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The Definition of American Barbecue


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. . . It seems I can buy smokers in Australia--the BBQs Galore chain sells a couple of different makes--but the price means this will be a DIY project . . .

The Weber Smoky Mountain, a.k.a. Weber Bullet, is a less expensive option. Since the BBQ police are out in force, :raz: I should mention that the WSM uses a pan of water rather than an offset smoke box to maintain low temperature. Some feel that offset smokers are superior to water smokers. Perhaps, but many use the Weber Bullet successfully in BBQ competitions (and we love ours).

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It is possible to smoke things on a conventional grill, though in general it's more work, and the results not quite as good. It's still worth doing, though, at least in my opinion.

I'll second this. I've got a smoker and a weber, and often when I'm having people over for a barbecue, I'll use the smoker (mesquite and oak) for the brisket and sausage and then use the weber (cherry or apple, usually) for the ribs. I've never tried the weber for a big brisket, but it does do very well with the ribs.

 

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If you are looking for an inexpensive option to start with for low and slow smoking, a UDS (ugly drum smoker) would be a way to go. You need to be willing to take on a bit of a DIY project but those I know who have done it say the results are every bit as good as the more expensive smokers.

There are many plans online for UDS and you really only need a large steel drum (55 gal) and a few pieces of hardware . brass ballvalves and temp gauges. . New is best or one used for something food grade for the barrel. . don't think burning out the barrel will get rid of something that might be toxic.

I have a barrel sitting outside right now waiting on some warm weather to start the project.

I have a bullet smoker and an offset already but the UDS is going to be a fun project.

"Why is the rum always gone?"

Captain Jack Sparrow

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The first folks you should talk to is the Australian BBQ Association. There are only a few of them but they have started up a web site and a really basic forum that I'm sure will take off when a few more members show up! My understanding was they were starting to try and get a few comps up and running as well.

http://www.australianbbqsociety.com/

One of the guys from the Virtual Weber Bullet Forum was helping get it started a couple of years. His name is Phil Hatcher. Really nice, helpful and knowledgable guy. I believe he also does bbq classes down there (although I'm not sure exactly where) and I know he did do shows selling products and that kind of thing.

For cookers anything will work. A really good site for making your own cooker is the Prairie BBQ Association. They have an excellent building section on the forum and are always there to answer any questions. I have seen people make good bbq on WSM, Eggs, Offsets, Massive Pits, drums, at some point it's the cook!

As for bbq in the US and Canada, as has been said it means something different everywhere and for which one is best my personal opinion is take a little of what works from everywhere and get what you like out of it!

I will stress that no matter where you are from good bbq having to be cooked really slow is basically a myth (again it can be but it isn't required). If you don't believe me go check out the Jack Daniels Championships and talk to some of the winning teams (from everywhere, including Texas). We've been competing for a year and a half and won a few awards (18 in 7 comps), no where near as many as some, we did start doing a lot better when we stopped trying to cook things low and slow. No ones cooking crazy hot either but there is a balance. I have cooked with many of the people competing down there and promise you I am not making this up.

Clark

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bbq is a religion with many churches it seems, every one of them praying to the one and only correct god :laugh:

Personally I see low and slow as bbq, and I might or might not add smoke, but the lid stays closed. I don't really like smoked chicken for example, I'm happy with the smoky flavor I get from the lump charcoal (which I think it the only one you should use, really). I use my Big Green Egg for that kind of cooking. It's not cheap, but I use it so often, sometimes every day, that the investment was well worth it to me, and it'll last a lifetime (or will be fixed/replaced under it's lifetime warranty).

For grilling I use my weber, it's a bit easier to have a two zone fire in it and I love it just as well. And here the lid stays open safe for some odd happenings where I want to keep the heat in a bit. But that's rare. I also used it for smoking before I had the bge, it works fine, but you can't really walk away. Grab your favorite drink, a book or a couple magazines and watch the temperature. Easy to adjust, but you will have to adjust it. Not so with the BGE, a set it and forget it kind of thing.

