Flavorings for Barbecue Food

What often sets each national or regional cuisine apart is the actual combiunations of tastes that are used.

Basic grilling and roasting, even smoking varies little across the world. The USA is a big country with a rich patchwork of barbecue styles, which change from one state,

one city, or one suburb to the next - with influences like smoking, vinegar sauces, or hot spicy rubs. Usually these reflect the mix of immigrants into that area.

The following is a rough guide to the usage of marinades, rubs and sauces, along with some recipes.

BBQ Marinades

Marinades have their roots in the days before refrigeration.

Over the centuries, creative ways of preserving and adding food were discovered and developed which relied on alcohol, vinegar, citrus and ingredients such as as garlic, juniper, chilli, turmeric - as well as smoking and drying techniques - all to keep food for longer.

And this is the basic way they are mostly made: something acidic and herbs and spices for more taste.

An obvious exception is tikka marinade from India. It's yogurt based, highly spiced and richly colored giving intense, tenderizing meat - traditionally lamb or goat, but often chicken in more recent decades. Try it at once!

BBQ Rub Recipes

BBQ rub recipe

A BBQ rub is basically a dry mixture of spices, although it may feature wet ingredients e.g. fresh garlic or ginger, like Cajun seasoning might.

They are often hot and spicy with a touch of sweetness like this jerk seasoning is.

Their main job is to flavor; as the meat cooks, the oils leak out and form a crust with the rub which seals the juices in.

Recipes that use a rub can be used as is like jerk chicken, or with a barbecue sauce, and smoked, as with creating layers of flavor as with pulled pork.

BBQ Sauce Recipes

Many BBQ sauces are unique to specific areas of the United States and often reflect the tastes of incoming waves of immigrants.

Firstly there is basting sauces. They are brushed or "mopped" onto the meat at intervals during cooking.

Thin, laced with vinegar and black pepper or even chilli, they are sharp and hot. Some are equally sharp but flavored with tomato.

BBQ flavorings - bbq sauce

Finishing sauces can be added to meat during the final stage of barbequing, after cooking finishes but before it is served - Kansas city BBQ sauce is a fine example of this, although there are many others.

Usually they contain something sweet - some type of sugar (or maple syrup, etc), which caramelizes under heat giving meat a gorgeous smoky savory sweetness.

These barbecue ribs make use of the same idea.

BBQ sauce is not, however, uniquely American - many cuisines have sauces that go very well with grilled or slow roasted meat.

There are plenty of great commercially produced BBQ sauces around, but any homemade barbecue sauce is best!

Barbecue Smoking

Smoker recipes

The unique tang of smoked food comes from the use of specific types of BBQ wood which have been tried and tested over the centuries and found to compliment the taste of the meat being cooked.

BBQ smoking can be done using a standard lidded grill using the indirect grilling method with the addition of a smoker box loaded with soaked wood chips.

Additionally smoked food is often coated in a barbeque rub, or basted with barbecue sauce during cooking at some stage, adding further delicious layers  of taste to it.

Read more about this specialized but awesome cooking method on the BBQ smokers page.

So there you go, there's plenty try here - hopefully some of it is new to you.

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Flavorings for BBQ food
BBQ techniques from around the world