Did My Chicken Go Bad?

Can’t remember how long ago you put those chicken breasts in the refrigerator? Attempting to figure out whether or not meat is still okay to eat can be confusing; you don’t want to take a risk, but you also don’t want to waste perfectly good meat. Rather than going back and forth, and potentially making the wrong choice, simply take the time to do a little investigating.

If you are wondering how to tell if your fowl has gone foul, continue reading to learn what you can do to make a safe judgement.

BBQ Smoked Chicken 317-688-7290

BBQ Smoked Chicken 317-688-7290

Consuming spoiled chicken can certainly be unpleasing to the palate, but more seriously, it can be detrimental to your health. For this reason, it is important to know the difference between “good” chicken and “bad” chicken.

The “sniff and stare” test is usually the go-to method of determining the quality of raw chicken. Many people assume they can tell if meat has gone bad by detecting changes in smell, texture, or color. However, this may not be the most accurate approach. Changes like these simply indicate that the meat is aging and losing quality. It is the internal, food-borne bacteria to watch out for, and these are not detectable with a “sniff and stare” test.

Food-borne Bacteria

There are two primary types of food-borne bacteria; one type can make you sick, while the other simply spoils food. Spoilage bacteria will not necessarily give a person food poisoning, but it can cause a stomach ache or digestive issues. You can tell when raw meat has this form of bacteria brewing because it will look and feel slimy, and may have a white film. Eating it will not be a pleasant experience, but it will not send a person to the hospital either. In contrast, bacteria that makes a person sick is not visible to the naked eye, so you cannot tell if it is present in your chicken or not.

Avoiding a Food-borne Illness

The best way to avoid contracting a food-borne illness from such bacteria is to follow the recommended storing and cooking methods for all kinds of poultry, including turkey, duck, quail, and pigeon. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA), it is important to always cook poultry to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you have raw chicken in your refrigerator for a few days, you can put it in your freezer to preserve its quality, so long as the freezer is set to 0 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Bacteria will not grow in the freezer under these conditions. After thawing your chicken, the USDA suggests cooking it within two days to remain safe. If you thaw out your chicken, but do not use all of it, you can re-freeze it again as long as it wasn’t cross-contaminated in any way. When it comes to any kind of raw meat, just remember:
When in doubt, toss it out!

Come Try the Excellent Smoked Chicken at Rackz BBQ!

Rackz BBQ Carmel, IN 317-688-7290

Rackz BBQ

Rackz BBQ offers a wide selection of delicious smoked meats and southern comfort foods that are sure to please the entire family. If you don’t have time to sit down at our Carmel BBQ restaurant, place a takeout order for a hot and fresh meal on the go! Contact us at 317-688-7290 to place a call ahead order, or to learn more about our menu selections, prices, and specials.

The Types of Connective Tissues in Meat

When discussing meat preparation and cooking, “connective tissue” is used as an umbrella term to describe a variety of connective tissues found in a cut of meat, such as ligaments, tendons, silver skin, fibrous tissues, and more.

Continue reading to learn about the difference types of connective tissues in meat, including their purpose and how they react to being cooked.

Smoked Meat Dinners 317-688-7290

Smoked Meat Dinners 317-688-7290

Most Common Connective Tissues

In a standard cut of meat, the type of connective tissues present will vary depending on various factors. The most common connective tissues are ligaments, tendons, silverskin, and muscle fibers. Ligaments connect the bones together, while tendons connect muscle to the bone. Silverskin is a white layer of fibrous tissue that encases the entire muscle. Then there are individual muscle fibers that are sheathed within the connective tissues, and are not as easy to see.

What They Do

The purpose of connective tissue is to pull bones into movement when muscle fibers contract. This is why they need to be strong. Additionally, the harder muscles are forced to work, the thicker and tougher any sheathing will be around the muscle fibers. This is why cuts like shoulders and legs have more connective tissue than cuts like ribs and back portions. Shoulders and legs tend to experience higher activity levels than the back and rib areas of an animal.

Connective Tissue Composition

Not only are connective tissues assigned different roles, they are made from different organic components that respond in a different way when cooked. The two most common organic components found in connective tissues are proteins called elastin and collagen.

Elastin is a protein that forms the silverskin and ligaments in a cut of meat. It is what we would consider the “gristle” part on a steak or other cut of meat. Regardless of cooking method or approach, gristle will always be tough and chewy as a result of the elastin proteins. For this reason, it is common practice to remove as much elastin connective tissue, or gristle, from a cut of meat before it’s cooked.

Collagen is another common protein found in meat. It is responsible for sheathing the elongated muscle fibers that make up a cut of meat. You see, meat is made of these long muscle fibers, and each individual one is encased in coat of collagen. Furthermore, these elongated muscle fibers are bunched together to form larger muscle masses, which are also encased in collagen. These “bundles” of meat fibers are known in the culinary industry as the “grain” of the meat. Interestingly, cartilage also contains collagen, but it is not a type of connective tissue.

Cooking Down Connective Tissue

Collagen is similar to elastin in that it is quite tough in its raw form. You would have a really hard time chewing up a raw piece of beef because all the collagen sheathing is still intact. However, unlike elastin, which has a texture that cannot be changed, collagen can be melted away with the proper cooking styles. Perhaps this is where the real invention of great barbecue and smoked meats originally came from!

You see, collagen will soften and melt when cooked low and slow, between 160 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. It is usually done this way using a smoker or a technique called braising. After being cooked, collagen turns into gelatin, which is the jiggling, translucent substance you see on a prepared cut of meat. Although it doesn’t look appealing, the gelatin coats the muscle fibers, giving meat a moist and succulent texture.

Visit Rackz BBQ for Tender and Juicy Smoked Meats!

Rackz BBQ Carmel, IN 317-688-7290

Rackz BBQ

Rackz BBQ is eager to impress you with our delicious, made from scratch barbecue cuisines. As a Carmel BBQ restaurant dedicated to quality and value, you can trust us for exceptional customer service, neighborhood prices, and most importantly, authentic barbecue fare that you will love. Contact us at 317-688-7290 to place a call ahead order, or to learn more about our menu selections, prices, and specials.

Recommended Tips for Marinating Cuts of Beef

Can’t decide what to make for dinner tonight? You can never go wrong with beef!

Beef is a delicious and highly versatile meat that is easy to prepare, even for the typical novice cook. However, it is a stronger, tougher meat, which means it could use some tenderizing. A great way to tenderize a cut of beef, and enhance its flavor at the same time, is to use a marinade.

As an added bonus to using beef marinades, there are endless combinations of spices, sauces, and other ingredients to use, so you can get as create as you like! Continue reading to learn some helpful information about beef marinades, including popular recipes and recommended marinating times.

BBQ Smoked Meats 317-688-7290

Beef Brisket Dinner 317-688-7290

A Strong Marinade and the Right Timing

The two most influential factors to tenderizing a tough cut of beef is a strong marinade and time. With these two factors in perfect balance, you can amaze your friends and family with a juicy and flavorful beef roast, brisket, steak, and more! If you are already working with a tender cut of beef, you can still benefit from using a marinade in terms of taste and nutrition.

The General Rules for Marinating Beef

The general rule of thumb is to use a quarter cup of marinade per each pound of beef. So if you are working with a 7 pound brisket, you would need to use 1 ¾ cup of marinade for the entire cut. You can use any container with an airtight seal to marinade your meats, however a 1 gallon zipped-locked plastic bag works wonders, and it is disposal so you have less clean up. Larger cuts of beef that cannot fit into a 1 gallon bag can be placed in a sealed container instead.

Do not use a metal container if your marinade contains an acid-based ingredient like vinegar, citrus juice, and tomatoes. This will make the meat taste very unpleasant since metal reacts with the acid. When storing and marinating your beef, be sure to turn the meat periodically so that the mixture contacts all sides, equally. Keep your marinating meal in the refrigerator between 32 and 37 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beef Marinade Recipes

The most effective marinades are those made from a universal base of liquid and acid. From there, you can add any herbs, spices, sauces, and other ingredients to build a flavor profile. You can combine them all together naturally, or you can blend them together in a food processor (or blender) to create a puree. Here are some tasty beef marinade combinations you can try:

BrisketWorcestershire sauce, garlic salt, onion salt, pepper, liquid smoke, ketchup, brown sugar, lemon juice, mustard, and hot pepper sauce.

Rump Roast – Soy sauce, vegetable oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, and pepper.

Chuck Roast – Soy sauce, orange juice, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar.

Pot Roast – Soy sauce, red wine vinegar, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, mustard, fresh rosemary, and garlic.

Steak – Soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, basil, parsley, pepper, hot pepper sauce, and garlic.

Standard Marinating Times

The amount of time you marinate your cut of beef is important, but it is also dependent on the type of meat you are preparing. Use the guide below for some average marinating times for the most popular cuts of beef.

