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rdstoll
05-15-2014, 10:39 AM
Hey just a quick question:

We know briskets are done when they probe like buttah. We know Butts are done when the bone wiggles nicely.

But one thing I always seem to have problems with are grilling stuff like steaks/burgers/chicken breasts, etc where I always have to fall back to checking the temps to assess various stages of doneness.

Are there any tricks of the trade in being able to do this visually or by feel, particularly for steaks?

ButtBurner
05-15-2014, 10:41 AM
I just push in the steak with my spatula

when its about the same firmness as the ball on the palm of your hand, I pull it off

Ron_L
05-15-2014, 10:43 AM
For steaks, burgers and pork chops I use a clean finger :-D You can tell how done they are by the feel. This article explains it...

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/the_finger_test_to_check_the_doneness_of_meat/

You can also tell by feel with chicken but I'm more cautious with any poultry and use my Thermapen. You really don't have to spend the money on a Thermapen if you don't have it. Their new Thermopop (http://www.thermoworks.com/products/low_cost/thermopop.html) will do a nice job as well.

charrederhead
05-15-2014, 10:56 AM
Here's an article that debunks the "chicken is done when the juice is clear" conventional wisdom.

http://amazingribs.com/tips_and_technique/mythbusting_chicken_is_done_when_juices_run_clear. html

Smoking Westy
05-15-2014, 10:57 AM
I use the finger method like Ron, for chicken I also check to make sure the juices are running clean. When cooking pieces and parts this method works well, cooking whole chickens, I like to fall back to thermometer to be sure.

I don't own a Thermapen yet but the new-ish backlit version has me real close to pulling the trigger on one.

scruffee81
05-15-2014, 10:58 AM
for burgers...i have cooked so many..I just know when they are done the way I like them...with poultry I always go by internal temp...been many times where I thought they were done...pulled them off and cut into pink meat....

my buddy has a ThermaPen...spent nearly 100 bucks on it...I recently ordered a ThermoPop...got it for about 25 bucks..we compared temp/read times...

The ThermaPen almost instant about 1-2 seconds. My Thermo Pop will read in about 4 seconds....

accuracy was exact on both Pen/Pop

For anyone looking for an alternative to the expensive Thermapen...go with the Pop you wont be disapointed.

-robert

rdstoll
05-15-2014, 11:13 AM
Hey thanks for the articles/feedback. Slowly but surely I'm trying to understand how to smoke/grill without having to rely on technology, etc. Probably because I have my first stick burner on order for pickup late next week so am feeling a bit "traditional" these days. I was able to do some reverse sear tri-tip last weekend that turned out surprisingly well so color me inspired!

And I already have a Thermapen and love it to death but like I said I don't want to become a slave to it. Essentially, I'd like to have the skills necessary to pull off a cook if I was suddenly called to do so with no prep or anticipation on my part.

cholloway
05-15-2014, 11:14 AM
Speaking of ThermaPops, I rely on mine for chicken (I like 170-175). Excellent buy.

tnfan47
05-15-2014, 11:15 AM
I tend to use the thermapen more often while cooking chicken.

scruffee81
05-15-2014, 11:18 AM
And I already have a Thermapen and love it to death but like I said I don't want to become a slave to it. Essentially, I'd like to have the skills necessary to pull off a cook if I was suddenly called to do so with no prep or anticipation on my part.


rds, that will come with time. i am by NO means a "grill master", but there are some things I can pull off with no prep...im sure you will get there. the best way I have learned....is by screwing up! we all do it.

I do want to try a reverse sear however...i need to learn more about that. im cooking some steaks this weekend, may try it out.