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Thermodynamics Of Cooking Explained!

In simple definition, thermodynamics is the transfer of heat from one object to another. This concept is also applicable in cooking food. Thermodynamics is the process of both cooking and defrosting. If you master the process, then you will have healthier, tastier, and safer cooked foods.

Hot cooking ways like grilling, frying, or sauteing have a fast reaction that develops a crust. These kinds of strategies are applied to seal in the juices and flavors in the food.

Gradual cooking ways like braising, baking, and steaming are all about equal distribution of heat. This implies that the food is totally cooked all the way through, rather than being raw in the middle and brown on the outside. You will get amazing results if you combine these two tactics of cooking.

Defrosting

There are two safe ways when defrosting. A little bit of planning is needed, and you need to defrost food slowly.

1. In a bowl inside the refrigerator. This is the slowest but the best method to preserve the texture of food.

2. In cold water that is running. This is the fastest way in defrosting food.

Note: Never use hot when defrosting food, this can develop bacteria on the food. This is a candidate for food poisoning!

How About Thermodynamics On Gas Grills?

An outdoor grill may seem to be a simple tool, but it is actually a sophisticated tool that needs to be fully understood to produce tasty food outdoors. This is also one of the requirements before you buy a gas grill or any type of grill.

When cooking food using a grill, the laws of physics and chemistry are still applicable. Do you still remember the teachings you have learned from school? If you want to cook great food, then you should know that cooking needs physics and chemistry, with some tricks included. Below are some of the concepts that every cook should know.

Cooking – Explicitly Defined

Food are mainly composed of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and water. Cooking is transferring heat energy from a source to the food until its chemistry is changed – the desired flavor, appearance, juiciness, tenderness, texture, and nutrition is achieved.

Heat Cooks Food in 4 Ways

When the molecules vibrate with each other very fast, the temperature gets higher, and the food gets hot. In cooking on a grill, heat is transferred to food via conduction, convection, radiation, excitation, induction.

Let’s talk about them one by one:

Conduction

This process is the transfer of heat to the food by direct contact with the source of heat. Cooking a chicken on a frying pan is a good example of conduction. When the meat gets hotter than the outside, and the heat goes to the center through fats and moisture, it is also called conduction.

Convection

This is a process of heat transfer by way of fluid like water, air, or oil. Cooking a turkey inside an oven is a good illustration where the turkey is surrounded by hot air. However, the inside of the meat is cooked via conduction since the heat travels through it.

Radiation

Is the process of heat transfer by direct exposure from a heat or energy source. Grilling a meat over a hot burning coals is called radiation with an exception of the parts in contact with the grates.

Excitation

This is the concept of a  microwave oven. Microwaves use radio waves that get inside the food and vibrate the molecules inside until it gets hot. In this process, there is no need to heat the air.

Induction

This is the newest technique in heating food. A copper coil is used under a cooktop with an alternating current generating a changing electromagnetic field. The electrons in the metal pots put above the electromagnets are pushed by the changing magnetism, and this result to heat. The pot conducts the heat to the food without heating the air or cooktop. Induction is very efficient in energy. However, it does not work in aluminum, glass, or copper pots.

A Cook Should Know How to Master the Flame and Time

To master cooking, you should know how to combine heat and time. You indoor oven has 3 components for controlling heat and time – timer, heat source, and thermostat. Your outdoor grill has source of heat, but only few possess timer and thermostat. This is the reason why cooking outdoors is hard.

To cook tasty food outdoors, you should know how to master heat and time. Most grills provide thermometer, but they are usually junk. You should get a good thermometer for you gas grill. Find out more about how gas grills work and its best setups here.

You should also know the temperature of your meat. Cooking without a thermometer is like driving with no speedometer. You might think that it is enough or ready, but it is not. Some digital thermometers have timers. But if your thermometer does not have one, you should use your watch and remember the time you put the meat. Some say that you can cook by smell, feel, and sight. Once you learn how to cook, you can depend on your senses, but if you are not, go get a thermometer and a timer.