2-Zone Cooking – The process of dividing the cooking surface into a hot direct heat zone and a cooler indirect heat zone.
3-2-1 Ribs – A method for cooking spare ribs with three hours in smoke, two hours wrapped in foil, and 1 hour back in the smoke. Produces “fall off the bone” ribs.
ABT – Atomic Buffalo Turds. These are jalapeno peppers stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped with bacon and smoked.
Armadillo Eggs – A jalapeno peppers stuffed with cream cheese and other ingredients covered in a thick layer of sausage or beef and smoked so they come out looking like large brown eggs.
Ash Tool – A metal barbeque accessory used to stir or scrape out ashes from the lower vent of a grill.
Banking Coals – A process of pushing the coals off to one side.
Barbeque – Barbeque is large pieces of meat cooked slowly at low temperatures, over some sort of wood or other fuel with some sort of smoke. It is also the method of cooking which produces the aforementioned meat. Note that grilling is not barbecuing. Meat that has been grilled is not barbeque!
Bark – A brown crunchy crust that forms on some foods during the cooking process caused by seasonings from the rub.
BBQ Guru – A device with a fan and a thermocouple probe that can be set for a specific temperature and it will control air flow to charcoal or fire and thereby regulate the temperature of the cooker.
BDS – Big Drum Smoker, a drum barrel used as a smoker, usually in the upright position.
Bear Claws – A claw-like device for shredding meat, usually for making pulled pork or beef. Makes the process of shredding the meat easier.
Beer Can Chicken – A method of roasting a chicken in which a beer or soda can is inserted into the rear cavity of a chicken. Then placed on the cooking surface so that the can and chicken are upright. The can is filled with liquid (usually beer or soda), herbs and spices. The theory is that the liquid will keep the chicken moist and the liquid, herbs and spices will flavor the chicken.
BGE – Big Green Egg, a popular kamado cooker. Also called an egg. Those who cook on and love this device are commonly called eggheads.
Brine – A solution of water and salt used to improve the flavor, texture, and moisture content of lean cuts of meat. The meat is typically soaked in this solution for a period of time ranging from a few hours to up to two days. Via osmosis, the salt is introduced into the muscle fibers where the salt denatures the proteins in the meat fibers. Once the proteins are denatured, they can retain more moisture in the meat. Brines may also contain sugar and various herbs and spices so as to introduce flavor into the meat. Once the salinity of the solution reaches equilibrium with the salinity of the fluid in the meat, any molecules of flavoring substances are then free to move back and forth between the meat and the solution. If you would like to try brining, be sure to follow the instructions carefully. Do not place a raw piece of meat into a warm brine. The brine must be completely chilled before the meat is introduced so as to prevent bacteria growth. Also, be aware that the salt needs to be weighed, not measured by volume. A cup of table salt and a cup of kosher salt are not equal in weight. Table salt weighs approximately 10 ounces per cup and kosher salt weighs approximately 5 to 8 ounces per cup depending on the brand. So, if a brine recipe calls for a cup of table salt and you cannot weigh the salt, you can approximate the correct amount of salt by using 2 cups of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt (7.7 ounces per cup) or 1.5 cups of Morton Kosher Salt (5.5 ounces per cup).
Burnt Ends – Bite sized cubes, often from the fattier point of a brisket.
Burping – The process of slowly opening a kamado/egg smoker a tiny bit, then closing it, then opening it before you open it all the way.
CAB – Certified Angus Beef
CBJ – Certified Barbeque Judge
Charcoal Basket – A basket used in smokers that hold your choice of fuel to burn (charcoal, lump, wood) during your cook. It helps to throughly burn all fuel while allowing air to circulate under and all around the fuel source. Used inside the firebox.
Chimney Starter – A device used to get charcoal lit and ready for the grill or smoker quickly.
Chub – Usually a loaf or large portion of bologna.
Cooking Chamber – The enclosed area where the food is cooked. On some smokers the cooking chamber is separated from the firebox.
