Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Barbecue Secret Number 9 - The Spritz Bottle
Applying a liquid to the surface of meat while it is being barbecued is a long held barbecue cooking practice. Originally, sticks with cloth attached to the ends were dipped into a liquid of salt, pepper, and vinegar or water, and lard or butter. The mop was then "dabbed" on the meat to transfer the liquid. This method of applying moisture to the surface of the meat is called mopping and it's still a common practice. Around 1706, some English colonists in Jamaica cooked a barbecued hog and mopped it with Virginia pepper and Madeira wine. The mop was made using a fox's tail tied to the end of a stick (Barbecue - The Story of an American Institution by Robert F. Moss). Now, that's one barbecue I'm glad I missed.
In our times, we don't have to resort to fox tails, thank goodness. We have food safe brushes made of various food safe and clean materials such as silicon and plastic. We also have the spray bottle. That's my tool of choice for adding moisture to the outside of barbecue while it's cooking.
Barbecue Secret Number 9 - Use a food safe spray bottle to spritz barbecue as it's cooking.
If you grill, you know that a spray bottle filled with water is a handy device to have around to deal with flare ups. When a flare up begins just give it a little spray from the bottle and everything is back under control. However, a spray bottle can also be a great tool for cooking barbecue.
For example, a spray bottle filled with either bottled water or a 50/50 mix of apple juice and water used to spritz barbecue every 30 minutes or so can improve the flavor, texture and appearance of your barbecue. The cool liquid in the bottle cools the outside surface of the meat which helps to prevent it from drying out and becoming stringy. It also helps with the color. Because the surface is slightly cooled by the liquid being spritzed on it, any sugars in the rub are also cooled down which helps to prevent the rub from turning black.
For pork, try a spritz of a 50/50 mix of bottled water and apple juice. For chicken, try pineapple juice. For beef, try a 50/50 mix of bottled water and Worcestershire sauce.
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