Of course, it seems that once you head South and ask around, not even they guys in the next town (or next door) know how to do it right :laugh: AND use the wrong meat!

I never get that stubbornly set on anything, and as long as it tastes good, it doesn't really matter what you call it, does it?

I'm surprised how expensive the bullet is in AU! They cost around $300 here. Nobody makes something like this in AU? From what I read, it works very well, I almost bought one, but the versatility of the BGE sold me (from low and slow to 650+ degree, from smoker to pizza oven)

I love to cook on fire, if I had the cash and space I'd build a medieval kitchen somewhere, and a couple of the contraptions from the 7 fires book! I will get a fire pit with cooking ability in the near future and I might build a brick oven as I have a pile of bricks just sitting around.

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Doubtful. BBQs Galore, that eBay store nickrey mentioned, some site that deals in American-style BBQs--all of them sell American-made (or at least, the company is American-based, even if the units are made somewhere else) gear. And most of it's really expensive. $700 was the cheapest I'd seen until nickrey directed me to the more reasonably priced Masterbuilt unit. As I said, Australian BBQ is 'grilling', by and large. You can get 'grilling' BBQs of varying degrees of quality for varying prices--ranging from less than $100 a pop to things a fair way into four figures. Some people roast on their BBQs, yeah, but it's just like oven roasting: the same temp as opposed to some many-hour epic effort.

Edited by ChrisTaylor (log)

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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For those eGulleteers who do not live in N. America, there is NO reason to shell out $700 to see if real southern BBQ is "right for you."

Get an unglazed terracotta flower pot, big as possible, a portable electric cooker, a disposable pie pan, wood chips, some bricks, a wire rack that will fit in the terracotta pot and water.

0) Do this somewhere safe -- driveway/patio/etc.

1) build a brick "fort" around the cooker -- so that you can rest the wire rack at least six inches above the electric element.

1) Place pie pan on cooker.

2) Loosely fill pan with damp hardwood chips/sawdust/etc. I like fruit woods like cherry and apple. But oak or maple is fine. Never use soft or resinous woods.

3) Set cooker to "medium"

4) Set wire rack on bricks

5) Set marinated, dry-rubbed brisket/pork butt/chicken/etc. on wire rack

6) Cover with inverted terracotta pot.

7) Place probe thermometer in the hole in the center of the pot. Adjust the cooker until the temperature inside your "BBQ on the Cheap" is around 110C. That probably sounds awfully low if you're not familiar with BBQ. But seriously, 110 or so. Just above the boiling-point of water. Many BBQ people I know cook even lower.

8) Replace your wood chips occasionally, when the smoke dies down. (But don't oversmoke, or your meat will taste like a burnt Michelin tire. You'll get the hang of how much is good and how much is too much)

There's a "Good Eats" episode that uses something like this. I've been cold-smoking salmon with a long rectangular terracotta planter for a very long time. I'm very happy with the results.

The above rig is quite good for smoking, and can be assembled for less than $50. It's something to get you started at least.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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Based on my early experiences when I moved here, Australian BBQ seemed to be less about grilling than frying piles of cheap meat on a steel plate until it gave up played dead. But things have improved a lot since then, and I've even come to be fond of the traditional sausage in a folded bit of white bread with tomato sauce....

Was about to mention the cost of a WSM here, but you beat me to it Chris! The prices we pay here are unbelievable. I have been looking into getting a Kamado, but the prices have put something of a halt to that. The Big Green Egg is no longer available here (they are still sold in New Zealand), although BBQs Galore now has Kamado Joe, which they say is equivalent. Someone in QLD is importing and selling Grill Domes, and there someone on ebay is selling Imperial Kamados, although I haven't been able to find anything out about them.

