Seeing that Beer Meets Meat is visited by both experts and novices, we decided to give a helping hand to the latter and make a meat-cooking glossary with a comprehensive list of “all things meat” terms, definitions, and simple explanations.
Being a meat-cooking novice is nothing to be ashamed of and here you will have a shortcut to everything you need to know selecting, prepping, and preparing meat.
Meat Cooking Terms: A Glossary of Terminology
The 2-zone concept is when you have a hot and a cool side on the grill. The hot zone is the heat source using charcoal or propane for fuel. The cold zone is where you put your food. The radiant heat from the hot zone will cook the food. 2-Zone Grilling is also called “indirect grilling”.
A method for fall-off-the-bone cooking ribs that involves smoking the ribs for 3 hours at a low temperature, wrapping them in foil, cooking for 2 more hours, then unwrapping to cook for 1 more final hour at a higher temperature while basting.
Baby Back Ribs
Baby back ribs come from the parts of the ribs that are connected to the backbone, beneath the loin muscle, and are curved to meet the spine. They’re called “babies” because they’re shorter than spare ribs.
Banking the Coals
When you push charcoal to one side of the barbecue.
The outer layer of flavorful, seasoned crust on a brisket or other type of smoked meat. But, talking about bark can get really scientific; bark is a byproduct of complex chemical reactions: The Maillard reaction and polymerization chief among them. Read more on AmazingRibs.com
Blade-tenderized (also known as “mechanically tenderized” or “needled”) meat has been passed through a machine that punctures it with small, sharp blades or needles to break up the connective tissue and muscle fibers with the aim of making a potentially chewy cut more palatable (or an already tender cut more so).
The perfect smoke that indicates a clean-burning fire. A clean-burning fire also means no creosote.
Brine is a salt solution made by mixing salt and water that you put cuts of meat in that tend to dry out when cooking. The meat absorbs the extra liquid and salt, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful final dish.
A briquette (French: [bʁikɛt]; also spelled briquet) is a compressed block of coal dust or other combustible biomass material (e.g. charcoal, sawdust, wood chips, peat, or paper) used for fuel and kindling to start a fire.
Brisket is a beef cut from the breast section of the animal and normally sold boneless.
Broiling is a cooking method where you expose food to direct radiant heat, either on a grill over live coals or below a gas burner or electric coil. Broiling differs from roasting and baking in that the food is turned during the process so as to cook one side at a time.
Burnt ends are flavorful pieces of meat cut from the “point” half of a smoked brisket.
Certified Angus beef.
Also known as a competition cut, this technique is often used in competition to cut ribs and other bone-in meats right along the adjacent bone so that the tasting piece is left with extra meat.
Broiling over the direct heat of the charcoal.
Charcoal is a lightweight black carbon residue produced by removing water and other volatile constituents from animal and plant materials. The advantage of burning charcoal compared to burning wood in the absence of water and other components. This allows charcoal to burn at higher temperatures, and give off very little smoke; wood can release a significant amount of steam, organic volatiles, and unburnt carbon particles—soot—in its smoke when it is not burned completely.
Chef’s Bonus is slang for the perfect little bites on the grill a chef samples to ensure the meat is perfect and ready to eat.
A chimney is the fastest and easiest way to get grilling and start eating. Weber sells the Compact Rapid-fire Chimney Starter.
Chips or Chunks
Wood chips and chunks are great for adding wood smoke flavor to foods, or they can be the perfect alternative to charcoal briquettes as a heat source for grilling.
A commercial smoking process that is usually used in a smokehouse. The temperature is generally between 68-86F, and cooking can take days.
The crisp residue left after the rendering of lard from fat or the frying or roasting of the skin (as of pork). Thank you Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Creosote, a thick, black, carbon-rich residues, is the result of incomplete combustion of wood, and is what makes your smoked meat go from tasting “smokey” to “bitter”.
Curing means to preserve meat, fish, tobacco, or an animal skin by salting, drying, or smoking.
A cooking technique where the meat is placed on a grill directly over the heat source.
A cast-iron pot with a lid.
Dry aging is basically putting meat in a humid environment and letting them turn into moldy carcasses. In addition to an increasing tenderness, the flavor of the beef is altered during this process from the combination of bacteria, enzyme breakdown, and oxidation.
Dry-brining is the simple process of salting and resting food before cooking it. Dry-brining achieves the goals of traditional brining—deeply seasoned, juicy food—without the flavor dilution problem that affects some proteins brined in salt solutions. You can dry brine meat, poultry, and seafood.
Any mixture of herbs and spices that are applied to the surface of meat before cooking to flavor it and create a crispy crust.
Extra virgin olive oil.
The thick layer of fat that lays between the skin and flesh on some cuts of meat. It flavors and adds tenderness to the meat but is often suggested to be trimmed down to ¼ inch.
