He’s a member of the prestigious Barbecue Hall of Fame and has been dubbed “The King” and “The Best Hog Cooker in the World,” so we figured he’d be a solid go-to for some of our age-old barbecuing questions.
Without further ado: five barbecue myths, busted.
“The meat could be perfectly done, tender, falling off the bone, and still have a slight tint to it.”
1. The red or pink in barbecued meat means the meat is undercooked.
“Especially when you’re doing barbecue chicken, a lot of people think that the pink means it’s undercooked. In actuality, the smoke and the wood that was used to barbecue the meat turns it pink. The nitrite, the smoke itself and the wood. The meat could be perfectly done, tender, falling off the bone, and still have a slight tint to it.”
2. You shouldn’t pierce the steak or the juices will leak.
“The fork, from picking it up and the number of holes from flipping it a few times, isn’t going to pierce it enough to let all the juice run out… No holes that you’re going to pierce are going to let enough juices out to be a significant factor. That’s a myth.”
3. Smoke rings add flavor.
“Smoke rings do not add flavor. Realistically, smoke rings—that reddish gap from the crust down to where the meat starts turning gray or a different color—can be obtained in an oven from a high temp. It’s caused from high heat. It’s really not the dang smoke.”
4. Oil up your grill before you use it.
“I don’t really understand the point of it. When I oil the grill is after I’ve cleaned it. When I’ve used it and cleaned it is when I oil my grill back down, especially if I’m using my cast-iron grates or they’re not stainless. So it won’t rust.”
5. The meat should always fall off the bone.
“Briskets you don’t want that falling apart. You don’t want to make shredded pot-roast out of it. You want to have some texture to it. You want the perfect tenderness but you also want to have texture. You don’t want it to just crumble away. Ribs are the same way—you don’t want ribs falling off the bone. You want to be able to get a good bite and pull the meat from the bone very easily, but you don’t want it to all pull away in one bite and fall apart. It’s the same way with chicken. You don’t want to cook chicken to pieces. You still want to leave some moisture in it, some consistency and texture in the meat, but you really don’t want to overcook it either. Your best friend as far as barbecuing is a meat thermometer.”