In addition to the link mentioned above, check out the Aussie BBQ Forum. They are a great bunch of people, and they cover everything from traditional Aussie BBQ to style you're asking about. Based on their recommendations, I bought a second hand weber off Ebay as a starter model, and have used it a few times, although I still haven't done any proper smoking as yet. If you go that route do get the larger size rather than the smaller size (no longer sold new, but still around second hand) so that you can set your fire for a slower cook. I've seen WSMs show up on ebay from time to time as well, so it's worth keeping an eye out for them.

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For those eGulleteers who do not live in N. America, there is NO reason to shell out $700 to see if real southern BBQ is "right for you."

Get an unglazed terracotta flower pot, big as possible, a portable electric cooker, a disposable pie pan, wood chips, some bricks, a wire rack that will fit in the terracotta pot and water.

Wow, really interesting. Thanks for taking the time to post it. After all, when you think about it, folks were smoking meat long before Mr. Weber or Mr. Big Green Egg ever came along.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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For those eGulleteers who do not live in N. America, there is NO reason to shell out $700 to see if real southern BBQ is "right for you."

Get an unglazed terracotta flower pot, big as possible, a portable electric cooker, a disposable pie pan, wood chips, some bricks, a wire rack that will fit in the terracotta pot and water.

Wow, really interesting. Thanks for taking the time to post it. After all, when you think about it, folks were smoking meat long before Mr. Weber or Mr. Big Green Egg ever came along.

I would like to point out, though, that if you go this route, be sure to get a high quality electric burner. I bought a cheap one, and it didn't have the power to get the wood smoking.

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I would like to point out, though, that if you go this route, be sure to get a high quality electric burner. I bought a cheap one, and it didn't have the power to get the wood smoking.

I bought mine at a thrift shop for $1. It works fine. As long as the element will get red hot, you're good to go.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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I found the following Kansas City BBQ Society forum to be an invaluable resource when I was starting out and had questions about ANYTHING related to BBQ....lots of "for real" award winning bbq chefs reside here:

http://www.rbjb.com/rbjb/rbjbboard/

I've been doing low and slow BBQ here in Kansas City for about ten years, always on one of my Weber Smokey Mountains. I do some competitions, mainly just for fun, but have many friends who compete regularly and are successful with the "fast cook" method mentioned upthread. I found my groove and I stick with it...ain't gonna be tryin' no faincy tekneeeks when I put out consistenly good 'Q. When I feed people my pulled pork, burnt ends or ribs and I don't hear "this is the best I've ever had in my life", I consider that catastrophic failure. It doesn't throw off my game enough to consider trying the creosote-crusted method that is so popular in Texas, but it hurts :wink: .

Over the years I’ve mellowed considerably when it comes to the bbq vs. grilling semantics. I’m confident in my ability to do real BBQ, so if someone wants to say their cremated Johnsonville Bratwurst is BBQ, more power to them. We’re just people, we get up and put our pants on one leg at a time. But after MY pants are on, I go out and make world class smoked meats with precision and consistency.

The only thing I will not bend on is “ribs so tender the meat is falling off the bone”. If you have boiled them for 8 hours in a crockpot filled with KC Masterpiece, then yes, the meat should fall off of the bone. But if you’re doing BBQ, I hope you got the ribs on sale because you just overcooked the living hell out of them.

Jerry

Kansas City, Mo.

Unsaved Loved Ones

My eG Food Blog- 2011

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The only thing I will not bend on is “ribs so tender the meat is falling off the bone”. If you have boiled them for 8 hours in a crockpot filled with KC Masterpiece, then yes, the meat should fall off of the bone. But if you’re doing BBQ, I hope you got the ribs on sale because you just overcooked the living hell out of them.

Boy is that the truth. People say that as a compliment, like it's something difficult to accomplish: "The ribs fell off the bone!"

How is that difficult? Any fool can overcook meat into a mushy, textureless mess.

Even I can accomplish that regularly.

:cool:

___________

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I scanned the thread and didn't notice a proper historical perspective.. although I imagine in much of the British colonies 300 years represents antiquity...

