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  • "Barbecue"!! The word derives from the word "barabicu", which to the Taíno people in

  • the Caribbean islands meant "sacred fire pit".

  • We are definitely on sacred ground today. If we can get in.

  • I'm here to learn a little about the science of BBQ, so I came to a man who knows a little

  • bit about that, Aaron Franklin...

  • Well that's debatable. How's it going?

  • So what is BBQ?

  • I think BBQ is something that's cooked over a live fire, so that could encompass grilling,

  • slow offset cooking, cooking in the ground, cooking whole hogs over coals, any of those

  • kinds of things I call BBQ, but for me on a personal level, it's a German/Czech style,

  • offset cooking."

  • I experiment all the time, at the end of the day feel trumps black and white number or

  • equation you could possibly have. If something's not tender, it's just not tender, if something's

  • dry, it's just too dry. BUT, the science behind these things how wood burns, how airflow works,

  • if you start thinking about fluid dynamics inside of a cooker, then science has a pretty

  • huge part of it. I think good BBQ is a balance between science and natural gut instinct.

  • Cooking is really just thermodynamics and chemistry, but tastier. Inside the smoker,

  • air molecules are moving around really rapidly thanks to that fire, they're vibrating all

  • crazy, and when they smack into the brisket, they transfer that energy to the meat, either

  • contributing chemical reactions or raising the temperature.

  • Meat browns when it cooks, whether it's direct heat like a steak or slow like BBQ. Heat breaks

  • proteins down into amino acids, which then react with sugars to create molecular deliciousness,

  • which happens to be brown. It's not caramelization, it's something called the Maillard reaction.

  • King of BBQ here in Texas is brisket. It started out with whole animals, you would sell what

  • you could and then whatever was left, as a method of preservation, you would BBQ stuff

  • on Sundays

  • For us to fully understand the science of BBQ, we need to know a little about the hunk

  • of meat we're cooking. Meat in general is muscle, which is primarily protein, fat, some

  • vitamins and minerals, and whole lot of water.

  • Brisket comes from across chest area of cow, right here, and since cattle don't have collarbones

  • like us, this muscle has to support more than half their body weight. That means it's got

  • a lot of three things: hard-working muscle, fat, and connective tissue. It's basically

  • the opposite of filet mignon. But if we apply the right kind of science, those three things

  • can come together like Voltron to make something very tasty.

  • So at the end of the day you want it to be tender, juicy, good bark, with good fat render.

  • Some of you might not want to hear this, but making good BBQ is like making Jell-O. Ribs,

  • brisket, pork shoulder, all cuts of meat that have tons of connective tissue, the molecular

  • glue that supports all those muscle fibers. Collagen, one of the proteins in connective

  • tissue, can make up a quarter of all the protein in a mammal's body.

  • Cook 'em fast, and those proteins snap up tight like rubber bands, they have the texture

  • of them too. If you cook them slow, they melt. When collagen is heated slowly and held there

  • for hours (and hours), its long protein chains break down and water works its way in. That

  • collagen turns to gelatin, exactly the same stuff that's in this box. That's what makes

  • good BBQ so tender inside. It's meat Jell-O.

  • BBQ cuts also have a good amount of fat. Animal fats are made of triglycerides which have

  • mostly saturated fatty acids. These have much higher melting points than unsaturated fats

  • like, say, vegetable or olive oil you have in your kitchen, because those straight triglyceride

  • tails are stable, packed nice and close. As we heat these saturated fats up, slowly, we

  • can disrupt those hydrogen bonds and turn to liquid, called rendering. Which is delicious.

  • Together, melting collagen to gelatin and liquefying fat make the meat OH SO TENDER.

  • You need no teeth to eat dis beef.

  • What's fun about an oven? There's nothing fun about ovens. Did they have ovens back

  • in the early days, coming up through Mexico? No you dug a hole in the ground, you buried

  • a head, on coals, you cooked on a fire. And that's where I'm coming from more on the traditional

  • side of it. I'm not gonna use electricity, not gonna use gas no assisted heat source

  • of any kind.We have light bulbs, and I don't even like that so much.

  • And it tastes good. That gets into a whole other thing too, how you're using wood, green

  • wood, dry wood, post oak, hickory, mesquite, pecan, any of these different kinds of woods

  • they all taste different, they all cook different.

  • The hardwoods used in BBQ smoke have lots of cellulose and lignin. When burnt slowly,

  • cellulose caramelizes into sugar molecules that flavor the meat. And lignin is converted

  • into all kinds of aromatic chemicals that flavor the meat, and can even act as chemical

  • preservatives. You just can't have brisket, or any BBQ, without

  • that beautiful smoke ring. Now THIS is some cool chemistry! Or hot chemistry. Meat starts

  • out pink because it's full of oxygen-carrying molecule called myoglobin. That iron-containing

  • myoglobin starts out red, but as it heats up the iron in its heme group oxidizes and

  • it turns this brown color.

  • So why is the ring still red? Well, BBQ smoke contains gases like carbon monoxide and nitric

  • oxide, made by burning wood. That gas diffuse into the edges of the meat, bind to the myoglobin

  • in place of oxygen. And those nitric oxide-myoglobin compounds just so happen to be pink. The edge

  • stays nice and red while the interior gets brown like normal.

  • Kinda the art of working a fire is to control those things and get certain flavors out of

  • a piece of wood.

  • It's not just heat, it's not just the temperature on a gauge, it's how the smoke is coming out

  • of the smokestack, it's how a piece of wood if it flames up and dies out real quick, it's

  • about a heat curve, how long is it gonna last, are you forcing a piece of wood to do something

  • it doesn't want to do?

  • You can't really make a piece of meat do what you want it to do, you can only guide it to

  • do what you think you want it to do. So, kind of go with that, it's all about trial and

  • error, don't give up, keep working on it. And if you really wanted to you could watch

  • the BBQ With Franklin videos.

  • Out here we might have beer cans and aprons instead of test tubes and lab coats, but BBQ

  • is SCIENCE, y'all. It's chemistry, it's physics, and the best part is you get to eat your experiments.

  • Stay curious. And hungry. I'm gonna go get some food.

  • Special thanks to Aaron Franklin and the whole crew at Franklin BBQ. If you're ever in Austin,

  • Texas, line up early, because this is the best BBQ joint in the US. Seriously, you can

  • look it up.

"Barbecue"!! The word derives from the word "barabicu", which to the Taíno people in

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B1 bbq meat brisket wood myoglobin collagen

The Science of BBQ!!!

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    羅紹桀 posted on 2016/06/18
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