How to BBQ is the first in a series of pages where you will discover three basic methods.
There is a whole series of twists depending on which state or country it's practiced in.
So, true barbecuing is a longer and slower process than grilling, but there is more than one way to do it.
It requires a certain amount of patience and sometimes fairly specialized, though not necessarily expensive equipment.
Barbecue is practically a way of life across a whole swathe of southern states from Texas, eastwards to the Atlantic coast (for everyone else it is merely something to do).
Nowhere else is there such variety and passion surrounding BBQ. So it stands to reason, that if you want to know how to Barbecue real well, you need to start here.
Top of the list of skills are:
These methods are typical of certain countries or regions, but there are variations within these areas. I think they all have something to offer the BBQ fan who wants to do something different.
Spooney's bar-b-q image courtesy of Amy Evans Streeter and the Sourthern Foodways Alliance, Flickr.
North Carolina Barbecue is in fact two styles split by geography, the Eastern Style and the Western style.
The Eastern Style is based on whole hog spit roasted over a fire pit - the saying goes that they "use every part but the squeal". All the meat is chopped, shredded (or "pulled"), mixed up together, and served in a sandwich with slaw.
This Eastern Carolinas barbecue sauce is a watery concoction of vinegar and something with a spicy kick, either black pepper or chilli - it's strong enough to make your eyes water!
The Western Style, otherwise known as the Piedmont Style, traditionally uses smoked pork shoulder to make pulled pork. This is flavored with a BBQ dry rub before smoking, during which it is repeatedly basted with Lexington dip, a thinish tomato and vinegar barbeque sauce.
Incidentally, the city of Lexington is home to the Lexington BBQ Festival which draws something like 150,000 visitors a year to eat, drink and be merry.
Go for pulled pork shoulder - and smoke it - with hickory or alder wood chips. See:
While it smokes, baste it with a thin BBQ sauce, such as:
Make the now shreded pork into sandwiches with some really cheap but fresh white bread buns.
South Carolina deserves a mention here, since the style is nearly identical to the North (at least to outsiders). I think I've got this right, it gets complicated round these parts.
Again it's pork shoulder smoked long and slow, but with three distinct types of sauce used in the east, west and central regions of the state.
The central areas rely on the mustard based gold sauce which is mixed up together with the pulled or shredded pork. Delicious!
The awesome Kansas City BBQ sauce is almost the signature ingredient from round these parts.
The meat is covered with a dry rub, smoked, and the sauce served as a table sauce. Kansas City style BBQ sauce is thick, sticky and sweet and made with tomatoes and molasses.
This is messy stuff to eat, especially on ribs, with the sauce getting stuck round your chin and under your fingernails!
For the method try:
I suspect they eat all manner of meat types here, but the local speciality is brisket - particularly burnt beef ends, a leftover by-product almost which is to die for.
Essentially it is the bits left on the chopping board in the kitchen after a day of chopping up barbecued beef. Not easy to reproduce at home in great quantity though.
Around Memphis the meat of choice is primarily smoked pork ribs (which is another classic recipe),
These can be made and served "wet" or "dry". Dry means without sauce, just rubbed with a seasoning and smoked. The ribs are smoked usually with hickory or oak wood.
Wet ribs are also brushed with sauce toward the end of cooking, which is a fairly thick, sweet, yet spicy tomato sauce.
Image courtesy of Michael Clarke via Flickr
In Latin America they use a process called Asado (or asada). Equipment often looks makeshift or homemade - or very chunky of cast or wrought iron work.
The method is similar to pit roasting. They build a wood fire which is left to burn down to smouldering charcoal. Then the meat, often a whole carcass is roasted at a distance from the coals.
Check out the equipment they use (spanish laguage site) in this robust style of cooking.
Read more about Asado here - with a very basic fire pit and a home made piece of equipment, it's little .
I haven't really explained how to BBQ on this page. The regional variations outlined here give a few ideas on what to make and how they go about it in these places.
The real way to learn is to try it for yourself and the techniques you need to learn are: