What is BBQ?
The term, “BBQ” is largely misunderstood by the general public. It has been implied to mean anything cooked on a grill. It may mean a party or a get together, with friends and family. But, “BBQ” is not a dish, or a cooking device, nor an event. It is a METHOD of cooking.
There is a definite difference between grilling and barbecuing. If you “grill” the meat, it means you are cooking it over direct heat of a fire on a grill with charcoal or propane, searing the outside and concentrating on not overcooking the inside.
“Barbeque”, or “Bar-be-Que” or just plain ‘ol “BBQ”, on the other hand, is the process and a method by “smoking” meat at low temperatures for a long period of time. The cook is called a Pitmaster…and the general choices of smoked meats are Beef Brisket, Pork, Ribs, and Chicken, but there are many other choices.
“Smoking” the meat is an age-old method of cooking meats. First, it is the Pitmaster’s preference of what woods he would use to smoke the meat. Hardwoods such as Mesquite, Hickory or Oak are favorites as are Fruit and Nut woods such as Apple, or Pecan.
The fire is built by starting a good charcoal base (no starter fluid!!), then the wood is added providing enough smoke to the Pitmaster’s liking. The process of smoking the meat takes a long time, with temperatures as low as 225 degrees. A fussy, impatient cook would not like this process. “Low and Slow” means just that…low temperatures for a long period of time, with doneness determined only by the meat internal temperature of the certain cut of meat being smoked. Some meats such as Brisket, which is a tough cut of beef, takes many, many hours. It takes experience and knowledge to know when Pork is done to “pulling” perfection…and Pork Ribs? Well, can’t give out too many of the Pitmaster’s secrets here! Suffice it to say that it takes time, experience and most importantly, the passion of the Pitmaster to produce a tender, moist cut of meat on a consistent day to day basis.
BBQ’ing means keeping that fire stoked to maintain the temperature. It means no sleep, or very little, during the night. It means prepping the night before, and getting up before the crack of dawn to build the fire and get the meat on. It also means meeting other BBQ’ers during the BBQ Competition days, sharing ideas while not divulging “secrets”. It also meant creating relationships with some of the best people in the world of BBQ, which he cherishes both friendships, and memories.
If you ask John, the PITMASTER of Papa’s Smokehouse BBQ since 2004, he will tell you that BBQ became and still is, his PASSION!!