Everyone has different ideas on what makes the perfect barbecue. For some people, it’s that melt-in-your-mouth texture. For others, it’s the crispy bark on the outside contrasted with the tender, juicy meat. Other people are all about the sauces and rubs or the smoky flavor you can taste. However, no matter what it is you prefer, chances are you probably have grilled something that could benefit from gashing.
What is gashing?
Gashing is when you make a series of cuts on the top or bottom of your meat in order to increase the surface area and create cracks and ridges for your marinade, sauce, or rub to sit. Although gashing can be done any number of ways, usually it involves cutting a cross-hatch pattern in the top of the meat. With some meats, however, slashes are the best option; it really depends on what you’re cooking and the 0the surface area.
Whether or not you realize it, you’re probably already familiar with gashing. Some people also refer to this as “crosshatching” which is both misleading and confusing, in my opinion. Gashing it isn’t always done in a crosshatch pattern, for one, and ‘crosshatching’ is often also used to talk about grill marks.
Why should you gash meat?
While I personally think gashing meat properly makes it look absolutely gorgeous and very professional, there’s actually some real reasons why you should try gashing: flavor.
Basically, when you gash meat, you are increasing the surface area and therefore allowing for more flavor. This is especially important when using any kind of marinade, as it will increase the penetration and therefore the flavoring. However, it can also be useful if you’re just planning on saucing your meat as it offers some nice grooves where the barbecue sauce will collect in all is smoky goodness. If you’re a fan of bark, then gashing provides double the surface area for bark to accumulate, and creates some little crispy areas to enjoy. Gashing really is good for everything.
How do you gash meat?
Gashing meat is simple. All you are doing is cutting marks down into the first 1/2 inch of meat or so. To do a traditional crosshatch pattern, cut several rows one inch apart going one way, and then a second set of marks perpendicular to the first ones–again, one inch apart. You should end up with a series of cute little diamonds.
Depending on what you’re cooking, though, you may not have enough space to do an actual crosshatch pattern. If this is the case, simply cut a series of parallel marks into the meat, leaving at least one inch between them. While you can go deeper than 1/2 inch, I personally wouldn’t for most cuts.
That’s it! Nice and simple. My favorite thing to gash is, strangely enough, hot dogs, as it leaves more surface for your ketchup or relish and makes them look really fancy. Delicious!