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The Best BBQ Cooking Methods

Updated on March 20, 2011

Most BBQ Cooking Methods Call For Intense Heat

 When it comes to barbecuing, everyone has their own technique and favorite BBQ cooking methods. Whether your particular BBQ cooking methods call for cooking it hot and fast or long and slow, it almost always tastes great (unless you burn it)! One of the main factors that determines the flavor of barbecued foods are the BBQ cooking methods utilized, and they vary widely from region to region and country to country.

Wood fueled barbecues add a whole different dimension to the flavor of the meat. The best type of wood to grill with is a hardwood like apple, oak, cherry, maple or hickory. While there are many other types of wood that can add flavor to your food, there are also kinds that you will want to avoid. One of these types is conifer wood that actually contains tar and resin that will impart a chemical flavor that is very undesirable. If you do happen to use this type of wood, let it burn hot for a while so that the tar and resin is burned off before you cook your food.

One of the most common styles of charcoal barbecues.
One of the most common styles of charcoal barbecues.

Different Hardwoods For Different BBQ Cooking Methods

 The various types of hardwood burn at different heat rates, so you'll want to control the rate of burn with careful and strategic venting. Quite often charcoal is combined with wood in order to enhance the smoke and flavor and to provide more consistent heat.

Barbecuing with charcoal is similar in heat to grilling over wood, however it does not impart the rich flavor that wood does. Charcoal is also usually cheaper than hardwood, making it ideal for home use.

Options for charcoal include processed briquettes or lump charcoal. Lump charcoal is simply chunks of wood that has been burned while briquettes have been ground up and shaped. Many people prefer lump charcoal as it does not contain artificial binders like those used to shape briquettes. It is also said to burn hotter and responds quickly to changes in airflow. It is best to cook with charcoal outdoors as it can produce some pretty noxious fumes.

A propane barbecue with storage underneath.
A propane barbecue with storage underneath.

BBQ Cooking Methods Have Progressed With Gas & Electric Units

 It is best to avoid lighting charcoal with the use of lighter fluids as they can impart a chemical flavor to your food. A simple charcoal chimney and a few sheets of newspaper allow you to quickly heat the coals and will have you grilling in no time! You can even heat more coal while you're still cooking. Allow the charcoal to ash over then spread them evenly around the pit of the barbecue. For indirect heat, pile the coals on just one side and cook your meat on the other side.

Despite the lower cost of charcoal grills, many people prefer to do their barbecuing on a propane, gas or electric grill.

Propane barbecues are extremely easy to light, especially since most models have built in igniters. The knob controlled propane valves make it simple to control the heat, producing consistently grilled food every time. Some people insist that gas grills don't add flavor to the meat, while others argue that they only want to taste the meat, not charcoal or wood. One advantage of a gas grill is that it comes equipped with a thermometer, which further simplifies the bbq cooking method.

Smoking meat adds a wonderful, tasty flavor!
Smoking meat adds a wonderful, tasty flavor!

BBQ Cooking Methods: Smoking, Grilling, Searing...

It's possible to add smoke flavor to food cooked on a gas or electric barbecue by using aluminum pouches of damp wood chips. Simply perforate the aluminum pouch to allow the smoke to circulate the grill. It can take some practice to get the wood chips smoking properly without them catching on fire, so don't be afraid to purchase a metal smoker box that you can place inside your barbecue.

Electric and gas barbecues can be more expensive than the charcoal variety, but they are much easier to clean and do not produce mountains of ashes that have to be disposed of.
Whether you're grilling vegetables, perfect grilled chicken or a great cut of beef, just a few BBQ accessories will make the cooking process easier. You'll need barbecue tools such as utensil sets, a barbecue lighter if your grill doesn't have one built in, a meat thermometer for food safety and a BBQ cover to keep your grill clean. So get outside and start grilling some delicious food!

Helpful Tips On How To BBQ!

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    • w_elizabeth profile image

      w_elizabeth 7 years ago

      I like this hub. It's very helpful especially for those who love grilled foods.