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Knowledge

Here we take an in-depth look at the science of cooking, different styles of cooking available to the outdoor chef, and cover tips and techniques from knife skills to fire control, from resting meat to brining and dry aging.

We also discuss many cuts of meat, herbs and spices, food preparation, and storage of ingredients.

It’s all critical ‘must-know‘ stuff if you wish to master BBQ and grilling.

A pellet grill with the lid open, showing various meats being smoked.
General Knowledge

Traeger Grill Problems, Error Codes, and Troubleshooting

If a Traeger pellet grill has an issue, they have the feature of telling us exactly what’s wrong with error reporting displayed right on the controller. Learn to read these codes and what they mean, to help you troubleshoot your grills problems and fix any issues that arise.

New York strip steak, cooked rare and sitting on a chopping board.
Ingredients

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Strip Steak

New York Strip Steak is a premium cut, adored by many, and very well known. But just what exactly is it? Where does it come from on the cow? How do you select the best ones? How do you cook it properly? All the details are here.

Close up of a pork butt, showing the money muscle, sitting on a wooden chopping board.
Pulled Pork

What is Money Muscle? The Secret, Finest Part of the Pork Butt

The ‘money muscle’ is a hidden gem in the butt of pork that competition cooks have known about for years. It is tender, delicious, and arguably the very best bit. Learn where it is, how to get at it, and how to carve it out in this guide.

A well rubbed pork shoulder with a dark crust sitting in a smoker.
Pulled Pork

Pork Butt vs Pork Shoulder — What’s the Differences Between Them?

Pork butt and pork shoulder come from very nearby places on the pig and can be used somewhat interchangeably. But they are different cuts. In this guide, we compare these two cuts, discussing where they come from, differences between them, and how to use each to get the best from them.

Close up of some flank steak in ceramic cookware with some rosemary.
Ingredients

Everything You Need to Know About Flank Steak: A Comprehensive Guide

I love flank steak. It’s an underloved cut and one that surprisingly few have heard of, let alone regularly cook and eat. But with its deep beefy flavor and standout striations that soak up rubs and marinades, it should be on everybody’s list of favorite grilling cuts.

Two, raw top round steaks on a cutting board with garlic, lime and spring onion.
Ingredients

Top Round Steak — Everything You Need and Want to Know

Learn all about the top round steak, including where it comes from on the cow, alternative names, typical uses, nutritional info, how to cook it, and three favorite recipes from around the web that use this cut of beef.

To photos, one of filet mignon, another of a ribeye, side by side.
Ingredients

Filet Mignon vs Ribeye — Which is Better, and Why?

Both Filet Mignon and Ribeye are premium cuts of steak, held in high regard by both chefs and connoisseurs the world over. But what's the difference between them, and when would you choose one over the other? Find out below.

raw beef blade steak and rosemary on a dark surface.
Ingredients

Everything You Need to Know about Blade Chuck Steak

Blade chuck is typically reserved for large roasts, but lesser-known and somewhat hard to come by is a steak from the same cut. If you can find it, it’s an incredibly flavor-packed, versatile, and rewarding one to check out. Learn all about it below.

Many different types of sugar, in bowls, in a sack, spilled onto a table and more.
Ingredients

15 Types of Sugar, Their Origins, Forms, and How to Use Them

There are an incredible number of different sugars in existence, used in everything from BBQ rubs to cups of tea, in pickling liquids to cakes. In this guide, we look at the 15 most common types, advising which ones you should have on hand to cover everything you’re likely to do in cooking.

Different types of salt in bowls, in scoops, and spread out on a wooden table.
Ingredients

14 Types of Salt, When and How to Use Each, and Substitutions

Salt complements and amplifies the flavor of almost anything it touches. It's a magic ingredient, and the most used in BBQ or any form of cooking. In this article, we look at the most common types, their flavor notes, when and how to use each, and a few substitutions you can make if needed.

Dry rub ingredients and pork ribs on a wooden cutting board.
Ingredients

20 Best BBQ Rubs For Sale Online in 2024

BBQ rubs allow you to add complex and different flavors to any meat you cook. But certain flavors are best with certain meats, and not all flavors suit all meats. So here are our favorites, sorted by meat type, with something that is bound to suit everyone.

