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7 Tips for Better Barbecue from a BBQ Master

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The days are getting longer, the weather’s getting warmer … time to fire up the grill! We asked Myron Mixon—a.k.a. the winningest man in barbeque, who started cooking with his dad when he was just 9 and has earned a staggering 1700 trophies in his career—for some tips to help you nail it this barbecue season.

1. DO YOUR RESEARCH.

Barbecuing isn’t as easy as throwing some meat on a grill. “It is important to research and understand the process,” Mixon says. When he first started in competitions, he says, he had only trial and error to guide him, but now, there are many avenues available to the novice BBQ chef. “There is so much information out there,” he says. “Read cookbooks, take classes, search the Internet, watch shows. It will make you a better pitmaster.” It also helps to have a working knowledge of your equipment, so don't be afraid to read the user's manual!

2. ALWAYS, ALWAYS PREP.

“Prepping is very important in barbecuing,” Mixon says. It encompasses everything from selecting the cut and quality of your meat to how you cut up that meat to flavoring your future meal with seasoning and marinades. How well you prep, he says, directly translates to how delicious your meal is: “Great prep, great barbecue.”

3. HAVE A MEAT THERMOMETER—AND USE IT.

A meat thermometer is a must, for one very simple reason: “The most common mistake made in barbecuing is undercooking or overcooking,” Mixon says. “The best cooks use an internal meat thermometer to make sure the product is cooked perfectly.”

4. PICK THE RIGHT SAUCE FOR YOUR MEAT …

Mixon likes vinegar-based sauces on pork, mustard-based sauces on poultry, and tomato-based spicy sauce on beef. “[Avoid] any sauce that's so overpowering that it masks the natural flavor of the meat,” he says.

5. … AND DON’T BE AFRAID TO EXPERIMENT WITH FLAVORS.

“A little twist to flavors for your barbecue can be as simple as adding puréed fresh fruit to the sauce before being applied to the meat,” Mixon says. He recommends things like blueberries, strawberries, and applesauce.

6. KEEP THE SIDES SIMPLE.

“For me, BBQ is a simple food with simple ingredients and the process is easy,” Mixon says. “My [side] dishes are the same.” He makes his mom’s fish slaw, which is made of coarse cut cabbage, diced tomatoes and onions, mayo, salt and pepper, and his peach BBQ beans, which he creates using baked beans, peach pie filling, and red bell peppers.

7. AND REMEMBER, YOU’RE THE BOSS.

The one thing to remember when you’re making barbecue, Mixon says, is to “always cook and flavor the barbecue the way you, the pitmaster, like it. Your grill, your yard, your way.”

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science
6 Radiant Facts About Irène Joliot-Curie
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Though her accomplishments are often overshadowed by those of her parents, the elder daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie was a brilliant researcher in her own right.

1. SHE WAS BORN TO, AND FOR, GREATNESS.

A black and white photo of Irene and Marie Curie in the laboratory in 1925.
Irène and Marie in the laboratory, 1925.
Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

Irène’s birth in Paris in 1897 launched what would become a world-changing scientific dynasty. A restless Marie rejoined her loving husband in the laboratory shortly after the baby’s arrival. Over the next 10 years, the Curies discovered radium and polonium, founded the science of radioactivity, welcomed a second daughter, Eve, and won a Nobel Prize in Physics. The Curies expected their daughters to excel in their education and their work. And excel they did; by 1925, Irène had a doctorate in chemistry and was working in her mother’s laboratory.

2. HER PARENTS' MARRIAGE WAS A MODEL FOR HER OWN.

Like her mother, Irène fell in love in the lab—both with her work and with another scientist. Frédéric Joliot joined the Curie team as an assistant. He and Irène quickly bonded over shared interests in sports, the arts, and human rights. The two began collaborating on research and soon married, equitably combining their names and signing their work Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie.

3. SHE AND HER HUSBAND WERE AN UNSTOPPABLE PAIR.

Black and white photo of Irène and Fréderic Joliot-Curie working side by side in their laboratory.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Their passion for exploration drove them ever onward into exciting new territory. A decade of experimentation yielded advances in several disciplines. They learned how the thyroid gland absorbs radioiodine and how the body metabolizes radioactive phosphates. They found ways to coax radioactive isotopes from ordinarily non-radioactive materials—a discovery that would eventually enable both nuclear power and atomic weaponry, and one that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935.

4. THEY FOUGHT FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE.

The humanist principles that initially drew Irène and Frédéric together only deepened as they grew older. Both were proud members of the Socialist Party and the Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes (Vigilance Committee of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals). They took great pains to keep atomic research out of Nazi hands, sealing and hiding their research as Germany occupied their country, Irène also served as undersecretary of state for scientific research of the Popular Front government.

5. SHE WAS NOT CONTENT WITH THE STATUS QUO.

Irène eventually scaled back her time in the lab to raise her children Hélène and Pierre. But she never slowed down, nor did she stop fighting for equality and freedom for all. Especially active in women’s rights groups, she became a member of the Comité National de l'Union des Femmes Françaises and the World Peace Council.

6. SHE WORKED HERSELF TO DEATH.

Irène’s extraordinary life was a mirror of her mother’s. Tragically, her death was, too. Years of watching radiation poisoning and cancer taking their toll on Marie never dissuaded Irène from her work. In 1956, dying of leukemia, she entered the Curie Hospital, where she followed her mother’s luminous footsteps into the great beyond.

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Live Smarter
You Can Now Order Food Through Facebook
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After a bit of controversy over its way of aggregating news feeds and some questionable content censoring policies, it’s nice to have Facebook roll out a feature everyone can agree on: allowing you to order food without leaving the social media site.

According to a press release, Facebook says that the company decided to begin offering food delivery options after realizing that many of its users come to the social media hub to rate and discuss local eateries. Rather than hop from Facebook to the restaurant or a delivery service, you’ll be able to stay within the app and select from a menu of food choices. Just click “Order Food” from the Explore menu on a desktop interface or under the “More” option on Android or iOS devices. There, you’ll be presented with options that will accept takeout or delivery orders, as well as businesses participating with services like Delivery.com or EatStreet.

If you need to sign up and create an account with Delivery.com or Jimmy John’s, for example, you can do that without leaving Facebook. The feature is expected to be available nationally, effective immediately.

[h/t Forbes]

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