To ensure the highest quality Wild Game, Steaks, Chops, BBQ Pork, Chicken, Ribs, Beef or whatever you grill, BBQ, smoke, bake or broil; please consider these recommendations. Many years of research, resulting in numerous Blue, Red and White ribbons, have perfected this procedure to a near-science.
1. Start with fresh, high quality meat that’s not frozen. If it’s frozen, thaw it out in the refrigerator a few days prior. If at all possible, please do not use the microwave to thaw your meat. In a pinch, you can thaw meat very quickly in a cold water bath where you seal the meat in watertight zip-top bags and float them in a sink full of cold water. Just make sure to change your water every 30 minutes until the meat is sufficiently thawed.
2. Be prepared to begin the seasoning process roughly 30 minutes in advance of cooking. This thirty-minute rule of thumb is appropriate for smaller cuts of meat like chicken pieces, steaks and chops, or even pork ribs. For much larger cuts like beef brisket, pork butt, pork shoulder, whole hogs or beef shoulder clods, we recommend seasoning a minimum of 12 hours in advance of cooking. Place thawed meat on a large, clean and washable work surface – disposable aluminum pans, rimmed baking sheets or jelly roll pans all work great.
3a. If you are direct heat grilling (short duration/high temp) lean meats like venison, bison, elk, antelope, ostrich, chicken or turkey breasts, brush the meat with a light coating of olive oil or vegetable oil first. For fattier cuts, you can omit the oil and just apply the rub directly to the meat. Evenly apply rub to ONE side of the meat, and pat it down gently. After a few minutes or when the rub has begun to dissolve and re-hydrate on top of the meat, carefully flip each piece of meat over and apply rub to the other side.
3b. If you are smoking or cooking with indirect heat (long duration/lower temps), for cuts like beef brisket, pork spareribs or loin back ribs, pork shoulder or Boston butt, we like to brush the meat with a light coating of plain prepared yellow mustard before the rub is applied. This is an old competition barbecue trick that we have used for years. It doesn’t really add any flavor, but the mustard slather does help the rub to stay adhered during extended cooking. Apply rub to all sides as indicated above and then move on to the next step.
4. Place seasoned meat back into refrigerator and wait 20-30 minutes. Larger cuts like pork shoulder, pork butt or beef brisket do well being rubbed then held in the fridge over night. Don’t worry; your patience will be rewarded. For steaks, chops, chicken breasts, etc., we just leave them on the baking sheet and cover the entire baking sheet with plastic wrap. For larger cuts that remain in the fridge for longer periods of time, we recommend triple-wrapping them in plastic wrap individually before placing them into the fridge.
5. While the rub is setting up, go start the grill. Once the grill is hot and it’s time to cook, just take the meat directly from the fridge to the grill. If you time this right, you can usually start your grill when you put your meat back into the fridge so when the meat’s ready, so is your grill.
6. Finally, while all of our rubs feature a special raw cane sugar that is less prone to burning over high heat than most rubs out on the market, it is important to note that all rubs will burn if proper grilling technique is not followed. To ensure your barbecue is a success each and every time, please keep these 3 things in mind:
~ Use your grill’s lid. It’s there for a reason. Not only is it the best way to control temperature, using it also helps add additional moisture and flavor to whatever you are cooking.
~ Cool it down. Your grill doesn’t need to be 5,000 degrees in order to grill your steaks. Take it down a notch or three and reap the benefits. Start by doing a quick hot sear on both sides then turn the heat down to medium and finish cooking with the lid on. What’s that, your charcoal grill doesn’t have a temp knob? See my note above about using your lid.
~ Pay attention. Mise en place (pronounced miz ɑn plas) means literally “putting in place.” This is a French culinary practice top chefs use all the time and for good reason. When they have much cooking to do, they need everything immediately at their fingertips. So, next time you grill make sure everything you are going to need is ready and outside with you, that way you don’t have to divert your attention from your grilling even for a second.