Quick Start Guide: The Meathead Method

If you are new to BBQ and grilling, start here. These articles and basic recipes give you a solid foundation on BBQ and grilling equipment, ingredients, and techniques. You'll learn about thermodynamics (how heat moves through your cooker and your food), how to turn your grill into a smoker with the 2-zone method, how to control temperature, why it is critical to use a digital thermometer (don't worry - they're cheap), the fascinating science of meat, how smoke ends up flavoring your food, and all sorts of tips and tricks to make sure your food is done exactly how you want it--and when you want it!  

"Science is a method to keep yourself from kidding yourself."

Edwin Land, co-founder of Polaroid
infrared burner grilling pork
Learn about thermodynamics: the basis of all cooking! Find out how heat transference works by conduction, convection, radiation, induction, and infrared heat in your grill, bbq, and smoker. read more
Smoking Ribeye
What is the right cooking temperature for barbecue? It depends. Not all food should be cooked low and slow or hot and fast. Sometimes, a combination of both is best, as seen in the reverse sear and in sous-vide-que. Read more about 2-zone cooking and when to grill with the lid up or down for perfectly cooked BBQ. read more
2 zone setup on a gas grill
Improve your recipes and make the best BBQ possible with this one essential concept: temperature control. This article teaches you the ins and outs of controlling temperature by using a 2-zone setup for indirect cooking. read more
dial thermometers are unreliable
How to use our comprehensive buying guide and reviews of thermometers for barbecue, for cooking, for food, for the oven, for the grill and for the smoker. read more
timer
Why are exact cooking times so hard to predict? Because the actual time it takes meats and other barbecued foods to reach a certain level of doneness depends on many variables such as the weather, the cooking method, the type of meat, meat thickness, humidity in the cooker, and the accuracy of your thermometer. read more
Calibrate your cooker. There is often dust and grease under the hood from the factory on new grills and smokers. Here's how to prepare your cooker with a dry run so you can control its temperature when it's showtime. read more
Here's how to use the two vents to control temperature in a charcoal or wood grill or smoker. read more
fat types
What is meat and how does cooking alter it? Discover the science of what meat is made of, including water, fat, protein, connective tissue, salt, and other minerals. And find out what happens when meat meets heat. read more
beer cooler faux cambro
How do caterers hold cooked meats safely for so long? It's called a hotbox or Cambro and you can make a faux Cambro with a simple beer cooler. It's the secret to resting large cuts of BBQ like brisket, pork butts, and whole turkeys while keeping them warm and transporting them. Here's how to set up a faux Cambo. read more
mise en place
Want to be a better cook? Learn mise en place. This French term means, roughly, 'everything in its place.' It is a mindset and a practice that helps you plan ahead and stay organized, which streamlines the prep and cooking processes. It can help shorten cooking and cleaning times and help prevent cooking disasters. read more

meathead goldwyn grilling steaks over lit charcoal chimneys

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1) Please try the table of contents or the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can't help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

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