Photo by @@cory_in_the_kitchen - Bacon Brisket
There is a lot to learn in order to master the art of barbecue. If you are barbecuing for the first time, a good place to start is conquering low and slow cooking. Beef brisket, pulled pork/pork shoulder, pork ribs, beef ribs, and more are cooked using low and slow technique to make them all a reality!
What is low and slow cooking in the BBQ World?
Low and slow cooking starts with a low cooking temperature and a long cooking time. You can choose cheap and tough cuts of meat, and turn them into the most tender and juiciest things you have ever eaten.
Whenever you are striving for the perfect texture, low and slow cooking is the best solution for you! This process slowly breaks down the collagen in the meat and converts it into gelatin, giving it amazing juiciness and a wonderful silky texture.
Smoking helps you cook your meat without it burning or drying out during cooking, and preserves the moisture and natural oil in the meat. Smoking can also add some flavors and depth to the meat itself.
How does the magic low and slow processes work?
There is no particular magic in low and slow cooking method, but it is all about the science of cooking. Here is how it works: the meat is cooked at a temperature between 200 °F - and 250 °F. This cooks the meat slowly, allowing the connective tissue to cook and break down at about 160 °F. When the internal temperature of the meat reaches 160 °F, the collagen in the connective tissue slowly breaks down over a period of hours, and when it's done, it forms all that gelatin that makes your meat juicy.
If you cook it too hot or over a direct heat source, the meat will be cooked too quickly beyond that temperature and the connective tissue will not be able to break down, resulting in tough meat! This is why monitoring the target temperature is so important. Make sure the temperature is low and not too high so that the collagen is completely broken down into good gelatin. Always be aware of the combination of temperature and time you are using!
What do you need to cook with low and slow method?
It begins by cooking the meat over indirect heat in an offset smoker, electric smoker, gas grill, or charcoal grill. If you are using wood or charcoal in your smoker or grill, you should place it on one side and the meat on the other so that it does not come into immediate contact with the fire. If you maintain a temperature of 200 °F - 250 °F in the smoker, your meat will be cooked slowly from the outside surface inward to cook the inside.
Different flavors can also be achieved by your choice of wood types! Find out which type of wood is perfect for your smoking style!
The MeatStick to the rescue!
Since low and slow cooking is all about the right temperature, we all know The MeatStick is the expert on that. Getting the meat to the perfect internal temperature is the hardest part of low and slow cooking, but you do not have to worry when you have a digital thermometer from The MeatStick near you!