BBQ Tips – Guest post from SPI Group’s resident BBQ Master

Did you know that the term “barbeque” specifically references Texas style slow smoking of beef brisket? Now it’s an overall term for a cooking method over open fire or flames. My preferred method is over specialty wood charcoal on my Weber kettle although the gas grill is always great for quick jobs.

#1 Tip – start with a great piece of meat!! Visit your local butcher in the grocery store and talk to them about what you are doing: how many people, time and temperature of cook, desired outcome. They are a great resource for picking the right meat and getting it on the table perfectly.
Prepare the meat BEFORE cooking. Cut off excess fat and connective tissue. Tie-up loose ends or smaller parts of the cut so they don’t dry out during cook of the larger piece. And, I like to either dry rub or brine depending on the desired final outcome. SAFETY FIRST!! I always wear disposable rubber gloves and use a cutting board reserved for raw meat only. My family doesn’t need salmonella and listeria lurking around our house.

#2 Tip – Proper cooking surface preparation!! I always scrub the pre-heated grilling surface with a grill brush to remove burned-on pieces. Once the grill is at proper temperature, just like pre-heating your oven, I rub oil or oil/lecithin blend on the clean and hot surface with a soaked paper towel wrapped around a spatula or fork. The outside crust will hold in the important juice and flavor, if the meat sticks to the grill, it will leak out like a lost plug.
Sauce or glaze should be added in the last 10 minutes of cook, it will only burn-on and make a mess of flavor and appearance if you do it too soon.

#3 Tip – Cook on the grill to 10 degrees below desired internal temp, remove and let the meat rest for 15-20 minutes. It will continue to cook and meet your desired internal temp on rest. This also allows the meat fibers to slowly cool so it will not let go of the ever elusive juices. REST is one of the most important steps in serving a juicy piece of meat.

To serve, cut against the grain with a sharp knife. We recommend sharing your barbeque with loved ones, enjoying with your favorite beverage……for more helpful tips and hints, contact us!

The World of Functional Fiber

J. RETTENMAIER VITACEL® functional dietary fibers can be used in a variety of food products- including breads and bakery items, cheese, pasta, cereals, and meats – all without adding calories. An ideal ingredient for reduced calorie and fiber enriched applications, VITACEL® fibers contribute functional and nutritional benefits. The combination of technological benefits, cost effectiveness and health-promoting benefits enhance marketable customer value of food products.

We recently tasted chocolate chip muffins with 50% of the added fat replaced by fiber and water. Since fiber can hold on to moisture and does not release it during the baking process, the moisture retention was excellent! The texture of the “test” muffins was more moist; much less dry than the control – a great example of fiber’s use in bakery items! The “test” muffin also had less fat, lower calories and higher fiber.

The range of products includes powdered Cellulose, Oat, Wheat, Sugarcane, Potato, Pea, Apple, Orange, and other functional Cellulose fibers.

For nutritional purposes, you can use VITACEL® ingredients to reach a specific fiber claim, such as “good source of fiber” on your package. For help with fiber claims, starting formulas, demonstrations, or an opportunity to discuss dietary fiber with an expert, please contact your favorite SPI Group sales representative!

Malted barley flour Q and A

Have you wondered just what is malted barley flour? Thanks to our friends at Briess, all SPI Group sales managers are knowledgeable malt experts !

Q: What is malted barley flour?
A: Malted Barley Flour is a whole grain flour milled from whole kernel malted barley. It has approximately the same particle size as wheat flour.

Q: How is malted barley made and why is it considered “natural”?
A: Malted barley is made when raw barley is naturally processed (malted) using only water, heat and time. Because the raw barley is minimally processed, it is considered “natural”. There are three steps of the malting process:

1) Steeping— Raw barley is alternately submerged and drained for 40-48 hours in steep tanks until a moisture level of 40% or greater is achieved. This activates the embryo to initiate enzyme development and growth of the rootlets. This is the beginning of germination.

2) Germination— Steeped grain is then moved to a germination compartment where germination continues for four to seven days at controlled temperature, humidity and oxygen levels. During germination the barley is modified. Modification refers to the breakdown of complex proteins and carbohydrates which opens up the starch reserves. Enzymes in germinating barley include high levels of alpha amylase, and lower levels of beta amylase and proteases. This is known as the diastatic system and that’s where the term diastatic malt comes from. More on that later.

3) Drying (kilning)—Drying on a kiln or roaster halts germination. Gentle kiln drying preserves enzymes and develops malty flavors. Higher temperature drying in a kiln and/or roaster results in more unique flavor development and decreases or completely denatures enzymes.

Q: Is Malt the same as Malted Barley?
A: According to the USDA, “Malt” is considered the same as “Malted Barley” for labeling purposes. When other grains are malted, the grain must be identified on the label, i.e., “Malted Wheat” or “Malted Rye”. All malts are GRAS ingredients.

Q: Why barley? And why malt it in the first place?
A: Barley is the ideal cereal grain for malting and, ultimately, brewing. It is self-contained, having a husk to protect the germ, high starch-to-protein ratio for high yields, a complete enzyme system, self-adjusting pH, light color and neutral flavor. The process of malting barley opens up the starch reserves, making them more readily available for brewing. That’s why malt, or malted barley, is the basic ingredient used in the production of beer. Malt provides complex carbohydrates and sugars necessary for fermentation, as well as contributes flavor and color that are uniquely characteristic of beer. All of these benefits are equally beneficial to many food applications, whether the malt is diastatic or nondiastatic.

Have more questions? Want to know how to use malt in your new product development? Contact your friendly SPI Group sales representative for more information!