Honey is part of what makes barbecue, barbecue. We’ve blogged before about salad dressings and glazes with honey. Here’s a quick guide to grilling and barbecuing with it. Honey can go with most anything, but you have to know how to use it.
Why BBQ Pros Grill with Local Hive Honey
Honey Retains Moisture: Yes, honey adds sweetness. But more importantly, it also adds moisture. When you marinade or brine your meat with a few tablespoons of honey, it loses less moisture during cooking as the temperature rises.
Honey Makes Marinades Last Longer: Honey never spoils, and it makes the perfect “glue” to hold together all the ingredients in a marinade. If you’re marinating your meat long-term, like overnight, honey will help all those flavors stick together. And it’s not like the sweetness overpowers the other ingredients. It makes a perfect complement to savory marinade standbys like soy sauce, mustard, and Worcestershire.
Honey Makes for a Crispy, Crunchy Coating: When honey caramelizes, it can pump up the Maillard reaction that makes the browned sides of cooked meats taste so good. Try it for yourself with one of these glazes, adding a bit of liquid to the honey until it’s just thin enough to drizzle:
- Honey and olive oil
- Honey and water
- Honey and juice (orange, lime or pineapple)
(Find your new favorite Local Hive Honey here. We’ve got 23+ varietals from around the U.S.)
Tips on Grilling with Local Hive Honey
There are two ways to grill with honey: as a marinade or by brushing it on. It’s easier to work with as a marinade for all the reasons listed above: honey binds ingredients together, doesn’t spoil, adds moisture, and enhances meat’s texture. But many BBQers just prefer to brush it on. That’s no problem, just as long as you come prepared. Here’s how to prevent any sticky situations.
Always Mix Local Hive Honey with Another Liquid
If you just pour honey on meet while you grill, it will burn quickly and char your cut before it’s cooked through. But in a brine or sauce, honey can handle direct heat by sticking to the meat. Honey’s sticky consistency can also make it hard to brush, baste, or mop onto your meat. Whisking it into another liquid – even just water – will help, and if you use a natural tenderizer like citrus juice, your marinade will do double duty, making your cuts even better.
Get The Thickness Right
Make sure your Local Hive Honey sauce is thick enough to stick, but thin enough so it doesn’t form clumps. These are more likely to burn, char or drip off your meat. Add liquid a little at a time and whisk together to get it just right.
Use Indirect Heat to Caramelize Local Hive Honey
Most grills have hot spots. But if you learn where they are on your grill, you can use them to your advantage. When grilling with honey, start with your meat on a cooler section of the grill, using indirect heat to slowly caramelize it. This locks in that flavor and can help retain the texture in your meat. Then, just before your meat is finished, move it over direct heat to sear it for about a minute. Make sure to regularly check the temperature of your grill, and use a meat thermometer to know when your cuts are almost done.