Barbeque (Anglicized) & Barbacoa (Hispanicized)... terms derived from the languages of the Arawak / Taino people (the natives of the Caribbean) initially described a technique of gentle cooking over a pit using a combination of smoke and/or steam. The Spanish of course arrived in the Caribbean a decade before exploring the North American mainland.. by the time they made it to Mexico they had already adopted the term Barbacoa for Pit cooking and that is generally the most common term used in much of the Spanish speaking world.

The Arawak / Taino people themselves descended from people that migrated to the Caribbean (and later Florida) from the Yucatan & Venezuela starting in 500 B.C. (probably crowded out by more developed Early Mayan cultures themselves outgrowing their strongholds in Veracruz & Tabasco). These early explorers took with them the Closed & Open Pit cooking techniques popular through much of Central & Southern Mexico... the oldest pits found thus far date back to 3,000 B.C.

Whether the Spanish were too casual in their adoption of terminology or not, for 500 years the term Barbeque / Barbacoa has been used to describe a range of cooking styles from 45 degree grilling* over an indirect fire to full on Closed Pit cooking with heated rocks & wood similar to what you find throughout the Pacific Islands.

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  • 7 months later...

After realising I'd be paying ~$400AUD for one of these BBQs I put the idea on the backburner--not something I'd use all that often, so it'd have to wait until ... some non-specific point in the future. Then I saw one for $200AUD and bought it. It's a large 'cabinet' style BBQ.

What are some things worth investigating, aside from the classics--pork shoulder, beef brisket, beef/pork/lamb ribs, chicken, etc? Lamb shoulder worthwhile? What about leaner meats--I'm thinking game like venison (well, actually, I'm thinking of 'roo/etc but Bambi's mum is probably more familiar to you lot). Even rabbit (any way to stop it drying out in there?) Seafood--say, octopus? Any vegetables/fruits?

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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We smoke a lot of fish on ours. Salmon is particularly wonderful. Shrimp and sea scallops and chunks of white fish on sticks. And don't forget veggies. Zucchini, bell peppers, yellow squash. Cut into large slices and brush with olive oil. For onions, halve them, and brush with butter as they roast. Make veggie shish-k-bobs with a large button mushroom on the ends.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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  • 4 months later...

I just placed a piece of brisket in the smoker. I'm following Adam Perry Lang's recipe for 'get a book' brisket. The smoker has become, I think, my favourite toy.

Various things I've done in the smoker since last this thread was active:

* Pork and beef ribs. Had success with pork ribs, but still unhappy with short ribs. Got to get around to putting a rack of lamb or goat ribs in there at some point. Even bought a cheap rack of goat ribs, but they looked a little sad so I fed them to stray cats.

* Rabbit confit in olive oil. The only thing I could fault with it was that I didn't take the extra couple of minutes to sear it on the grill before serving.

* A whole duck. Used a fairly mediocre battery-farmed bird but it was still good. I have to revisit this with an expensive or, if I can get my hands on one, wild shot duck.

* Chicken thighs and legs. Other people have liked the BBQ chicken (I've only used a couple of recipes) but I'm yet to find a recipe I'm happy with ... and I need to fine tune the cooking temperature a bit, as the flesh is cooked nicely but the connective tissue in the legs is still a bit antisocial.

* Potatoes. Twice. Had most success with the batch I first boiled then placed, with a little bit of oil, on a tray in the smoker. They were a bit soft, tho'. I'm wondering if a smoked potato mash/crush is the way to go (playing off the softness) or maybe a third cooking stage--say, a final 30 minutes in the oven.

* Roo fillet. Pan-seared and then finished in the smoker. Didn't take on enough smoke flavour. Will maybe reverse the process next time. Maybe see if I can hold the door open to get the temperature really low and smoke it for a good hour.

* A large piece of beef chuck. One I've gone back to a few times.

Things I mean to get around to in the near future: eggs, lamb and veal shanks, 'roo tail, beef cheeks, a whole chicken ... a crab.

