The job of a pitmaster is never ending.
From the view of the patron, the taste is the only thing that matters. That’s always been my perspective when it came to BBQ’s.
I could get my mouth to watering whenever I smelled that tantalizing aroma from a distance and it would eventually lead me right up to the pit to place my order. I never realized, until recently, the enormous work that went into making that sandwich as celebrated as it was.
A pitmaster is the mainstay of the grilling world and few realize that he or she has dedicated much of their time to producing that 5-minute treat for your taste buds.
To begin with, the process starts long before the meat hits the grill:
- Knowledge of the grilling equipment, air flow, seasonings, cooking times are all skills that require great amounts of time to learn and to master. Most pitmasters will tell you that the learning process is still going on many years after they started.
- Food prep time is one of those unseen activities that go on behind the scenes such as marinating. Marinating any meat is essential to the enhancement of the flavor and depending on the meat, might need to be started the night before the cook-out. This is a process that can’t be overlooked or shortened. Marinating not only brings out the best in flavor it also tenderizes the meat.
- The presentation of the food being grill is an especially important concept as it needs to be as enticing as the aromas. The products are the trophies of the pitmaster but they must be competitively priced if they are going to sell. Taking a little time to explore the completion will give a clue to the best price.
- Once the meat is to the point of thoroughly cooked, the current serving temp must be maintained to keep the meat safe and edible while waiting on the customer to buy. And of the customer, probably one of the more important aspects is to keep them happy is to keep them coming back. A loyal, satisfied customer will seek out a good pitmaster where ever they are cooking.
Hopefully this puts a little more perspective into that delicious bite when you know that the pitmaster’s work is never done.