Drip Pan – A foil or metal pan placed under food to catch drippings and prevent flare-ups, regularly used when grilling indirectly.
Fat Cap – This is the thick layer of fat on top of a slab of meat that lies between the meat and the skin.
Firebox – The chamber of a cooker that holds the fuel and fire. On some smokers, such as offset smokers, the firebox is separated from the cooking chamber, where the food goes.
Glaze – A shiny coating. Glazes get their sheen from sugar. Some sauces are also glazes.
Grill – A grill is a cooker where the food sits above the flame, directly exposed to the heat. Hibachis and Weber Kettles are good examples of grills. Some grills can reach more than 600°F. They can usually be set up with the heat to one side so they can cook both with direct and indirect heat.
Grilling – A form of barbecue where the food is usually cooked with direct heat directly over flame or another radiant heat source. Grilling is usually hot and fast.
Hot ‘n’ Fast – Cooking over direct heat, usually an open flame, at temperatures usually over 350°F. Hot ‘n’ fast is great for browning the meat. Cooking at these temps requires you to turn the meat often so it will notThe opposite of low ‘n’ slow.
Indirect Cooking – A method of cooking where the food is not directly over the heat source so it can roast more slowly with convection flow of hot air. Many smokers use indirect heating. The opposite of grilling.
Kamado, Egg or Ceramic Cookers – These egg-shaped devices usually have thick walls with good insulation and are very efficient. With little fuel they can achieve very high air temps.
KCBS – Kansas City Barbeque Society. The world’s largest association of barbecue lovers with about 20,000 members. KCBS wrote the rules for and sanctions hundreds of competition around the world.
Marinade – A liquid to soak the meat in. Similar to a brine, but with much less salt and more acid and oil.
Maverick – A digital thermometer with two probes, a transmitter, and a receiver that allows the pitmaster to abandon his pit and watch the football game while monitoring the pit temp and the meat temp. Made by Maverick Housewares. See my review.
Mop Sauce – A thin sauce brushed on the meat while it is cooking, especially on an old-fashioned direct heat pit. It keeps the surface cool and adds flavor. The classic mop is vinegar based with black pepper, red pepper flakes, and hot sauce. Modern variations of mops use beer, apple juice, and even soft drinks like Dr. Pepper.
Mutton – A Kentucky tradition! Meat from sheep or goat older than one year.
Offset Smoker – A very popular smoker design that has two sealed boxes or tubes connected on one side. One is for a charcoal or wood fire (the firebox), and the heat and smoke flows into the other, (cooking chamber) which is offset by being a little higher. The smoke moves through the chamber in order to get to the chimney which is on the side opposite the firebox. Some offset fireboxes can be used as a grill, either by placing a grate in the firebox, or by putting coals in the cooking chamber.
PBC – Pit Barrel Cooker
Pellet Smokers – A cooking device that is best suited for smoking that burns sawdust that has been compressed into pellets, without glues and binders. They are remarkably user-friendly because the better models have precise digital controls.
Pulled Pork – Pork from the shoulder that is cooked at a low temperature for a long time until the meat reaches an internal temperature around 200 degrees. This cooking process converts the collagen in the meat to gelatin, resulting in tender, moist, fall-apart meat. The meat is typical “pulled”, or shredded.
Reverse Sear – A cooking technique that starts by cooking meat at a low but temperature in order to gently and evenly raise the temp of the inside of the meat. When the interior is about 10°F below the desired temp, the meat is then seared over high heat to darken the outside and enhance flavors just before removing it from the cooker. The method, when properly applied, produces meats whose interior is more uniformly cooked than if the high heat is applied at the beginning, with less shrinkage, more juice, and more tenderness.
Rub – A spice and/or herb mix that is used to flavor the meat. Typical southern barbecue spice mixes have paprika, salt, sugar, garlic, black pepper, and chili pepper in varying amounts. Some rubs are applied thick, some thin, some overnight, some just before cooking.
