“Barbecue is a method and apparatus for cooking food. The article contains Barbecue BBQ Techniques: Smoking, Baking, Braising”
Barbecue is a method and apparatus for cooking food (generally meat). In the United States, to grill is to cook meat relatively quickly using the direct heat imparted by a charcoal or propane fire, while barbecue is a much slower method utilizing the indirect heat imparted by the smoke of a wood-fueled fire (and tended to over an extended period of several hours).
While there is a vast degree of variation and overlap in terminology and method surrounding this form of cooking, the generally accepted difference between barbecue and grilling is in the cooking time and the type of heat used: grilling is generally done “hot and fast” over direct heat from low-smoke fuels (with the flame contacting the meat itself), while barbecuing is usually done “low and slow” over indirect heat from high-smoke fuels (with the flame not contacting the meat directly).
The term as a noun can refer to the meat or to the cooking apparatus itself (the “barbecue grill” or simply “barbecue”). The term as an adjective can refer to foods cooked by this method. The term is also used as a verb for the act of cooking food in this manner. Barbecue is usually done in an outdoor environment by cooking and smoking the meat over wood or charcoal. Restaurant barbecue may be cooked in large brick or metal ovens specially designed for that purpose. Barbecue has numerous regional variations in many parts of the world.
Chicken, pork and corn cooked in a barbecue smoker
Smoking is the process of flavoring, cooking, or preserving food by exposing it to the smoke from burning or smoldering plant materials, most often wood. Meats and fish are the most common smoked foods, though cheeses, vegetables, and ingredients used to make beverages such as beer, smoked beer, and lapsang souchong tea are also smoked.
In Europe, alder is the traditional smoking wood, but oak is more often used now, and beech to a lesser extent. In North America, hickory, mesquite, oak, pecan, alder, maple, and fruit-tree woods, such as apple, cherry, and plum, are commonly used for smoking. Other fuels besides wood can also be employed, sometimes with the addition of flavoring ingredients. Chinese tea-smoking uses a mixture of uncooked rice, sugar, and tea, heated at the base of a wok. Some North American ham and bacon makers smoke their products over burning corncobs. Peat is burned to dry and smoke the barley malt used to make whisky and some beers. In New Zealand, sawdust from the native manuka (tea tree) is commonly used for hot smoking fish. In Iceland, dried sheep dung is used to cold-smoke fish, lamb, mutton, and whale.
Historically, farms in the Western world included a small building termed the smokehouse, where meats could be smoked and stored. This was generally well-separated from other buildings both because of the fire danger and because of the smoke emanations.
The masonry oven is similar to a smoke pit in that it allows for an open flame, but cooks much faster, and uses convection to cook. Barbecue-baking can also be done in traditional stove-ovens. It can be used to cook not only meats, but breads and other starches, and even various casseroles and desserts. It uses both direct and indirect heat to surround the food with hot air to cook, and can be basted much the same as grilled foods.
It is possible to braise meats and vegetables in a pot on top of a grill. A gas or electric charbroil grill would be the best choices for what is known as barbecue-braising, or combining dry heat charbroil-grilling directly on a ribbed surface and braising in a broth-filled pot for moist heat. To braise, put a pot on top of the grill, cover it, and let it simmer for a few hours. There are two advantages to barbecue-braising: the first is that this method now allows for browning the meat directly on the grill before the braising, and the second is that it also allows for glazing the meat with sauce and finishing it directly over the fire after the braising, effectively cooking the meat three times, which results in a soft textured product that falls right off the bone. This method of barbecue has a varying duration (depending on whether a slow cooker or pressure cooker is used), and is generally slower than regular grilling or baking, but faster than pit-smoking.
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