BBQ beef recipes are big in Texas. All you have to do is drive through the state and look at all the steak houses and BBQ joints.
Beef gets BBQed around here in many different forms. You'll find brisket , fajitas, hamburgers, k-bobs,and ribs at the many fairs and festivals.Steaks of all kinds get grilled on any given day around the country (the world actually). Filet mignon , T-bone, and rib-eye are some of the better cuts.
For more detail about different cuts of meat, why not get it straight from the butcher himself? Visit John and Vickie to learn all about meat first hand. Besides learning something new, you might even save some money.
Grilling is the most popular way of cooking steaks. Mesquite wood is used most often (here in Texas) to grill with, because it is so plentiful. It creates a very hot fire compared to some other woods.
Of course, the old standby (charcoal briquettes) is never a bad idea for any of your BBQ beef recipes...
Don't make the mistake of thinking that the type of wood is not that big of a deal. I did that once (but only once).
I started a fire with some kind of wood (I don't even remember what kind....Ash, I think). I let it burn down and then started grilling my steaks.
I thought the smell of the smoke was not nearly as good as briquettes or mesquite. But, I still thought it can't make that much of a difference, and kept grilling.
I tried to not waste all that good beef. I even kept some until the next day (hoping it would somehow get better). I was wrong. Not only could my family not eat it....I couldn't even eat it.
I never made that mistake again. If you stick to the most popular woods (mesquite, oak, hickory, pecan, cherry and apple), you can't go wrong. There are other acceptable woods, but they must be hardwoods. You can experiment all you want, if you really want to.
Using your favorite wood will give your BBQ beef recipes a good flavor to start with. Many times steaks get a marinade to improve flavor and tenderness even more. Some folks, however, prefer only a little salt and pepper.
Another big range of taste has to do with "how long to cook it?" Some BBQ beef recipes will tell you to cook it until it is done. (Not very helpful). Steaks can be rare, medium or well done (with additional variations in between).
You can tell by looking at the center of the steak the degree of doneness. When you cut into it,
red center is rare
pink center is medium
grey center is well done
Cutting into the steak lets the juices out. To keep from cutting into it, though, there is another way to check for doneness. Simply check by touch and feel. After testing a lot of meat this way, you can become very skilled at knowing when it is cooked just right.
This is something you can do to give yourself a general guide for doneness.
Gently push on your cheek with your finger. This is what rare meat feels like.
Push gently on the tip of your nose..... Medium.
Now, gently push on your forehead..... Well done. Simple right?
Well.....it works for me.
BBQ beef recipes are just as popular using slow low heat smoking. Brisket, ribs, and roasts are cuts that lend themselves nicely to smoking. They are bigger, tougher, and fattier than steak. Slow smoking allows the meat to become tender while much of the fat melts away.
Quite often, rubs are used on these big pieces of meat. Mops and BBQ sauces are also common during the slow cooking time. Depending on the size of the cuts, cooking times vary from 4 hrs to 24 hrs.
Mops are used to keep the meat from becoming too dry. One thing that I have done is to place a pan of liquid (water, beer, etc) under the meat during smoking. This does a good job of putting moisture into the air through evaporation.
For those big pieces of meat, you can look at it, cut into it, or poke at it. But really, the best thing to do is to use a thermometer. A reading of 160 degrees in the middle of the thickest part (not next to a bone) will indicate meat cooked medium.
Meat will actually continue to cook once it is removed from the heat. The internal temperature will rise an additional 5 to 15 degrees. Not so much with slow smoking as grilling at higher temperatures, though.
Most BBQ beef recipes don't tell you anything about this. A lot of recipes will just list ingredients for you, assuming that you know all about the cooking techniques. A place where you can find information on cooking techniques, how to choose steaks, and some great grilling tips, is from Darrin at The Meat Source . He's got a lot of good information worth checking out.
But... a carryover cooking period (or rest period) of 5 to 15 minutes takes place if the meat is allowed to sit before carving. The center of the meat contracts and draws juices to the middle while cooking.
If allowed to rest, the muscle fibers will relax as the meat starts to cool. This allows the juices to move back to the outer edges of the meat where it improves juiciness and flavor.
In the area of Texas, other beef dishes are also common, like fajitas, barbacoa, and carne asada. Beef is also dried into jerky. And let's not forget the good ole backyard hamburgers on the grill.
One thing to keep in mind when you are considering BBQ beef recipes of any kind......get fresh quality meat. If taste is number one, this should be two (too).
If you have always bought your meat at a super market, please try a meat market. Butcher shops that bring in fresh meat and cut it to your order are the best (unless you have your own beef to butcher). There is a very big difference in the taste. This is one thing that will improve your BBQ beef recipes. Supermarket meat can not compare.
Happy cooking..............and go ahead, get another drink.