Smoke Ring – A bright pink ribbon of meat just below the surface that is usually about 1/8 to 1/4″ thick. It turns pink when fluids in the meat contact compounds in the combustion gases of the smoker. Propane and charcoal cookers with wood logs/chips/chunks/pellets and a water pan are especially good at producing a smoke ring. Of course, log and wood burning cookers do smoke rings well. Electric smokers don’t make smoke rings.
Smoker – A cooker that generates smoke and allows the meat to cook with indirect heat.
Smoking – Smoking is a way to cook, flavor, or preserve food by exposing it to smoke, usually from wood or charcoal.
- Cold smoking, usually done at temperatures under 140°F. The food, often cheese, fish, or sausage, is heavily infused with smoke flavor, but it is not cooked by heat. Most commercial smoked fishes and cheeses are cold smoked. Cold smoking cheese at home is relatively safe, but cold smoking meats at home is dangerous because the temperature is ideal for growth of pathogenic microbes, especially the botulism bacterium, and, although smoke has preservative properties, unless done properly cold smoking can produce food that is dangerous. For this reason cold smoked meats are usually cured with precise amounts of salt and/or other preservatives. Cold smoking of meats should be left to professionals and not attempted at home. People can die if you do it wrong.
- Hot smoking is usually done at temperatures higher than 130°F. At this temp, microbes are being killed, but it can take two hours or more to pasteurize foods at 130°F, much less time is needed at higher temps.
- Smoking or Southern Barbeque is usually done in the vicinity of 200°F to 250°F, at most under 300°F. The food is cooked by the heat, and when it is finished it is free of harmful living microbes. At these temperatures not much shrinkage occurs. Smoking is relatively easy to do on backyard smokers and barbecue equipment. Most of the best barbecue ribs, pulled pork, and brisket are cooked in this temperature range.
Spatchcock – The process to butterfly a chicken and then cook. You can spatchcock by simply cutting along the backbone and smashing the bird flat, but the best method is to cut out the backbone. Some chefs also remove the keel bone from between the breasts to make it lie flatter, some run a skewer through the thighs to keep the drumsticks from flopping around and fold the wings under for the same reason. Spatchcocked game hens with simple seasonings can cook in as little as 20 minutes and taste knee buckling when pressed between to cast iron griddles or frying pans on a hot grill.
Stall – When cooking a large cut of meat low and slow, evaporation cools the meat. When the meat hits about 150-165°F or so, it can often stall and not budge for hours until the surface dries up and form a crust. Actual stall temp may vary depending on your cooker or the humidity in the cooker. Pitmasters often break the stall by cooking at higher temps or by wrapping the meat in foil so the evaporation is slowed and the meat can continue cooking.
Stick Burner – A smoker that is designed for burning logs.
Tel-Tru – World-Class manufacturer of bimetal thermometers, pressure gauges, and transmitters. They make high quality thermometers for measuring the temperature of your cooker.
Texas Crutch – A technique for wrapping meat in foil to lightly steam the meat, tenderize it, and speed its cooking.
Thermapen – State of the art, highly accurate, instant read digital thermometer.
Tri-Tip – Cut of beef from the sirloin. It is a triangular-shaped cut at the tip of the sirloin and is surrounded by the remainder of the sirloin, and the round and flank. It can be used as a roast or it can be cut into steaks. Popular out West.
Tuning – The process of modifying a cooker for optimum and even heat and smoke distribution.
UDS – Stand for, Ugly Drum Smoker. Used to describe a smoker, usually made from a 55 gallon steel drum, and stands upright.
Water Smokers – Water smokers have a water pan close to the heat source. The water absorbs heat and helps keep temps down and steady while moisture evaporates and puts some humidity in the cooking area which can help meat from drying out. Most bullet smokers are also water smokers so the water pan also acts as a drip pan. The Weber Smokey Mountain is the most popular and best of the breed.
WSM – Weber Smokey Mountain. A very popular, very efficient bullet water smoker.