A binding mixture that holds a dry rub or seasonings to the meat before smoking. The glue shouldn’t leave much if any, the flavor on the meat after cooking.
The method of cooking whereby food is cooked with direct heat over a flame.
The connective tissue that holds muscle to the bone and is tough to chew.
A type of low-sap wood such as oak, hickory, maple, pecan, and mesquite that are great for smoking meats.
Used to refer to cooking at a high temperature, usually around 450°F (230°C).
The art of cooking food with hot smoke at a temperature of 130°F or more.
A cooking technique where the food is placed away from the heat source to cook in a part of the barbecue that is less hot.
A technique used to infuse extra flavor into meat by injecting a syringe of marinade. According to Char-Boil, you can inject an array of things, ranging from saltwater to butter, but we suggest using a marinade if you’re aiming for maximum flavor and not just moisture. You can also add olive or pepper oils, spices, syrups, sauces, stocks, broths, and butter.
Used to refer to cooking at a low temperature, usually between 150°F (65°C) and 225°F (100°C).
Raw salmon that’s been brined usually served on a bagel or slice of rye bread with cream cheese and is garnished with tomato, sliced onion, cucumbers, and capers.
Straight from Wiki; The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives browned food its distinctive flavor. Seared steaks, fried dumplings, cookies, and other kinds of biscuits, bread, toasted marshmallows, and many other foods undergo this reaction.
Used to refer to cooking at a moderate temperature, usually between 225°F (100°F) and 300°F (150°C).
A smoker made from two sealed but connected boxes or tubes; one for the fire and the other for the smoke to flow through for cooking. To learn more about offset smokers, click here.
Straight from Wiki: Pellet grills, sometimes referred to as pellet smokers, are outdoor cookers that combine elements of charcoal smokers, gas grills, and kitchen ovens. Fueled by wood pellets, they can smoke as well as a grill and bake using an electronic control panel to automatically feed fuel pellets to the fire, regulate the grill’s airflow, and maintain consistent cooking temperatures.
A barbecue pit is – a trench in which wood is burned to make a bed of hot coals over which meat is barbecued.
Planking is a method of cooking food directly on a piece of hardwood.
Also known as the deckle, this is the smaller of the two muscles of a brisket that’s more fatty and marbled.
A cooking technique where meat is cooked for a long duration over a low heat then finished by searing over high, direct heat to crisp the exterior.
A method of cooking where meat is placed over high heat for a short period of time to brown and crisp the surface.
Any method by which salt, herbs, spices, or sauces are used to flavor food.
Seasoning a Smoker
The process of coating the inside of a smoker with oil to protect it from rust and reduce food from sticking to it.
The situation where the bones ‘shine through’ the meat when too much has been butchered off.
The thin, non-porous membrane that covers the inside of a rack of ribs. This needs to be removed before cooking so that the flavors from a rub or marinade can penetrate the meat.
Kinda like the game of dominos, we learned about this on Perth BBQ School: The snake method works by running a long ring of unlit charcoal briquettes around the outside of your weber. By placing a few lit briquettes at one end of your “snake” you are able to keep a consistent low temperature for a long period of time as the lit beads gradually light the unlit beads.
The smoke point also referred to as the “burning point”, is the temperature at which an oil or fat begins to produce a continuous bluish smoke that becomes clearly visible, dependent upon specific and defined conditions.
Smoking is the process of flavoring, browning, cooking, or preserving food by exposing it to smoke from burning or smoldering material, most often wood.
We will defer this to the experts at Smoked BBQ Source: The barbecue stall is what happens after you place a large piece of meat, like brisket, on the smoker and after two to three hours the temperature of the meat hits about 150°F and stops rising. The stall can last for up to six hours before the temperature starts rising again.
A water smoker allows you to smoke meat at temperatures well below 300°F for many hours. The Weber water smoker is basically an upright bullet-shaped unit with three sections.
Thanks, Wiki: Wet-aged beef is beef that has typically been aged in a vacuum-sealed bag to retain its moisture. This is the dominant mode of aging beef in the U.S. and UK today. It is popular with producers, wholesalers, and retailers because it takes less time: typically only a few days and there is no moisture loss, so any given piece of meat sold by weight will have a higher value than a dry-aged piece where moisture loss is desired for taste at the expense of final weight. The beef is usually kept for a period of 4 to 10 days in wet aging. Modified-atmosphere packaging (MAP) is usually employed for the vacuum packaging of meat; typically between 60 and 80 percent oxygen to retain its appetizing color, with red meat such as beef needing a higher oxygen level than less vividly colored meat such as pork. The vacuum-packed beef is stored at a temperature of 32 °F to 45 °F (0 °C to 7.2 °C).