The Science of BBQ!!!

The Science of BBQ!!!

“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. [MUSIC] 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.

100 thoughts on “The Science of BBQ!!!”

  1. Anyone that uses BBQ sauce on BBQ has never truly ate what a good piece of meat is supposed to taste like at my BBQ if you put anything on my meat I didn't cook It right!

  2. i love Franklin BBQ i live 10mins away. ppl all over the US wait in line for up to 3 hours. and they are usually sold out before 12:30 pm. it's crazy. 

  3. Good video. i like science, I love bbq, and I very much look up to Mr Franklin. My bbq sucked until I started watching his videos. sure it takes me twice as long to make pulled pork, but it is 10 times better. I don't even put a rub on it anymore. Salt, pepper, and smoke. I putt a dab of sauce on it when it hits the bun. I got a wsm and that means for the last 3 hours of the cook I can make beans! I am.going to kill all the old people iny family because I am smoking my turkey. they have a fit when I break from "tradition".

  4. i was think about quitting on being a pescetarian, until i saw the collagen part… reminded me why i converted to a pescetarisn in the first place… 🙁

  5. What counts as barbecue for Filipinos:Any roasted meat then put on a stick.Not just any meat,it has to be coated in sauce or seasoned beforehand.

  6. "Are you forcing a piece of wood to do something that it doesn't naturally wanna do?" – You mean, like, burning? ^^

  7. I need to know if any kind of Oak in the Baton Rouge area will work since Aaron uses Post Oak. I don't think I can get Post Oak in my area, not without having it shipped in. =(

  8. Franklin is the real deal. I'd wait in line for 3 hours every day to eat it if I could. The brisket was one of the best things I've ever eaten bar none.

  9. This is just a big advertisement for this restaurant. Sure there's some science but still, it's so blatant

  10. More flavorful is a more accurate term than tastier due to the difference between taste and flavor.
    95% of what people call "taste" is flavor, as we only have 4 different taste buds. Everything else is flavor, through the olfactory nerve.

    The olfactory nerve is very interesting!

  11. Being so passionate about climate change and greenhouse gas education you mayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyybe could have mentioned just a tiny, little word about meat mass production being quite a factor in these little , uncomfy issues. I'm not a vegetarian or vegan and I catch myself far too often enjoying mass-produced meat, so I'm not better than you, but we should be, because we're smart enough to recognize the facts. And while I'm also pretty passionate about improving my meat cooking/grilling/baking/whatever skills, I think it's important to always remind yourself that a big chunk of meat is a very big chunk of luxury that comes at a high cost for the enviroment, so actually we shouldn't eat meat more than once a week, it's not healthy for us and even less for planet earth to overdo it the way our society does. Also, being aware of how valuable the steak is that youre about to throw into the pan will most likely make you much more careful to get it right, which makes you a better cook afterall 😀

  12. At 1:36 what kind of BBQ pit is that in the background? Looks like a steel electric smoker pit…. I'm curious to know can you give me some feedback

  13. OK, now(after seeing this scientific culinary exhibition) Im ready to smash some serious BBQ

  14. Why almost all your videos ha e so bad substiyles? They are almost always 10 seconds too early or too late.

  15. BBQ actually comes from "barbe a queue" meaning "beard to tail" in French. The meaning behind that is when you roast an animal on a spit, you push the spit into its mouth, through its body, and out the rear.

  16. It's too bad you didn't explain all those reaction when relating to temperature and time. Example being that collagen starts to dissolve and turn into jelly at 170/180 degrees F. Or that smoke penetration forming a smoke ring stops when meat reaches a temperature of 140 degrees F. That would have made your viewers smarter.

  17. So today I learned my favorite way to cook food comes from a race of people Columbus murdered.
    Terrorists score again.

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