Anyway. The question I had in mind when I searched this thread out again. Lang's Serious Barbecue is fun and most of the recipes I've tried have been good. But I want more books. Or maybe just one. You know, if there's something extensive enough. This time what I'm interested in:

* Something that covers one or more 'styles' of American BBQ--i.e. Texas, Memphis, et al. What inspired my interest in this is I was flipping through the Modernist Cuisine kitchen manual and it featured recipes for maybe 3-4 different BBQ rubs, each of which associated with a specific US city/state. I was struck by some fairly significant differences--and I tried (and really liked) the sugar-free Memphis-style rub on some pork ribs. If one book covers a couple or more of the different contrasting styles of US BBQ, providing recipes for region-specific rubs/sauces/etc, that'd be very cool.

* Something that explores interesting possibilities with smokers. I mean, as much as I want to try all the traditional stuff--specific cuts of ribs prepared with traditionalish rubs and glazes and such--I also want to keep playing and experimenting with this brilliant toy. Anyone know of a book with lots of recipes for game and other nontraditional things?

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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One BBQ book I saw refers to grilling and 'City" BBQ. Competition smokers consider slow smoke to be the only BBQ.

The following is a brief look at old traditional (Southern) BBQ areas around the country and a very cursory look at the general trends in each area. There are exceptions and at the risk of being stereotypical, I humbly submit the following. Please feel free to criticize or elaborate as you see fit.

A brief survey of BBQ.

Barbecue started out as a Southern thing. It probably started in the Virginia colonies and they learned about it from Native Americans, African Slaves and Caribbean traders. In the South, BBQ meant pork. Pork was the choice of large gathering cook outs because it was cheap. Hogs could run wild and forage for themselves. Farmers didn’t have to feed them and they didn’t compete with people by eating the same food.

Barbecue was perfect for wild hogs because the long slow cooking over a smokey fire made tough stringy meat delicious. BBQ often brought people together since a hog could feed from 40 to 100 people. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson wrote about BBQ;s the attended. Scarlet O’Hara met Rhett at a BBQ. BBQ could bring crowds to church and votes for politicians.

Even though everyone could agree that BBQ was a good thing, there were strong feelings that people could argue about. Chopped or pulled, whole or shoulder, tomato baste or vinegar. It was really about keeping traditions alive and stubbornly insisting that it be done right instead of the easy way.

North Carolina

The East Carolina traditional BBQ is the closest to the earliest forms of slow cooking. It is whole hog, open pit and it‘s an apple cider vinegar and red pepper based sauce. It is served with hush puppies, cole slaw and Brunswick stew

Tom Solomon’s 10 commandments for barbecue (East Carolina BBQ)

1.Thou shalt not have any barbecue but The One True Barbecue before thee

2. Thou shalt not barbecue beef, not chicken, but only pork

3. Thou shalt not cook with gas, nor with infrared horizontal ovens, but only with hardwoods such as hickory or oak, or apple if you must.

4. Thou shalt not make for yourself a graven sauce, or any likeness of any commercial sauce like unto that made in factories in Texas or Kansas City; thou shalt not use tomato, nor ketchup,nor honey,nor mustard; but only have apple cider vinegar and red pepper before thee.

5. Thou shalt not take the name of Eastern North Carolina Barbecue in vain.

6. Thou shalt remember the pit day of Thursday, and keep it holy.

7. Honor thy pit master and thy waitress, that your barbecue may be always plentiful and your ice-tea glass be always full.

8. Thou shalt not consort with health inspectors, nor with environmental zealots, nor with vegetarians, for verily it is so that Hitler was a vegetarian, and Hitler was bad.

9. Thou shalt have hush puppies and slaw and Brunswick stew with thy barbecue

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife- unless she professeth to love thy barbecue, is attractive, and will bring you beer as you tend thy pit.

