Smoking hot barbecues? Unleash the beast and take things up a notch!
ALL IN THE BRINE!
Using a brine with your meat takes everything to a whole new level, it adds an unbelievable amount of flavour to something that is already very cool, taking it to great new heights. Once you've had a go at this it will be hard for you to turn back!
By making a brine and submerging your chosen meat inside it for a day or several you create an explosion of flavour. As the meat sits in the brine it soaks up all of that extra flavour in the solution so that when you come around to cooking it you have completely new layers of flavour running right the way through your meat. It also tenderises the meat so not only do you end up with the tastiest but you end up with the juiciest steak, chicken leg, pork chop or whatever you have decided to dunk inside the brine.
A brine is just a simple salt and water solution. The basic ratio is 16 parts water to 1 part salt, but you can play with this to hit your preferred taste factor. By adding sugar to the mix we can take the flavour to an even further level. By roughly adding the same amount of sugar as salt you will find a beautiful balance of sweet against salty, again you can play with this for your perfect balance, I like mine a little on the sweeter side.
This isn't the end though, now the best bit starts. Adding flavours to your sweet and salty solution, your favourite herbs and spices, anything you want to have a piece of when you take a bite into that juicy. Using dry ingredients works the best, so dried herbs, dried ground spices, whole spices like mustard, cumin, star anise, cinnamon, fennel, coriander, chilli. Rather than putting whole fresh onion and garlic in you can buy powdered garlic or garlic salt and powdered onion.
Now you have chosen everything you want to add to the brine it is important to throw it all in a pan and boil it. This will dissolve the salt and sugar, infuse the herbs and spices and also sterilise the solution making it 100% sterile and safe for your meat to chill in.
How long you keep the meat in the brine is up to you, I'll give you an example, a chicken breast 6 hours to 1 day should be fine, a whole Lamb Shoulder up to 3 - 4 days.
Let the solution cool down completely before chucking in the meat and once you have it in there it will have a tendency to float to either try to way it down or make sure you turn it once or twice each day so all sides of the meat get some action.
CLIMB OUT OF THE BRINE!
Now your meat has been sitting in it's brine for the chosen amount of time it is time to pull them out and finish the work the brine has started for you. This all depends on what you want as your end result, you can happily just pat the meat dry and throw it straight onto the barbecue and reap the rewards of the brine alone. I like to play a bit more though, I like to make a rub with a mixture of spices, something towards to flavours of a Cajun or Creole blend - Pimento, Paprika, Dried Thyme, Garlic, Cumin, Black Pepper, Onion, Oregano - mix these together in a bowl, pat the meat dry and then rub this all over hitting every nook and cranny.
That's it, now for some fire action on the grill!!!
COOKING ON FIRE!
FIRE UP THE PIT!
As soon as that BBQ is ready to roll, throw on your beautifully brined and spiced joints or portions of meat. Listen to the crackle of the meat against the heat from the hot coals or flames below and smell that amazing aroma of the usual barbecuing meat but with added layers of all of the flavours that it has soaked up inside that brine and the finishing touch of the outer crust of herbs and spices.
I like to go big and cook big old joints of meat like whole Lamb Shoulders and Beef Briskets, if you want to do this too then leave your meat on the smoking hot barbecue until you have a beautiful charred spiced crust around the outside. If you have a huge barbecue with a lid you can close down over the meat then great, because these big joints need some low and slow action after that aggressive first charring. Once the meat has charred around the outside the temperature of the barbecue will be dropping to a good level, good for you to turn it into a low and slow pit boy oven. Close her up, sit back with a beer for a few hours, possibly tendering the heat every now and then to keep it going, and wait for the best barbecued meat of your life!!!
If you don't have a big old barbecue like this then don't worry, you are not left out. After the meat has charred up nicely on the barbecue it is time to throw it inside your regular kitchen oven for a few hours, low and slow. You can sit back with a beer and also wait for the tastiest barbecued meat of your entire life!!!
HOLD UP! If you are cooking smaller cuts of meat rather than the big old joints a deep south pit boy would be cooking up then you are in luck. You won't be waiting so long, you can throw your steaks, chicken legs, chicken breast, pork steaks straight on that smoking hot barbecue, char them up and reap the rewards within a matter of minutes rather than hours. Grab an ice cold beer, sit back and cut into the juiciest most flavoursome piece of meat you have ever set your eyes on!