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Having trouble browning meats

steeevinsteeevin Posts: 23
edited July 2012 in Off Topic
Hello everyone,

I've had my BGE for a couple of months and have made some great tasting food. However, I am having problems getting things to brown properly. Two recent examples are spatchcock chickens and pork chops.

For the chicken, I searched for the topic on this forum and chose the direct heat method at 350 degrees dome temp. When the temp was of the bird was 175 in the thigh, the tops were hardly browned. I let them go until 180 in the thigh and pulled them off the grill so they wouldn't dry out. The tops were just slightly brown but the meat was a bit dry. I did not brine these birds. One bird had a basic BBQ rub on the outside and the other had an herb-butter mixture. I thought surely the buttered bird would brown with no problems but it didn't. Also, before I put them on, I made sure I had thoroughly dried the exteriors.

For the pork chops, I did brine them since they were boneless. Again, I thoroughly dried them and then sprinkled some Weber Steak and Chop seasoning. I grilled them direct with a cast-iron grate. The dome temp was about 400 degrees. The meat that had direct contact with the grate had some mild grill marks by the time I flipped them. However, before flipping I noticed the top sides were not browning at all. They were a pale grey. I proceed to flip in order to get some color on the grey side. When I took them off the grill at 155 degrees, they were slightly brown on the side with the grill marks and not brown at all on the side that spent most of the time on top. I left them on a bit longer than I would have liked in order to try to get some color. Again, the meat was slightly dry because of this.

These are just two examples. I've had others. What am I doing wrong? I know the egg keeps moisture in the dome, which would seem to make it a bit harder to brown things but it shouldn't be this hard. I hope there are ways to get better browning than what I am currently getting. I've grilled on Weber Kettles for 14+ years and never had a problem in that regard.

Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Also, if there are others having similar problems, I'd like to hear about them.

Thanks in advance,
Steve

Comments

  • You may want to rig yourself a raised grid or look at the adjustable rig from ceramicgrillstore.com
  • Hi Steve- On the bird, you can grill it skin side down for 5-10 minutes at the beginning or end of your cook and it will brown up the skin.

    On things like chops and steaks, you need to bump the temp up. 400 dome is around 375 grill temp. A little low for searing. Try doing 500 dome on things like chops. If you have a cast iron grate, 500 will give you a very good sear on things like chicken breasts, steaks, chops etc.

    If you want more, you can sear at lump level either on a lowered grate or right on the coals. Do this 30-45 seconds a side then finish the cook at normal grate level until your internal is reached.

    Hope this helps. Let us know if you need anything else


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  • ShiffShiff Posts: 1,703
    For Spatchcock chicken I cook it indirect at about 300-350 grid temp. It usually takes 1.25hours and is well browned when done.  I used to cook it direct, but it tended to burn on the bottom.

    I've never cooked Pork chops but we do steak often. I get the dome temp to about 600 and then sear both sides for 1-2 minutes, then lower the temp a bit and finish cooking.  Always well seared this way.
    Large BGE
    Barry, Lancaster, PA
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited July 2012
    meat should go on dry.  i actually dry my chicken uncovered overnight, then roast them on a rasied grid at about 250-275.  crisp skin, great color.

    steaks need to go on dry. same for pork chops.

    at 400 dome temp you are roasting those chops more than searing, unless you are right close to the coals.  close the distance between the meat and the lump and you'll get some searing.

    i can tell you that for beef, dry aging ensures browning. 
    only one of these steaks was dry aged, and all the steaks went on at the same time. the other two aren't even ready to flip yet

    image


    before the meat browns, the heat needs to drive off the water in the meat. much pork these days seems to have been brined, which means more water to drive off.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • steeevinsteeevin Posts: 23
    Thank you all for the comment and suggestions. I will certainly give them a try.

    Stike, that pick is incredible. I can't believe the difference dry aging make with your steaks. The two on the left look just like my pork chops last night @ ~140 internal temp.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    same fire, same time on the grill

    you might also want to try searing with the dome open.  it will cause flare-ups, but it will completely stop any 'roasting' (cooking of the top of the steak).  for example, if i had left the dome open during searing, those two left steaks would be just as cooked from below (searing), but they would still look raw on top, because  additional cooking from the hot gasses in the egg (convection) or heat from the dome itself (radiant heat) would be eliminated.

    but both those steaks on the left were for people who wanted theirs more 'done' than i prefer.  so i got the further cook by shutting the dome
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • steeevinsteeevin Posts: 23
    I've seen a number of posts about the "raised grid" with spatchcock. Why do folks raise the grid?
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    closer to the dome.  dome radiates heat
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • It gets the food up in a hotter part of the egg. More convection heat and more caramelisation on top.  
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 26,383
    Higher in the dome results in more top baking and less bottom cooking.
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  • I've seen a number of posts about the "raised grid" with spatchcock. Why do folks raise the grid?
    It's a little more gentle on the part that is exposed to direct heat. 
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 26,383
    Browning meats is cased by the "Maillard" reaction.  Pretty interesting reading on it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maillard_reaction

    So let me geek out for a second....

    Anyway, the reaction starts at 306 F and up.  Water boils at 212, so the surface must be dry.  The amino acids in the meat protein react with reducing compounds, such as sugar.  The process works better in an alkaline environment, so adding acids like lemon or vinegar retard the browning process. Obviously sugar and carbohydrates accelerate it.  I've seen America's test kitchen dust steaks with flour to increase the browning.

    The concept of "reverse sear" comes from applying the browning heat at the end of a cook, when the meat is hotter and dryer, so the browning step is quicker and doesn't add as much total heat to the food.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.  Love me or hate me, I am forum Marmite.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, Akorn Jr, smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

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