The most popular beef cuts, written above an image of a cow showing all primals.
Ingredients

Beef Cuts Chart and Diagram, with Photos, Names, Recipes, and More

Learn all about the most popular beef cuts from our chart, diagram and write up, including popular and alternative names, where the cuts come from on the cow, preferred outdoor cooking methods, their costs relative to each other, and a fantastic recipe for each cut of beef that we’ve taken from around the web.

Some cuts steaks, and some whole joints, wrapped in clear plastic in a glass refrigerator.
General Knowledge

How Long Can Raw Steak Stay in the Fridge?

I think we can all agree that we love steak? And that it’s hard to resist cooking and eating a steak the moment you get it home? Sometimes, though, we have the foresight to purchase our meat before we need it. The question is: how far in advance is it safe to do so?

A man in black apron, sprinkling salt over a steak on a cutting board.
Prep & Serving

How to Season a Steak for the Best Possible Amazing Flavor

Opinions are like belly buttons (and other things); everybody has one! When it comes to grilling, though, most folks have more than one. And that includes the touchy subject of when and how much to season and salt your steak. Don't worry what anyone else says; we have the straight answers for you right here.

A thick steak with a slice cut away and being held on a fork, in front of some veg on a plate.
Prep & Serving

The Best Thickness for Steak, and a Look at Thin vs Thick Steaks

It’s time to solve another mystery of grilling — what is the ideal thickness for a steak, and how do I grill it just right? What if I’m faced with only very thin or very thick steaks? Which would be best? How best to cook them? We’re on the case!

A man turning meat with tongs on a very smoky looking gas grill.
General Knowledge

Does BBQ, Grilling and Smoking Meat Cause Cancer? Truth or Scare?

We all know that smoke contains carcinogenic chemicals, so does that make BBQ, grilling, and low and slow smoking cancer-causing? Is there any connection between cancer and the smoke we use to flavor our meat? We wanted to find out, and in this article, we provide the research and what we discovered.

raw, boneless, pork cushion meat, on a cutting board with a red and yellow pepper in the background.
Ingredients

Pork Cushion Meat Guide — What it is, Where it’s From, How to Smoke it

When you think you’ve finally cooked it all, along comes a “new” cut to surprise you! It’s a bargain cut with flavor to spare that’s always overshadowed by its more famous neighbor on the pork shoulder. No more! It’s time to introduce you to pork cushion meat, and show why we love it.

An overhead shot of reheated steak on a white plate, with some roasted veg, next to a glass of wine.
General How Tos

How to Reheat Steak Without Overcooking and Drying it Out

The idea of not finishing a steak may seem foreign to many, but sometimes it just happens. Maybe you have a no-show? Perhaps you filled up on a pre-dinner dessert? Whatever the reason, there’s NO reason you can’t reheat and enjoy a leftover steak for a delicious meal another day. Here’s how to do it.

a frozen steak in vac pack, sitting on a wooden cutting board.
Prep & Serving

How to Defrost Steak Quickly and Safely, The Very Best Methods

Who doesn’t love knowing they have thick, delicious steaks at the ready whenever the craving hits? Stocking up on steaks means keeping them on ice, and that means thawing them out for grilling. What’s the best way to get it done without compromising on flavor or safety? We’ve got the answer.

An illustration of the eight beef primals on a diagram of a cow.
Ingredients

The 8 Primal Cuts of Beef — Everything You Need to Know

Today we look at the American derived eight primal cuts of beef. We look at their position on the cow, names, sub-primals, and then major cuts they are butchered into. We also look at the best methods of cooking and uses of the produce from each primal.

Before and after pictures of a grill brush that
General How Tos

How to Clean a Grill Brush — Plus Maintenance Tips to Last Longer

Today’s money-saving article will teach you how to clean your grill brush — Whether bristled or bristle-free — to prevent tainting the taste of your food. Plus, learn how to keep it in tip-top shape with maintenance tips, so it lasts longer, and how to know when the time is right to replace it.

A woman in yellow gloves holding a gone bad steak, making a thumbs down gesture.
Ingredients

How to Tell if Steak is Bad, Gone off, or Spoiled

Part of our mission at FoodFireFriends is to save you from barbecue misadventure. Sure, failing is the best way to learn. But, wouldn’t you rather learn from someone else’s failure? With that in mind, let’s see if we can save you from buying or eating a steak that’s gone off.

