BBQ tips and tasty recipes
Smoky flavors and succulent juicy meat are just two of the reasons to fire up the barbecue. This popular method of slowly cooking food on the grill is ideal for leisure weekends and get togethers with your family and friends. To welcome in the warm weather barbecue season, May is National BBQ Month and we've got some barbecue tips and recipes to help you hone your BBQ skills for one of America's favorite culinary pastimes.
BBQ tip #1: Take it slow
Barbecuing is often thought to be the same as grilling, but any BBQ aficionado will tell you that these cooking methods are two completely different things. BBQ is typically done over indirect heat and for a longer amount of time while grilling is usually over direct heat for a shorter amount of time. True barbecue is for meals when you don't mind the wait.
BBQ tip #2: Use wood or charcoal
Because BBQ is usually done over indirect heat, a good option for cooking is wood because wood delivers an even heat and imparts a unique flavor into the meat. Charcoal imparts a smoky flavor and is often the preferred choice for BBQ traditionalists.
BBQ tip #3: Match the wood to your food
If you choose to use wood as your heat source, consider the different types of wood and their distinctive flavors to best complement your food. Hickory works well with pork and ribs, mesquite is ideal for almost all meats (but especially beef), oak works great with beef, pork, fish and game, and maple is perfect for chicken, guinea hens and pork.
BBQ tip #4: Season and sauce
There are different schools of thought on whether to season and marinate meat with a wet or dry rub or no rub at all, opting instead for a basting sauce while the meat is cooking. The choice is up to you. Dry rubs are generally mild in flavor and need to be applied thickly. A wet rub is a paste with ingredients like mustard, garlic, horseradish, and/or chili pepper. No matter which rub you choose, make sure it has time to penetrate the meat, from 15 minutes to overnight, depending on the thickness of your meat. If you choose a dry or wet rub, serve your meat with a dipping sauce that the meat can be dipped in after cooking. If you choose not to use a rub, baste your meat with a flavorful sauce while it is cooking to keep the meat moist.
BBQ tip #5: Experiment with different sauces
There are a variety of different sauce bases, often dependent on geographical location, that can be used for basting and dipping. Vinegar-, tomato- or mustard-based sauces are most popular, and it is common for sauces to also include different types of pureed fruit or fruit juices, horseradish, bourbon or even wine. Experiment with different types of sauces and find the flavor combinations you like best.
Makes 2 pounds of ribs
8 teaspoons paprika
4 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons onion powder
4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne
2 racks of pork or beef ribs (about 2 pounds)
1. Combine spices together in a small bowl. Rub mixture onto both sides of dried rib racks and let rest until the ribs look almost wet, at least 15 minutes if not longer.
2. Meanwhile, prepare barbecue with your choice of wood for indirect heat. Place ribs on grill and close lid. Cook over low heat, flipping one time until ribs are tender. Remove and serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauce.
Serves 2 to 4
4 tablespoons hot chili powder
2 teaspoons cayenne
2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
4 teaspoons garlic powder
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2 (8-ounce) steaks
1. Combine spices, garlic powder and lemon juice in a small bowl. Rub half of mixture over steak and let sit for at least 15 minutes or longer.
2. Meanwhile, prepare a grill with your choice of wood for indirect heat. Place steaks on grill and close lid. Cook over low heat, flipping one time until steaks are tender and cooked until desired doneness, basting with remaining rub. Remove and serve immediately.
Makes 4 chops
1 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup steak sauce
1 cup bourbon
Hot sauce to taste
Juice of two lemons
4 pork chops
1. Prepare a grill for indirect heat with your wood of choice. Combine mustard with steak sauce, bourbon, hot sauce and lemon juice. Divide sauce into two bowls – one to baste with, one to serve with the cooked chops.
2. Place chops on grill and cook over low heat with lid closed until tender. Baste chops with half of the sauce every few minutes. Serve the remaining sauce with chops.