charcoal chimney to get on the go.
Many cooks will also add wood chunks for added flavour and aroma. Popular choices are apple, hickory, mesquite or pecan, and will often depend on the meat being cooked (be sure to come and see us as we carry a huge range of charcoal and wood lump products). Many also forego the charcoal lumps completely and go straight to wood as the source. This is more common with those utilising offset smokers and will often depend on availability of product… seasoned ironbark is a big favourite in Australia, as it is available in abundance.
Meat: There are so many dishes you can make with BBQ, but the four most popular would have to be pulled pork, chicken, ribs and brisket. I would recommend three things straight up:
1. Do your research! Know the required internal temperature for your chosen meat product and know from where on the animal it is cut. The internet is full of info from seasoned pitmasters on this very topic.
2. Use secondary (cheaper) cuts of meat like blade, cheeks, chunks, chicken wings and even sausages when you are first starting out. This will help you get to know your smoker and fine tune your processes, without turning a beautiful (expensive) brisket into a sneaker!
3. Rest. Like you would do with a good steak, never forget to rest your meat – no matter the cut. This allows the fibres to relax, reabsorbing the juices, flavour and moisture.
That just about covers the basics for you, but the world of BBQ is a big one, so in all honesty, we have barely scratched the surface!
The most important tip I can really give you if you are looking to venture forth in to the low and slow movement is to have fun. Enjoy finding your favourite cuts, injections and rubs, embrace the great outdoors and relish in cooking for your family and friends.
And finally, don’t forget that the team and I at Ryland’s Barbecue Obsession are always here to help and answer any questions you may have.
Happy cooking, Pitmasters!
We sell barbeques of all descriptions. Weber is our premium brand and we are Townsville’s only ‘specialist’ dealer. Smokers have been very popular over the last few years and we have a range of gas, wood and electric models. Our knowledge of the ‘backyard barbie’ is second to none, with over 40 years experience. Let us help you choose one.
180 Charters Towers Rd, Hermit Park | 07 4773 1133 | bbqtownsville.com.au