By Johanna Hicks, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Family & Community Health Agent, Hopkins County
Texans love to grill. Hamburgers, rib-eyes, pork loin steaks, chicken breasts – these are only a sampling of what Texas are grilling this fall for football tailgates and other get-togethers. But are they grilling correctly? Proper techniques can lead to better grilling experiences.
Dr. Davey Griffin, meats specialist in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, provides several tips on how to grill like a Texan. Griffin says that the best results can be had by using a meat thermometer to cook cuts at the proper temperatures Regulating smoke to give meats a more flavorful eating experience is also important. So how do you do that?
- He suggests that rather than controlling the smoke from the top lid, use the air supply adjustment on the bottom portion of the grill. By doing this, you are allowing the air and soke a continuous flow that converts the entire cooking area.
- Another suggestion is to use wood chips when cooking. If you want more flavorful smoke, wood chips can be an excellent choice. He suggests putting the chips in a foil wrap, then punching a few holes. Place the pack on top of the charcoal and let it do its work. Some of the best barbeque comes when you have good, clear smoke. Your choice of wood chips may range from oak for beef to hickory or pecan for pork or poultry.
- Controlling the temperature is another key to great meat. To cook properly, a cooking thermometer can help gauge temperature of the meat during the cook. Here are some key points to remember:
- When grilling, take the temperature from the side in the very center of the meat. For pork, cook to an internal temperature of 145 degrees and let it rest for approximately 3 minutes.
- For beef cuts, the internal temperature should be 145 degrees.
- Hamburger patties should be cooked to an internal temperature of 10.
- All poultry should reach 165 degrees because they go into a chilling water system that leaves the product more likely for salmonella.
- Brisket should reach 165 degrees, then wrap with butcher paper to finish at 195-205 degrees.
When grilling large pieces of meat, give it time to rest after reaching the proper internal temperature. To do this, remove the meat from the grill and let it cool to 140-145 degrees. Griffin says that if you cut too soon, you will lose all of those juices inside and the meat will dry out. Resting lets the juices equilibrate and will result in more flavorful meat.
Saving money while grilling out is also a bonus. With popular choice retail meat prices more expensive due to demand, Griffin suggests being choosier when shopping for cuts. For example, flat iron steaks from the front shoulder of the beef can provide as good an eating experience as the typical rib-eye. The flat iron is the second most tender muscle on the carcass and costs approximately $6 per pound versus $16 per pound for a rib-eye. Pork loin chops, chicken breasts, sausage, and hamburger patties are other good choices.
Enjoy the cooler temperatures and enjoy grilling like a Texan!
Annual Christmas Joys Program
Seats are filling quickly for the 2021 Christmas Joys program, scheduled for Monday, November 8 at the Southwest Dairy Museum. The 1:30 p.m. session is full, but we still have 25 seats remaining for the 5:30 p.m. session. Attendees will receive a goody bag and a booklet of all the instructions, recipes, and ideas demonstrated by presenters. The Southwest Dairy Center will provide samplings of their cheeses and dips at the conclusion of the event. The cost of $5, payable at the door. We must have a name and phone number for each seat reserved. Please call 903-885-3443 to reserve a seat.
Faith is a fundamental factor in everything you do. — Emmitt Smith
Contact Johanna Hicks, B.S., M.Ed., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office, P.O. Box 518, 1200-B West Houston St, Sulphur Springs, TX, 75483; 903-885-3443; or [email protected]