Summer cooking is often defined by sizzling steaks, delicious salads and lots of cold drinks. Whether you’re the one firing up the grill, or just in charge of bringing an all-important side dish to the family barbecue, here are a few culinary guidelines that will help make your summertime cookout that much more memorable! Happy grilling!
Season with an Acid– In addition to adding salt to boost the flavor of a dish, try adding a drop of an acid like vinegar or lemon juice. Like salt, acid competes with bitter flavors to lessen our perception of them and “brighten” a dish. Try adding lime juice, lemon juice or red wine vinegar to dishes like pico de gallo, mango salsa, cucumber salsa, and macaroni salads. Looking to spice up a dish as well? Sprinkle on some Sriracha Sea Salt for a delicious kick!
Use Coarse Salt when Seasoning Meat– Use kosher salt instead of table salt when seasoning meat. A larger-grain salt with distribute more evenly and adhere better to the meat’s surface. Also try rubbing olive oil or mustard over the surface of large meat cuts before adding a seasoning blend. We recommend our coarse-style Montreal Seasoning and Black & Bold for steaks and chops, or try our All American BBQ, Memphis Rub, Pig Tickle, or Sweet Chile Maple for ribs and brisket.
Season Cold Foods Aggressively– Our ability to taste is heightened by extremely temperature-sensitive microscopic proteins in our taste buds. Additionally, aroma contributes much to our perception of flavor and cold foods can sometimes be less fragrant than their hot counterparts. For these reasons, cold foods must be seasoned generously to make up for the flavor-dulling effects of cold temperatures. So add some extra spice to that potato salad! Try our South Platte Six Pepper or Seasoning Salt to make your potato or macaroni salad extra flavorful. Also, try adding a little pickle juice!
Let Red Meats Rest Before Cutting– Red meat is made of up muscles fibers, which are composed of smaller structures called myofibrils and water. When the meat is raw, proteins inside the myofibrils trap the water. During the cooking process, the water is squeezed out of the myofibrils into the spaces between. Consequently, if you cut into your T-bone or pork cop right off the grill, all of this water simply flows out onto your plate, leaving you with a dry, tough hunk of protein. In order to keep all of the juicy goodness inside your dinner, allow the meat to rest before serving (10-20 minutes for large roasts and brisket, 5 minutes for steaks and chops). While resting, some of the expelled water is reabsorbed by the relaxing myofibrils and fills the spaces once occupied by the dissolving proteins. To keep your meats warm while resting, wrap them in foil and place in a cooler or oven to hold in the heat (for smaller cuts like steaks and chops, you can skip the cooler).
For Goodness Sake, Don’t Overcook the Pork– Back in the olden days, pork had to be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the parasite Trichinella spiralis. This higher temperature resulted in tougher, dryer pork that was less than appetizing. With the advent of improved food safety and quality control methods, the USDA has now lowered the internal temperature of pork to 145 degrees, followed by a three-minute rest time. This means pork can now be safely enjoyed medium rare just like beef. If you prefer your meat cooked to medium, simply increase the internal temp to 150 degrees with a three-minute rest time. Oh, and sprinkle some Pig Tickle on those chops!