When it comes to BBQ, everyone has their own ideas about what the right way to do it. Some people feel the only way to truly BBQ is over charcoal while others are committed to grilling with gas. Some believe the only meat worthy of being BBQ’d are ribs, while others will BBQ anything that seems like it would be tasty with sauce. There is one school of thought that the quality of the end product is all about the smoke while others put their faith in using the perfect cut of meat. No matter where you stand in the BBQ debate, everyone seems to agree that May means BBQ and it’s time to fire up the grills and light the smokers. To help you celebrate National BBQ Month, here are some tips, tricks, and recipes tailor made for use with fresh Arizona meat and produce.
- When grocery shopping for grilling meat, get the rest of your groceries first and then visit the meat cooler and butcher window last. Ask that all meat be placed in plastic bags to keep it separate from other foods.
- Poultry and ground meat that won’t be used within 2 days should be frozen. Any other meat can be frozen within 5 days.
- The safest way to thaw frozen meat is in the refrigerator. If you need something quicker, you can use the microwave but only if the meat is going straight from the microwave to the grill.
- You can use the microwave to pre-cook your meat and reduce your grilling time, but the same thing applies, the meat needs to go directly from the microwave to the grill.
- Smoking meat is safe. The temperature of the smoker must be kept between 250° and 300° F and the internal temperature of the meat must meet the minimum recommendations.
- Pit cooking is also safe but can take as much as 12 hours to cook meat to a safe temperature. Use of a meat thermometer is recommended to ensure meat is safe to eat.
In order to ensure your meat is safe to eat, it needs to be cooked to a specific recommended minimum internal temperature. The USDA recommends the following internal meat temperatures.
- Whole Poultry – 165° F
- Poultry Breasts – 165° F
- Ground Poultry – 165° F
- Ground Meat – 160° F
- Beef, Pork, Lamb, and Veal – 145° F
- Cold Smoking – Although the recommended temperature for smoking is between 250° and 300° F, cold smoking techniques which use an average temperature of 70° to 100° F can be used as long as the final cooking is completed in the oven. The low temperature gives the meat a smoking flavor without actually cooking it.
Start with fresh flavorful Arizona meat and these recipes from the National Barbecue Association to create a meal fit for celebrating National BBQ Month.
Barbecue Recipes from Fill Your Plate:
- BBQ Pork Salad with Summer Fruits and Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
- BBQ Pork Skillet
- Basque Barbecue Leg of Lamb
- Joe’s Real BBQ Celebrates Free Barbecue Day May 2nd 2012 (fillyourplate.org)
- Top 5 Ways to Grill a Whole Chicken (williams-sonoma.com)
- Memorial Day Grilling: Meat Prices Up or Down (fillyourplate.org)