Tom Solomon’sOne True Barbecue Sauce

16 ounces apple cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes

1 1/2 Tablespoons Phu Quoc brand nuoc mam*

1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all ingredients and let stand for one or two days before using. Mix with pulled pork barbecue before serving if using as a dip.

Note. It is important to use the Vietnamese nouc mam. Other brands tend to be too salty and fishy to blend with the other ingredients.

*In the 1600’s and 1700’s people use a concoction called English Ketchup. It contained clams. This recipe comes close to duplicating the original recipe used by the early colonists except their sauce contained clams. Phu Quac replaces the clams in the original recipe.

Lexington Style

Usually consists of pork shoulder, is closed pit, pulled off the bone but you can order it chopped or sliced. Sauce may have a touch of tomatoes or ketchup added. Served with hush puppies, BBQ potatoes and cornbread.

South Carolina

has it’s own terrain, personality and BBQ. It is most famous for it’s mustard based sauce but you can find vinegar, tomato or ketchup based sauces in different areas around the state. Pork tends to be whole hog with hams and shoulders apparent too. It is chopped or pulled. One side that is different in parts of South Carolina is BBQ hash, a mixture of meats and rice in place of Brunswick stew.

Georgia

Pork is the star but you can find beef, chicken, turkey and even lamb, but mostly it is pork slow smoking. Brunswick is in Georgia so they claim the stew and BBQ hash is popular in places too. Sandwiches come on plain white bread. Collard greens, potato salad and coleslaw are common side dishes.

Alabama

Along the gulf coast, Texas style beef brisket is popular, Toward Tennessee, Memphis influences are around but the red sauce is often spicier. You will find white sauce made with mayonnaise, vinegar and black pepper. Popular sides are onion rings, fries, potato salad and slaw

Kentucky

Western Kentucky its shredded mutton, in Eastern part of the state it’s pork and has a lot in common with the Carolinas style. Mutton is served with a tomato based sauce the comes in mild, hot and extra hot versions. Naked mutton- no sauce, just chopped is popular there too. A popular side dish is a stew called Burgoo. Western Kentucky, BBQ is served on cornbread rather than a bun or white bread.

Arkansas

Generally east means pork, west means beef but trends blend. Sauces are browner, thicker and sweeter than in most of the South. Cole slaw, baked beans and french fries are all common sides.

Texas

A very large state with a few thousand BBQ spots. Cattle is king and brisket is most popular but you can get ribs, sausage, pork, chicken, mutton, rattlesnake and armadillo. In West Texas cabrito ( young goat) popular. In South Texas there is a dish where the head of a cow is wrapped in burlap and cheesecloth and BBQed.

Closed Pit BBQs are most often used and portable ones shaped like beer bottles, longhors steers or pistols are like Texas art forms.

Mesquite is legendary but it burns too hot and fast and more Texans use hickory, oak and pecan. Dry rubs inclued the typical stuff plus influences from the south and Mexico such as chili powders, cumin and garlic. Sauces may be mopped on during the cooking or at the last 30 minutes or left off completely. Sauce is usually tomato based, a bit thinner than in the midwest and typically is made of ketchup, Worcesteshire sauce, chili powder, dry mustard and sugar, with paprika, garlic, cumin, onions or even vinegar sometime added.

Sides include Pinto beans, coleslaw, various kinds or potato salad, corn on the cob,mac and cheese, and all manner of peppers. Don’t be surprised if your BBQ is served on brown butcher paper.

Memphis in May is where one of the world's largest BBQ contests take place and it is all about pork. It is the World Championship Barbecue Contest. There is a side contest for everything else but the main thing in Memphis is hog. I hear some people even BBQ spaghetti and pizza though.

The big controversy in Memphis is wet or dry ribs. Wet ribs are served with sauce, dry ribs are served without or "naked". Sometimes dry ribs have sauce on the side but that is not allowed in competition. You must either put it on or leave it off completely.

Typical sauce in Memphis is tomato based and both hot and sweet with some vinegar. Sweet can come from marmalade, brown sugar, molasses, but the sweet does not dominate. Hot comes from cayenne, black and red pepper. Some even include things that range from Italian Dressing to Coca Cola.

