Most people thing of BBQ’ing as little more than throwing a few chicken breasts and the occasional rack of ribs on a grill and flipping them every so often. For the backyard pool-party that may pass muster, but a real BBQ fanatic knows how complicated and varied the process really is. There are several ways to BBQ and several styles to choose from.
American BBQ aficionados generally prefer a slow and indirect method of BBQ’ing, normally smoke is used and the process sometimes takes up to 12 hours for a brisket of beef. With this method the food is cooked in a covered chamber. The heat is kept at a low to moderate level and the whole process takes a minimum of 1 to 1.5 hours. Keeping the meat well basted with good marinade helps to retain flavor and juiciness.
An even slower version of BBQ’ing uses only the heated smoke to cook the meat. The flavored wood, chips or herb branches placed in the tray over the heat ads flavor to the smoke that is channeled into the separate cooking area by way of a smoke pipe.
Of course there’s always the backyard grill. Though purists may complain, the fact it there’s something to be said for quick and relatively labor-free cooking over an open flame.
Different styles of BBQ emerged in the US according the country’s various regions. In the southwest beef BBQ is the most common, usually mixed with a bit of a Mexican spice, and rubs are also more common in Southwest BBQ. Eastern BBQ is all about the pork, which is usually sliced or chopped up and topped with a sauce that is relatively thin, vinegary and peppery. In the southeastern region, the pork is served the same way, but with a thicker mustard sauce.
The Appalachian Region also uses pork with a sauce that is generally sweeter, and is made with molasses, tomatoes, and peppers; pork ribs are also a staple in Appalachia, and cornbread and/or coleslaw are served with this type of BBQ. The Midwest BBQ’s are like the Appalachian styles, but perhaps even sweeter and more tomato-based.
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