PSA: To the overly confident who know just how often to flip a burger and tenderize a steak, but away from the public eye are ransacking the depths of the internet just to double-check their theories—yes, you, here, reading this—this is for you.
We called up BBQ Pitmasters judge and Smoked star Myron Mixon to inquire about some of the biggest theories out there for all of you hopeful grilling gurus, so he could extol the virtues of grilling the right way.
We bring you five grilling myths, debunked.
“You cook briskets with fat-cap up and you think that two inches of damn fat is going to run down through the middle of the meat and come back up the other side? …Not unless it’s a magic brisket.”
1. Marinades do not actually tenderize meat.
“I’m a big believer in marinades and injecting the brine. Brining is one of the best ways to get seasoning. It gives it flavor all of the way through the meat.”
2. Only flip the meat once.
“I’ve read that shit all my life. Don’t flip a steak more than once. Don’t flip a burger more than once. I’m like, Why? So you flip it one time and you can’t flip it no more? What are you going to do if your grill is a little too hot and it puts a crust on it too fast, it starts to black, you’re just going to let it lay there because you can’t flip it but once? Nah. You flip it multiple times to keep it from burning.”
3. Don’t season before grilling because salt toughens steak.
“That’s bullshit. The thing about it is, beef especially, beef needs salt and beef needs pepper. When I’m doing steak, I rub ’em down in olive oil. I apply my kosher salt. I apply my fresh ground pepper, not only on the bottom and top, but also on the edges of the steak. I want to make sure I have my crust coated in salt and pepper—not over-salted, not over-peppered, but a good seasoning. It really needs salt to bring that flavor out.
Let me tell you this, applying seasoning like salt to a piece of meat like steak after the fact is not the same. One thing is: The salt is going to be grainy, crusty and gritty applied to a cooked piece of meat, and the salt is not going to get cooked down into the top layers of the meat to give you a salty flavor all over.”
4. The best way to check for doneness is by cutting into the meat.
“A thermometer will tell you without cutting your steak. If you cut that steak and it’s not where you want it, that means it just lays there another couple of minutes to cook and wherever you cut, heat is going to get up in there and it’s going to overcook it. I’d rather take my meat thermometer, pierce the top of it and get my internal temp. I can tell you if I want a rare steak, that’s around 125, medium-rare is going to be somewhere around 130 and well is going to be somewhere around 140. I ain’t gotta put a blade to it.”
5. Cook briskets fat-side up.
“All this shit, I cook my briskets fat-cap up, is what they tell you because all that fat is going to seep down through the brisket. That’s bullshit, too. You cook it with fat cap up and you think that two inches of damn fat is going to run down through the middle of the meat and come back up the other side? It’s going to come off the sides of it and roll off. It’s not coming down through the middle of that meat—not unless it’s a magic brisket. But you’ve got people who believe that shit because somebody told them and somebody told them.”