The art of barbecue
Great recipes to try this weekend. Plus: a lesson with Santa Fe's Bill and Cheryl Jamison, masters of meat, smoke, and fire
At the opposite end of the spectrum is barbecuing, the "low and slow" indirect-heat method that turns large cuts like pork shoulder and brisket into tender, smoky piles of meat.
In between these approaches is a hybrid one called two-level grilling, which allows you to cook medium-size pieces of meat (such as pork tenderloin or ribs) all the way through without burning the exterior. For this you need two temperature zones: one hot, one cooler. The meat is first browned in the hot zone, then moved to the cooler area to cook through. If all these categories seem overwhelming, just remember one rule of thumb: The bigger and denser the cut of meat, the more slowly you'll need to cook it. And by "slowly," we mean cooked at a lower temperature over a longer time.
Staying true to their fresh, uncomplicated cooking style, the Jamisons created the recipes for each technique below.
METHOD 1: DIRECT GRILLING
On charcoal: Ignite 75 to 85 briquets in a chimney starter (or on the fuel grate); open grill vents. When coals are coated with ash, spread into an even layer (if you like, leave a small area empty to create a cooler zone). Check heat: If you can hold your hand 1 or 2 in. above cooking-grate level only 1 to 2 seconds, that's high heat. For medium-high heat, wait until you can hold your hand there only 2 to 3 seconds.
On gas: Turn all burners to high, close lid, and heat for 15 minutes. Then adjust to desired heat.
Recipe: Grilled Skirt Steak (Arracheras)
Mexican arracheras, like Tex-Mex fajitas, are marinated skirt steaks cooked quickly over high heat to produce a nicely browned crust and pink interior.
Side dish: Spicy Baked Beans
Making baked beans from scratch is a noble but time-consuming effort. The Jamisons offer a simpler alternative with dressed-up store-bought beans. It's also a good accompaniment to grilled burgers, hot dogs, and sausages.