Sides are BBQ baked beans, skin-on fries, coleslaw and onion rings. One popular signature sandwich is pulled pork with sauce on a bun and topped with coleslaw.

Kansas City ( I am prejudiced. KC is my hometown)

Barbecue and Kansas City were fated for each other. Influences from the East came to Kansas City as the jumping off point for settlers heading west on the Oregon and California trails. Cattle drives from Texas terminated in Kansas City with the Santa Fe and Chisholm trails. Two rivers join in KC to provied water connections to the Mississipi and Ohio rivers with contacts east and south to Memphis and New Orleans. Later trains brought cattle to KC from Abilene and Dodge Cty where they off-loaded for food and water. Kansas City was grain exhange and pork meat packing center. Beef was a natual addition to the meat processing plants after they were fattened up on grain at the stock yards

1907 Henry Perry opened first BBQ restaurant in Kansas City. As far as known, it was the only one in the nation at that time. There were possibly a couple earlier ones in the South, but at the time his was the only one known. 25 years later there were over 1000 BBQ stands in K.C.. By the time of his death, he was known as the BBQ king and had three restaurants.

In the 20’ and 30’s Kansas City virtually ignored prohibition with honky tonks, gambling and speak easys. Jazz developed a singular style in KC. It was a mecca where all kinds of styles of music and BBQ came together and blended to create lots of diversity. You will find whole hog, Memphis ribs and Texas beef combined with a style of it’s own. You can find BBQ chicken, fish, sausage, just about everything.

Charlie Bryant was manager of one of Henry Perrys other restaurants. He took over the operation when Henry died in 1940. Charlie’s brother, Arthur Bryant also worked for Mr. Perry. Arthur and took over when Charlie retired in 1946. Arthur changed the sauce. He thought Henry and his brother made it way too hot. Some consider Arthur Bryants the most famous barbecue joint on earth. His bbq is the standard by which others are judged. Some hate his style others love it. Calvin Trillin (1974 essay for The New Yorker) called it the best damned restaurant in the world. Now days it is no longer in the family. It is now the property of a white-owned restaurant company, has suburban branches and the sauce is for sale around the country. Arthur resisted bottling his sauce because -I am told- he didn’t want to put the ingredients on the label.

Burnt Ends. Arthur Bryant used to trim off the blackened (not burned) ends of his brisket and put them out for people to nibble on while waiting in line to order. They became so popular that most restaurants carry a version of them today.

Arthur Pinkhard..Henry Perry’s pit master at his original restaurant. After Perry’s death, he went to work for another BBQ restaurant, Old Kentuck. 1946 George Gates bought the run down restaurant. Arthur came with the restaurant and taught the Gates family all about Henry Perry’s techniques: slow cooking meats over wood coals. He retired in the early 50’s, and died not long afterwards. Gates and Son’s is owned by Ollie Gates today. He is the most successful bbq restaurant entrepreneur in Kansas City.

Sauces are deep red, thick and pungent. Some are sweet like Memphis. Dry rubs are commonly used and include paprika, salt, black and red peppers, sugar and garlic powder.

The Kansas City Barbeque Society has a few thousand members in all 50 states and several other countries and sponcer or sanction a network of BBQ contests all over the country. There are at least 20 BBQ contests each year in Kansas city, the American Royal being touted as the largest in the world ( the World Series of BBQ)

Sides inclued coleslaw, dirty rice, potato salad and Kansas City baked beans which include beef drippings and beef brisket bits (burnt ends) added.

Edited by Norm Matthews (log)
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I had a most excellent pulled pork sandwich for lunch today: the pork was smoked with applewood and hickory for seven hours, then cooked sous vide for 48. Absolutely unbelievable texture. If you've got access to a sous vide rig I highly recommend trying this method out.

Chris, what temp was the butt smoked at? That sounds amazing!

Jim

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