Direct and indirect cooking
There are a lot of types of cooking that you can do on a BBQ. The first ones are direct and indirect. The indirect method means that the food is not directly over the flame. It’s placed where there is no flame under on the BBQ. The direct method is used to sear or grill food.
There is a big difference between cooking and grilling. Grilling is to expose the meat to a direct flame to caramelize the exterior of the meal without burning it. Cooking a meal gets the central part of the food to a temperature high enough to eliminate the possible bacteria and make it safe to eat, without burning the exterior.
Indirect cooking helps cooking, without grilling because it has already been seared. So direct cooking = searing and intense cooking and indirect cooking = internal cooking, slow cook (ribs, pulled pork and brisket). To cook indirectly on a gas BBQ, you start the side burners and put the food in the middle. The heat created on the side will uniformize in the BBQ and create a convection movement.
The air movement, which is equal on both sides, will create an air flow that will raise the temperature and allow to cook, without grilling. If you need to grill veggies, you can use the side burner and that won’t affect the meal cooking indirectly. For charcoal, it’s as easy to cook indirectly.
Sometimes, the BBQ come with ceramic tank separator to keep the charcoal on one side. This prevents the heat from traveling horizontally, which make it easier to control the temperature and the cooking zone. If the BBQ doesn’t come with a separator, a poker works well to move hot coal in the tank to keep a more defined space.
We don’t define cooking in time, but more in temperature. To get the perfect cooking, you need to get as close as possible to the internal temperature wanted depending on the cooking you want.
- 120 Fahrenheit degrees = Blue (beef)
- 130 Fahrenheit degrees = Rare (beef)
- 140 Fahrenheit degrees = Medium (beef and pork)
- 150 Fahrenheit degrees = Medium well (beef and pork)
- 160 Fahrenheit degrees = Well done (beef, pork, and poultry)
At 160 Fahrenheit degrees, there are no bacteria in the meat, so we need to reach that temperature to prevent salmonella poisoning. Meat like beef can be eaten less cooked because the bacteria only transmit through the butcher’s blade. When eating a steak, only the outside part can be contaminated.
As soon as it’s seared, it’s safe for consumption. That’s the reason why you can dry age the meat. The bacteria on the outside part interact with enzymes inside to break the fiber and tenderize it. Before selling it to you. the butcher trims out the first layer and when you sear it, all the bacteria will be gone. You can then eat it blue without a risk. That’s also the reason why you have to eat ground meat well done because the butcher’s machine touched every fiber of the meat and the outside of each piece can be contaminated.
Each piece, all the way through the middle, as to be 100% cooked. On the other hand, if you buy your own steak to grind it, you can eat your beefcake blue because you’ll be sure that the grain hasn’t been exposed to a contaminated blade. There is another way to cook blue beefcake, without grinding your own meat. You can cook it at 135 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 95 minutes.
Even if you don’t get an internal temperature of 160 degrees, the cooking time will get rid of the bacteria. The only thing is that you have to add liquid container so your meat doesn’t dry through the cooking.