Sauces, Mops, Rubs, Seasonings

Mops and rubs give flavor to barbecued meat before or during cooking, and seasonings and sauces give flavor during cooking or after. Each region will have its own favorite flavors and sauces. Mop Sauces Mop sauces are thin and acidic and are used to baste meats during cooking, especially pork, as it slow cooks. Since most mops have little or no sugar, they can baste all throughout the cooking time without fear it will burn. Mops are typically applied with a miniature version of a cotton mop since it soaks up the thinner sauces better than a standard bristle or silicone brush. The vinegary flavor helps to cut the fat flavor in the finished product. A typical recipe for a mop sauce can be as simple as vinegar (white or cider vinegar), chili pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Spiced up versions contain spices or herbs, lemon peel, a little sweetness to cut down the vinegar (like a bit of white or brown sugar, maple syrup or honey), and melted butter or beef stock for richness and flavor. If you want to use the same mop sauce recipe for basting as serving at the table, make sure you keep the sauce for mop basting separate as this will inevitably have raw meat juices in it picked up during the mopping process and you don’t want to cross contaminate. Rubs There are two kinds of rubs: dry rubs and wet rubs. Dry rubs are simply a mixture of dry ingredients rubbed on meats before cooking. Wet rubs are dry rubs with a bit of moisture to make them spreadable or...

What is Low and Slow?

Low and slow is the hallmark of barbecue. It is cooking at a low temperature using indirect heat. Barbecue typically uses larger pieces of meat (whole hog, Boston butt, picnic shoulder, beef brisket). The meat would be overcooked on the outside to reach the proper internal cooking temperature, so longer cooking times at low temps are called for here. The longer cooking time also helps break down the fibers in tougher cuts resulting in tender meat. Renee Shelton Renee’s love for tri tip almost surpasses her love for cake. Almost. Really, it’s a tough call here. When she’s not tasting BBQ and dipping in the sauce, Renee can be found at...

Barbecue Vs. Smoking Vs. Grilling

Both barbecuing and grilling cooking techniques cook meat over open heat, but barbecue involves low and slow cooking with the addition of actual wood smoke. Barbecuing is cooking meat with a definite smoky flavor that naturally penetrates the meat. Barbecuing Barbecue uses larger cuts of meat than grilling, and the heat is indirect. The low and slow heat and cooking times are necessary to make the finished product tender, flavorful, and juicy. These low temperatures range from 200 to 250 degrees F, and are maintained during the entire barbecuing time, often one hour per pound of raw meat. Smoke from wood or wood chips impart flavor into the meat as it is barbecuing. Smoking: Cold or Hot Smoke Smoking meat involves either cold smoking or hot smoking. Cold smoking doesn’t actually cook the meat but gives it a definite smoke flavor. Because this method doesn’t cook the food, temperatures for cold smoking are below 85 degrees F, the meat or seafood being smoked must be cooked or cured before smoking, or cooked after smoking bringing the temperature to 160 F before being served (over 165 degrees or higher for poultry). Hot smoking is a cooking method, where the meat is heated or cooked slowly while using smoke to flavor. Meat and seafood that are hot smoked are typically brined or cured before smoking. Brining helps to not only flavor the meat, but the acid in the brine acts as a natural tenderizer. A dedicated smoker is generally preferred since the cooking temperature is better controlled. Grilling Grilling involves faster cooking, at higher temperatures, and generally uses smaller cuts of...

Barbacoa – Where Barbecue Originates From

So, where does the word ‘barbecue’ come from? The word comes from barbacoa, a Spanish word, and it is traced to Caribbean and Haitian peoples. Traditional barbacoa consists of large cuts of meat cooked over a hole in the ground. Mexican barbacoa includes goat meat or lamb. In the U.S., barbacoa uses beef, especially heads of cattle where the prized cheek meat is and every bit of the head is used. Try this recipe for Smoked Cow Head Barbacoa from Home Sick Texan where she takes a whole head of beef and barbecues it for 24 hours before savoring every bit of it, from the tongue to the eyes. This description of Mexican barbacoa comes from Elena’s Secrets of Mexican Cooking from 1958: The Mexican barbacoa has one touch of its very own…Mexicans use the big fleshy leaves of the maguey plant. First a hole is dug – usually one about four feet deep. The sides of this are plastered with mud. In the hole go light porous stones, topped with a fire. When the wood has become ashes, the maguey leaves are roasted until tender and used to line the sides of the hole; their tops are laid back over the surface of the ground. A grate is then pout over the ashes, and on top of it a pot with stock and garbanzos, rice, vegetables, and of course, chiles. Next comes the meat – lamb or kid, mutton or beef. The soft maguey leaves that are on the ground are folded over, a sheet of wood or metal is added, then another layer of mud. On top...

Pitmaster by Andy Husbands and Chris Hart

Blurb: Pitmaster is the definitive guide to becoming a barbecue aficionado and top-shelf cook from renowned chefs Andy Husbands and Chris Hart. Barbecue is more than a great way to cook a tasty dinner. For a true pitmaster, barbecue is a way of life. Pitmaster is the definitive guide to becoming a barbecue aficionado and top-shelf cook, whether you’re new to the grill or a seasoned vet. Recipes begin with basics, like cooking Memphis-style ribs, and expand to smoking whole hogs North Carolina style. There is no single path to becoming a pitmaster. Barbecue lovers are equally inspired by restaurants with a commitment to regional traditions, competition barbecue champions, families with a multi-generational tradition of roasting whole hogs, and even amateur backyard fanatics. This definitive collection of barbecue expertise will leave you in no doubt why expert chefs and backyard cooks alike eat, live, and breathe barbecue. Pitmasters are essentially gods of barbecue. They are genuine masters of the barbecue lair they rule in. Pitmaster: Recipes, Techniques & Barbecue Wisdom by Andy Husbands and Chris Hart takes readers on a journey of barbecue influences by region and the people who inspire them the most in the world of barbecue. Each chapter features a guest pitmaster who is an expert in their given region or style of barbecue cooking. The profiles include advice from notable barbecue pros: Ken “Jake” Jacobs, Steven Raichlen, Sam Jones, Elizabeth Karmel, Rod Gray, John Lewis, Jamie Geer, Bill Durney, Andy Husbands, Tuffy Stone, Chris Hart. They all add to the treasure that this book is. The chapters go into styles of barbecue, and delve into...

Story of Sam Jones, 7th Generation Whole Hog Pitmaster at the Skylight Inn

A story of Sam Jomes, 7th generation whole hog pitmaster. The Skylight Inn has been in business since 1947 but his family has been making and selling whole hog BBQ since the 1830s. Renee Shelton Renee’s love for tri tip almost surpasses her love for cake. Almost. Really, it’s a tough call here. When she’s not tasting BBQ and dipping in the sauce, Renee can be found at...