OT: Favorite BBQ food

Submitted by Blue in Yarmouth on July 6th, 2010 at 9:11 AM

During my time here I have noticed that there are many barbeque lovers who know waaayyyyy more than I do about grilling. I enjoy it thoroughly, but am very limited in my knowledge as to how it should be done. Basically I throw a little store bought marinade on it and grill it with some BBQ sauce.

What I want to know is what peoples favorite BBQ food is and how you prepare it? Being from Canada BBQ hasn't reached the art form it seems to have achieved in the USA (at least in my experience). So please.....give a guy some tips. Thanks!


Edit* I have also heard there are different variations of BBQ depending on the geographical location in the USA (i.e. Texas BBQ) can someone explain what the differences are?



July 6th, 2010 at 9:24 AM ^

Ribs are my favorite and I've just recently started making them myself.  Since I have a gas grill with a smoker box in a wierd orientation, I can't get the heat as low as I'd like it while keeping the wood smoking.  Therefore I cook the ribs for only 2-2.5 hours when I'd like to be able to do more.


Start with 1 or 2 racks of ribs, and apply your favorite rub.  Then let them sit in the fridge for a while to absorb the flavors, I'd say 4-8 hours.

Heat up your grill for indirect cooking, the smoke is optional but I prefer the taste.  If you're doing smoke you need to soak the woodchips for 30 mins before putting them in the grill.

Place the ribs on the grill, cover it and cook for 2 hours, liberally brushing it with apple cider every 30 minutes to keep it from drying out.  Rotating the ribs half way through is a good idea to ensure more even cooking if you have any hot/cool spots.

Apply your favorite barbeque sauce, and cook for another 30 minutes.  I like to use http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Cherry-Cola-Barbecue-Sauce… as it has great flavor and I like sweet and tangy bbq sauce.

Thats it, remove ribs from the grill, slice and serve.


July 6th, 2010 at 1:57 PM ^

What is very important in "real" bbq is "low and slow". In other words, low heat (200-225 F is ideal) and a long period. Generally, most meat best
cooked on the 'cue has a lot of sinew-y fibers that, if cooked "hot and fast" (i.e. grilled directly over an open flame) will require you to be part saber- toothed tiger to eat.
A water pan placed between the heat source and the meat is one method of indirect cooking. Water, cider, beer, etc., also moderates the temperature in the smoker.
Good luck. It takes a lot of practice (don't be discouraged if your first few attempts fail).


July 6th, 2010 at 9:29 AM ^

One of the beauties of BBQ is you can do it with just about anything-meats, vegitables, or fruits.  One of my personal favorites is a pork shoulder with a dry rub, and you grill it on low heat for 4-6 hours.  Smoking chips add a bit more flavor if you like that kind of thing.  Then, you can either slice it and eat it as-is, or you can shred it and put it on buns.  In this case, sauce is optional: some like it with, some without.     


July 6th, 2010 at 9:26 AM ^

Remember to add your BBQ sauce at the VERY, VERY end. Otherwise, you'll end up burning the sugars in the sauce.

I'm southern, so BBQ is a noun...not a verb. Every southerner in the country has a story about the time some guy asked if he wanted some BBQ and then handed him a hot dog.


July 6th, 2010 at 9:32 AM ^

 are both hard to beat....


I like to cut a rack of ribs into sections and boil in Vernors gingerale for 1.5 hours, add your favorite sauce and throw them on the grill for a bit.


July 6th, 2010 at 9:40 AM ^

Up north bbq traditionally means things involving sauces and, typically, pork. Mid America (Tennessee) it means almost exclusively ribs or pulled pork. Down south it means anything on a pit or grill (burgers, dogs, etc) ... up north "cook out" or "grill" has replaced the south's catch-all of barbecue


July 6th, 2010 at 9:51 AM ^

Down south it means anything on a pit or grill (burgers, dogs, etc)

I'm not saying you're wrong...but I've never heard a southerner refer to grilling something as "barbecue." Of course, the south is now filled with transplants from other parts of the country. So we're not as homogenous as we were 20 years ago.

BBQ in the south is a religion...and just as stupid and divisive. I'm from eastern NC. We slow-cook pork, pull and shred it and mix it with a sauce made from vinegar and hot peppers. Lexington (over near Charlotte) BBQ is made with a red sauce and is disgusting. That's why we don't give them any money to build roads. Phew.

South Carolina uses a mustard-based sauce. Alabama and Missisippi tend to focus more on BBQ ribs. During the Great Migration, they took it with 'em to Chicago and St. Louis and KC, and ended up developing their own BBQ traditions.

Texas BBQ is beef-based with a red sauce (is it brisket?) and is unfit to be consumed by anything other than the same bacteria that cause botulism. I don't know if it's true, but I've been told that Texas BBQ is heavily influenced by german-style cooking.


July 6th, 2010 at 10:39 AM ^

Good summary, except your vinegary N Carolinian BBQ is absolutely disgusting.  

And yes, Texans love their brisket because it tastes like angel meat.  And also yes, there's a huge German influence in Texas, or at least central Texas where I'm at, so there's a lot of BBQ sausage, too.

I've had Memphis BBQ once before, and that was all about the dry rub.  Delicious, delicious ribs.


July 6th, 2010 at 10:43 AM ^

Good summary, except your vinegary N Carolinian BBQ is absolutely disgusting.  