Brisket (Trimmed) 10 – 12 hours
Brisket (Untrimmed) 16 – 18 hours
Chuck Steak 4 – 6 hours
Chuck Roasts 8 – 10 hours
Flank Steak 4 – 6 hours
Rib Steak 30 minutes – 1 hour
Rib Roast 1 – 2 hours
Round Steak 4 – 6 hours
Sirloin Steak 2 – 4 hours
Tenderloin Roast 1 – 2 hours
Tri-Tip Roast 4 – 6 hours

Visit Rackz BBQ for Mouthwatering Beef Brisket and More!

BBQ Smoked Meats 317-688-7290

Rackz BBQ Brisket Dinner

Rackz BBQ is eager to impress you with our delicious beef brisket meals and barbecue cuisines. As a Carmel BBQ restaurant dedicated to quality and value, you can trust us for exceptional customer service, neighborhood prices, and most importantly, authentic barbecue fare that you will love. Contact us at 317-688-7290 to place a call ahead order, or to learn more about our menu selections, prices, and specials.

What You Need to Know About BBQ Rubs

Whether wet, dry, sweet, or spicy, barbecue rubs are a popular option for smoked meat enthusiasts. Using rubs is the perfect way to experiment and customize the flavor of your meat. As you ride the learning curve over time, you will discover the flavors that truly fit your palette, allowing you to produce the ultimate smoked meat masterpiece, every time! It is common to forgo rubs altogether, but if you are interested in giving your product a new twist, trying out a few rub combinations is a great place to start.

Continue reading to learn what you need to know about using BBQ rubs, as well as, some relevant meat smoking tips too!

For Great Smoked Meats and BBQ, Call 317-688-7290!

For Great Smoked Meats and BBQ, Call

What is a BBQ Rub?

A barbecue rub is simply a tailored mixture of herbs, spices, and other flavoring ingredients. Rubs can be either wet or dry, or on a spectrum in between the two. Wet rubs are often referred to as a “rub paste”, while dry rubs are often called “seasoning rubs”, “spice rub”, and “dry marinades.” Barbecue rubs are applied onto meats and other foods for the purpose of enhancing and customizing the flavor. Aside from flavor, barbecue rubs also enhance color and create a highly desirable “bark” on the meat. The bark is one of the most prized parts of a smoked meat; it is a heavy, flavorful, smoke-infused crust that is very juicy and delicious.

Why Use Rubs?

Barbecue rubs are popular methods of flavoring because they stick well to the product while smoked or grilled. In most cases, barbecue rubs are the “secret ingredient” to great smoked meats. If you were to ask any professional smoked meat competitor, they will likely tell you that the secret to their product is “in the rub.” Of course, the method of smoking is also very complex and influential to the overall flavor profiles and colors of the meat. You can’t just rely on the rub alone!

How to Make Rubs

The foundation of nearly all rubs is a salt and sugar combination, with more of an emphasis on the salt side. Since sugar burns at 265 degrees Fahrenheit, and smoked meats are generally cooked below this temperature, you can be generous with your sugar increments. Once you have chosen the perfect salt-to-sugar ratio, you have built the base of your rub. From there, you can add whatever ingredients you like relevant to your cuisine culture or personal taste. Keep in mind that a rub is really just a tailored mix of spices.

Common spices and herbs used to make rubs include:

🌶 Paprika
🌶 Cayenne Pepper
🌶 Black Pepper
🌶 Chili Powder
🌶 Garlic
🌶 Onion Powder
🌶 Cumin
🌶 Oregano
🌶 Lemon Juice
🌶 Lime Juice
🌶 Orange Juice
🌶 Worcestershire Sauce

The proper amount of rub to use is whatever will stick to the meat. Any excess is not necessary. Mix your rub combination together ahead of time, and then transfer it to a shaker. Then shake the mixture evenly all over your product, covering all sides. It is recommended to make a large amount of rub to have on hand for future meat products. Dry rubs can be stored safely for months in a cool, dry area. Wet rubs should be refrigerated and used with two weeks for the best flavors.

Looking for a Great BBQ Meal Near You?

Rackz BBQ Carmel, IN 317-688-7290

Rackz BBQ

If you are craving delicious barbecue smoked meats and homemade side dishes, come to Rackz BBQ in Carmel for authentic flavors and great prices! We offer a wide selection of barbecue classics, house-made sides, and tasty desserts, all prepared using the freshest local ingredients. We also offer call ahead and take out ordering and catering! Call 317-688-7290 to learn more about our current menu selections and specials, anytime.