When barbecues are advertised, usually the maximum achievable temperature, the number of burners and the speed of heating up are the elements that are highlighted. That is understandable as good branding of powerful roast flavours depends crucially on higher heat levels. The Outdoorchef Arosa is also able to reach up to 500 degrees. But another figure gives the Outdoorchef its unique character. Not the extremely high temperatures, but its ability to be able to maintain low temperatures over a long period of time makes it a true wonder when it comes to preparing dishes that benefit from being cooked at a low heat for a sustained period of time. The promise: the barbecue can maintain temperatures from 80 degrees for hours or even days.
80 degrees for a sustained period – how does that work?
In order to be able to maintain temperatures below 100 degrees, only a very small amount of gas must be emitted from the burner, the flames must be kept small in order not to create too much heat. The smaller the flames the bigger the risk is that the fire will be extinguished by a light gust of wind or by rain. Especially with long grilling processes the temperature isn’t permanently checked – so reliability is key. The patented technology behind the low temperature functionality of the Outdoorchef Arosa is the FlameGuard. It ensures that the gas is always reignited so that the supply is guaranteed not to be interrupted at a low heat, so long as there is enough gas in the gas bottle. At the same time you can check from a distance by using the Safety Light to see whether a sufficient gas supply is still guaranteed. This opens up completely new worlds of grilling opportunities using low temperatures.
Why is low temperature cooking so important?
Whereas cuts from pure muscle meat are cooked briefly at a very hot temperature, lots of beef and pork cuts need a sustained low heat in order to even be palatable. All parts of the body that are subjected to heavy loads and forces contain hard-wearing tendons and tough connective tissue. These are all of the parts of the animal that move a lot. This includes the haunch, the shoulder section, legs, breast and also the neck. The high proportion of connective tissue and tendons makes this meat almost impossible to chew in its raw state. At temperatures above 60 degrees this connective tissue (also known as collagen) starts to transform into creamy and tender gelatine. But this process is time-consuming. A pork neck or a beef brisket need at least 24 hours in order to become tender and also juicy when cooked at 80 degrees.
The secret of collagen
Juicy is a good keyword here. The transformation of collagen into gelatine can be naturally accelerated by cooking at higher temperatures. However the muscle flesh part dries out quickly, which makes the meat unpalatable again. So it is only the combination of sustained and low heat, which evenly makes the meat become tender and juicy. Now you might ask, why a fillet becomes dry after being cooked for 24 hours at 80 degrees, but a pork neck doesn’t? Here too the answer lies in the collagen. The gelatine, which is formed from the collagen, is able to absorb ten times its own weight in liquid. However due to the heat some water is pressed out of the cells by the muscles, but the gelatine absorbs the water that escapes and stores it. This results in a uniquely creamy and juicy taste sensation, which can only be achieved by this Low & Slow process.
Typical Low & Slow dishes
Most of the Low & Slow classics come from the USA. Their Holy Trinity of barbecue classics - pulled pork, beef brisket and spare ribs - is based on the concept of slow cooking. American barbecuing is based much more on this slow cooking process than what we in Germany mean when we talk about barbecuing. Steaks aren’t suitable for being cooked for hours. There is an area between steaks and Low & Slow made up of roasting joints like a whole entrecote, which is brought to a core temperature of approximately 56 degrees by cooking at a low temperature for around 2-3 hours. It is more a matter of achieving this degree of cooking as slowly and gently as possible, without overcooking the edges. The desired temperature should not be exceeded. The cooking process is therefore completed upon reaching the core temperature, mostly after a maximum of three hours.
Advantages of the Outdoorchef Arosa
In addition to the key technologies already mentioned enabling you to maintain a sustained low temperature the large surface area of the Outdoorchef Arosa is also an immense advantage in comparison with the oven or with other barbecues. This is because the entire surface can be covered with meat for the Low & Slow process, not just certain zones. This is made possible by the even heat distribution in the whole kettle area, which is a result of the special design and the funnel technology. In this way large quantities of meat can be prepared for a number of guests – without having to worry that something might go wrong.