A block of beef tallow on some pink butcher paper.
Ingredients

What is Beef Tallow? Best Uses and How to Make It

When you dig deep into barbecuing, you come across new and exciting stuff to try. And today our topic is beef tallow — what is it, how do I make it and use it, and why do I want to? All will be revealed.

A paper roll full of beef jerky on a dark background.
Ingredients

The Best Cuts of Beef for Jerky — And Which to Avoid!

Beef jerky is a snack that satisfies like no other. But, if you’ve only had gas station jerky, you’re missing out on one of the most incredible things you can make in your smoker. To help you make delicious homemade beef jerky, let’s learn which cuts are best for the job.

A woman
General How Tos

Wood Pellet Storage Guide — Dos, Don’ts, and Expert Tips

If you’re new to smoking, you probably have lots of questions. And if you use a pellet grill, an important one is: what’s the best way to store wood pellets? It turns out this mystery is an open and shut case. Get the longest life and best performance out of your pellets with our guide.

lava rocks in gas grill, under a chrome or SS grate.
General Knowledge

Why Don’t Gas Grills Use Lava Rocks Anymore?

It sounds like a “when I was your age” story, but it’s not; once upon a time, we loaded up our gas grills with lava rocks. Sounds straight out of a Flintstones episode? Well, it’s true. And here’s why we did it, and why we stopped.

Ribs on a charcoal grill, with a thermometer probe attached.
General Knowledge

How Much Charcoal Should You Use in Your Grill or Smoker?

Got your bag of charcoal ripped open, and you’re ready to grill? Now you’re asking yourself, “How much of this stuff do I need?” As always, we’ve got this — keep scrolling to learn the right amount of charcoal to use for every type of grilling and smoking session.

Four kinds of peppercorns on spoons, on a white surface.
Ingredients

Different Types of Peppercorn, Pepper, Their Flavors and Substitutions

Learn all about the different types and varieties of peppercorns. From the common black, through white and green, to the more esoteric pink and red, and even some peppers that aren’t from peppercorns at all. With origins, flavor profile, and uses, there’s a lot discussed here.

Pork belly slices with very good-looking, crispy crackled skin.
General How Tos

How to Get Crispy Pork Skin and Make Crackling — Right Every Time!

Get crispy pork skin — or even better, full on crackling — by following the simple tips in this guide, that work every time. We also cover a few things to avoid, because you can sabotage your crackling even when you think you've done everything right...when you haven't!

Photos of smoked or grilled tri-tip and brisket side by side.
Ingredients

Tri-Tip Vs Brisket — What’s the Difference? Which is Best?

Tri-tip and brisket are large, very popular cuts of beef for BBQ and smoking, that produce delicious dishes and will impress any guests lucky enough for you to cook for. Learn about each, their differences, and how to choose the right one.

spare ribs vs St Louis ribs, one photo each, side by side.
Ribs

Spare Ribs Vs. St. Louis Ribs — Differences and How to Smoke Them

The difference between spare and St Louis ribs is minimal. They're close to the same thing and are mostly treated the same during cooking. Learn all about these two cuts and the subtle differences between them here, where we answer all your burning questions on these two pork rib types.

A smoked brisket flat next to some burnt ends in two photos side by side.
Brisket

Brisket Point Vs Flat — What’s the Difference? Which is Best?

The brisket is two muscles joined, commonly called the point and the flat, that when bought together are described as a whole packer brisket. What is the difference between these two halves? Why choose one over the other? Which do most think is best? Let's find out.

photos of a sirloin steak and a ribeye steak side by side.
Ingredients

Sirloin Vs Ribeye: Important Differences and Which is Better

Sirloin and ribeye, two of the most popular, most loved steaks in the world. But which is best? Or why would you choose one over the other? This detailed comparison looks at where they come from, flavor and texture, uses, and great recipes for each.

Some of the best steaks for grilling laid out on a dark surface, with spices and kitchen tools.
Grilling Theory

11 Best Steaks for Grilling — And Exactly How to Cook Each One

Because not all steaks are created equal, we decided to cook up a selection of eleven steaks for you to try on your grill. From all-time favorites to a handful of lesser-known but outstanding cuts, these are the best steaks for grilling that you simply must try.