So, what are you looking for in a perfectly smoked pork butt? Who has the answers? Is 100% grilling contentment attainable? We‘ve called upon the Dr. Phil of the grilling world, Kevin Kolman, to answer life's most compelling question, should we bring our meats to room temp before grilling? His answer, is ingeniously, thought provoking.
Every few weeks I trick Kevin Kolman, The Head Grill Master at Weber, into coming back on the show and it’s strictly out of self-centeredness. I want to be the best pitmaster I can be, I want my wife to fawn over me, and I will stop at nothing to consistently BBQ a crowd-pleasing slab of ribs. Kevin has decades of culinary grilling experience and he’s developed his remarkable craft by traveling the world over and learning from diverse cultures, their unique flavor palettes and, of course, their beer. He likes to stay hydrated folks.
This week Kevin will breakdown indirect grilling on a Weber Kettle grill and how the charcoal briquette “snake method” of grilling is precise and easy to do. This unconventional approach to briquette placement literally snakes through the bottom of your Kettle by forming a line that is two briquettes wide and as the briquettes that are lit become fully inflamed, they ignite the briquette they are touching in front of them, much like a domino effect. This creates a nice, even, low temperature cook for an extended amount of time.
Kevin will then turn his attention to Weber’s unique line of charcoal briquettes that, unlike their competitors, come in a weather tight, resealable, 20 Ib premium bag. These pillow shaped briquettes are made of all-natural hardwood, are sustainably harvested, and contain zero added chemicals. Kevin continues that these briquettes will perform in the toughest conditions and will provide steady high temps for up to 3 hours, guaranteed.
Kevin switches gears and targets marinades, seasonings and the pros and cons of bringing your meat to room temp. He clarifies that on a molecular level, salt and water are all that will penetrate meat. Marinades do nothing but sit on the surface and flavor the exterior. He furthers his argument by saying, if you add salt into your meats, yes, it will wick a bit of moisture out, but it will pull some flavor in with the salt. Plus, the salt will help tenderize your meat and the acidity of the marinade will work in conjunction to loosen it up. Then he tackles the room temperature debate and any myths surrounding it. Kevin states that meats that are cold, meats that are wet, absorb more smoke flavor. So, it doesn’t work to your advantage to try and flavor your meat when it is room temperature. Conversely, meat that is placed on a grill when cold is likely to lose up to 30 or 40 percent of its moisture. He notes that sous vide meats roughly retain 98 percent moisture, concluding room temperature meat will be more succulent and perhaps not have as much flavor. I guess the tradeoff is up to you.
Finally, Kevin addresses the importance of grilling your steaks with your grill lid on, how-to select the ideal Weber grill for your needs and why you should be counting your briquettes. For starters, Kevin resumes, that evenness is paramount when grilling and if you open the lid on your grill, oxygen will fuel your flame and cause it to breathe. This rapid influx of increased radiant heat tends to overcook the outside of a steak while undercooking the inside. Keeping the lid on controls the crust and caramelization and aids in avoiding a charred and burnt flavor. Likewise, counting your briquettes will advance your grilling game by forging a regular heat to each and every grilling adventure. Lastly, he runs through each Weber Kettle grill, their size and function, plus the Weber Spirit II Series and Genesis II Series grills and how to determine if you’re a charcoal or gas griller, a full blown neighborhood barbecuer, or the next Tuffy Stone.
Remember, outdoor grilling isn’t just a male pursuit. In America, men and women alike get great satisfaction out of watching flames dance between charcoal briquettes and rise above the grate of their grills. Grilling isn’t a hobby folks, it’s an obsession. And if your summer nights aren’t spent around a Weber grill with chilled beer and good friends, you’re doing it wrong. So, go buy a Weber and become a born again barbecuer, today.
Hugs, Handshakes and Happy Grilling!
Thanks for listening - Trav