Saturday, August 16, is the Third Annual Inspiring Possibilities BBQ Cook-Off. All proceeds raised will go toward programs designed to help specially-challenged youths discover the joys of success through traditional martial arts. If you’re a cook or a BBQ lover, this may be that weekend’s hot spot in Houston, Texas. Sandwich plates are only five dollars, and the champion winner of the best Texas BBQ plate will score a grand prize of $300.00.
If you suffer from a TMJ disorder, you don’t have to take a pass on this year’s event. This week, we offer smart tips to follow so that you can enjoy some of the best cuisine our state has to offer.
Don’t make marinade assumptions
One of the biggest assumptions people make when eating BBQ is that marinades have tenderized the meat. People further believe that the longer a meat is marinated, the better. This is actually false. World Chef Harold McGee has pointed out it would actually take over a week to truly soften a meat with a marinade. At best, most marinades simply coat the surface of a meat, providing a tangy flavor.
Slow cooked so it falls off the bone
It’s not about the marinade, it’s about slow cooking time. Quality barbecue has likely been slow cooked for seven to nine hours, or longer. This makes the meat so tender and succulent, it should almost slide right off the bone. For patients with TMJ pain, the softer the meat, the better.
When attending BBQ cook-offs, ask around. Find out which meats have been especially slow cooked. Chefs won’t mind. In fact, they’ll likely give you an earful as they brag about their old family recipes.
Shoulder meat, yes. Gristle, no
Compared to chicken and beef, some of the most tender meat available is pork shoulder cuts. Take that into consideration when ordering BBQ. And by all means, avoid gristle. It’s tough to chew and may only exacerbate TMJ symptoms.
Ditch the bun
You may want to consider ordering meats that are not served on buns or Texas-sized toast. Eating buns often requires one to open their mouth wide. For TMD patients, this could result in painful clicking and locking.
Don’t rely on plastic utensils offered at public events. Bring your own knife to fine-cut meats and other side servings. This utensil can discreetly be carried in a purse or bag. Wrap the knife with paper towels or a cloth napkin to prevent injury when retrieving. Also make sure you place the knife in a plastic Ziplock bag so that it remains sanitary.
Needless to say, chopped beef and pork spare one of the trouble of having to make additional cuts. But for brisket, ribs and chicken, finely chop up with your knife. Also make sure the bite sizes on your fork are small and easy to chew.
From Dr. Auvenshine and the MedCenter TMJ team, bon appetite!