Purdue meat scientist gives 12 tips for a better barbecue

Meat scientist gives tips for a better barbecue
Meat scientist gives tips for a better barbecue
Posted at 4:06 PM, May 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-26 17:23:13-04

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – If you think you’re a grill master, one woman at Purdue University has made a living as a meat scientist.

Stacy Zuelly is a professional at selecting and cooking meat as an assistant professor of animal sciences. With the grilling season just around the corner, Zuelly gives her 12 best tips to upgrade your backyard cookout.

She said the best way to begin your grilling is by selecting the best cuts of meat.

“People often go to the store with a set amount of money and pick up the cheapest steak they can find,” said Zuelly. “And then they’re disappointed when they have a dry steak.”

The meat scientist said generally animals fatten from front to rear, so if you’re looking for more flavor – you’re going to want more fat.

If you aren’t confident you can select the best, Zuelly offers a class called BBQ Boot Camp, where participants can learn how to become a better meat chef. Participants walk away learning how to make the perfect burger, rubs and sauces.

The next course will be held June 8 in Tipton County.

Here are some of Zuelly’s 12 tips for a better barbecue:

  1. Buy a meat thermometer and use it: Thermometers will keep meat safe and prevent overcooking
  2. If you’re looking for an easy barbecuing experience, pick a center cut: Cuts from the center are most tender
  3. Don’t discount the limbs. They just need more love: Cuts from the limb will be less tender
  4. Select front cuts; they will be more flavorful: Animals fatten from front to rear
  5. While at the grocery store or butcher shop, look at the cut information: Be sure to read cut information at the grocery store
  6. Use your cut selection to determine your cooking method: Any meat with enough fat can be grilled
  7. Select a steak with marbling: “When you choose U.S. high Choice and Prime, you get the most consistency in getting this type of selection.”
  8. Know what different certified breeds offer you: Certified meats are required to meet a certain standard for that breed, “which means you know that you’ll get a certain standard of marbling and will have a bit more consistently.” 
  9. Know what cuts to look for in beef: Zuelly recommends the sirloin, which comes from the middle-back portion of the animal.
  10. Learn to pick out the best pork selections: You should look for the marbling and color – go for reddish pink meats
  11. Don’t underestimate the importance of grilling poultry well: Many grilling or cooking instructions for poultry can be misleading, said Zuelly, which is why meat thermometers are important


  1. Don’t ruin lamb by over-seasoning: “You don’t need rosemary and mint jelly to make it good.” she says.