And yes, Texans love their brisket because it tastes like angel meat.  And also yes, there's a huge German influence in Texas, or at least central Texas where I'm at, so there's a lot of BBQ sausage, too.

If I had to eat that Texas mess, I imagine my taste buds would be all screwed up too. : )

(like I said...it's a religion. Dumb, loud, obnoxious and pointless)


July 6th, 2010 at 11:16 AM ^

Full disclosure, I'm one of those transplants you mentioned before, having moved to Texas from Michigan 4 years ago, so my BBQ street cred might not be up to snuff.

Either way, maybe we should take a page from other religions and find common ground by hating an innocent third party.  Like Florida BBQ, for instance.


July 6th, 2010 at 2:09 PM ^

I'm half-Southern Boy, (Tennessee) by birth, so I'll lend you some cred. I don't care for the vinegar-based sauce in eastern NC, but I'll defend his right to it. In fact, he can keep it all, if he likes.
I don't know where he's had Texas bbq, but not (apparently) in the places I've been to. Salt Lick and Rudy's are the best chains in Texas that I know. Also some of the best bbq I've eaten anywhere, and I can say I've eaten it everywhere. However, the mom and pop joints are still the best, (as they are anywhere else).
The key to Texas bbq isn't so much the sauce, its the wood: live oak or pecan; the rub is also not important in Texas bbq: there are great places that use nothing fancier than salt and pepper. NC bbq is very similar in that respect.


July 6th, 2010 at 11:09 AM ^

I used to hate BBQ because I always thought it was extremely too sweet for my taste - almost sugary.  This was until I married my wife from SC and fell in love with mustard based BBQ.

Clarence Beeks

July 6th, 2010 at 5:22 PM ^

South Carolina uses a mustard-based sauce.

I'm not saying you're wrong . . . but that's not exactly correct.  You won't find any mustard-based sauce where I am in South Carolina.  There really is no one style of sauce in South Carolina.  The typical style in South Carolina depends on where you aree in the state.  Vinegar style is most common in the low country (e.g. Charleston, etc.), mustard style is most common in the midlands (e.g. Columbia, etc.), and tomato based is most common in the upstate (e.g. Greenville-Spartanburg, etc.).  There really isn't one type of "Carolina style" although the argument could be made that the most common style is the tomato based sauce used in the upstate since there are more people (and more restaurants) in the upstate.  I agree with you otherwise, I just wanted to point out that what you said about South Carolina was a definite over-simplification.


July 6th, 2010 at 9:41 AM ^

There are any number of DIY guides for building your own smoker, if you want to branch out. I've even found them at goodwill for less than $10. If you've got an entire Saturday or Sunday to do litlte more than tend a fire and drink beer, it's not a bad way to spend your time.

If you ever feel like you've mastered your craft, feel free to come to NC sometime and my neighbor will show you hot cook an entire pig. (if you ever get invited to a pig-pickin', say YES. Even if you're muslim or jewish...just pretend you're not for a day)

Once you get over carving off a piece of meat that's still got its face attached to it, you're in for a treat. And if you think the ribs are good, wait 'till you eat the meat that's below the ribs...the part where bacon comes from.


July 6th, 2010 at 9:51 AM ^

My girlfriend's uncle has a smoker, and they're incredible.  Normally I try not to spend  too much time around her family (that's another story), but when I hear her uncle is smoking brisket or ribs, well, I guess I could stop by and say hello if you really want me to...


July 6th, 2010 at 9:46 AM ^

but I would advise looking farther south than Michigan to learn the most about barbeque.  I have lived in Michigan for 6 years and have visited many supposedly great barbeque restaurants that would only pass for "okay" in the South.  That isn't to say there aren't individual great barbeque chefs or really good places I haven't eaten at yet, just that it isn't as big a part of the culinary tradition as it is in the American South.  They worship it and know how to make it like no one's business.

As far as what the geographical boundaries are, I trust most barbeque in the south, extending as far north as Missouri and Virgina, and as far south as the northern part of Florida. The most broad variations in barbeque within the south are as follows:

Carolinas- Vinegar-based barbeque sauces, sometimes with a significant amount of mustard

"Memphis style"- Dry rub of spices, little sauce used (if at all)

Kansas City- Sweet and spicy tomato-based sauces

Rest of the south- moderately spicy tomato-based sauces, though there are huge variations even within this group

Of course, places vary in what their favorite barbeque dish is.  Most of the time people love ribs, but in Texas it is the beef brisket that steals the show.  Believe it or not, it isn't that difficult to even make your own sauces with the right spices and base, though I don't know how deep to go on it in this comment...


July 6th, 2010 at 9:59 AM ^

I think BBQ sauce is frowned upon in Texas, or not considered "authentic". What I've mainly had in Texas is Beef Brisket and Ribs. Love the brisket.


July 6th, 2010 at 10:04 AM ^

Spending the first 23 years of my life in the Ann Arbor area, I had literally no idea what BBQ was other than a verb to describe what my dad did on our propane grill every summer.  Occassionally I'd see a restaurant offer a pulled-pork or pulled-beef sandwich (anyone remember Leitheiser's in Saline??), slathered in a bottle of Open Pit sauce.  Having lived in Northern Virginia for 5 years, I can confirm that BBQ is a complete unknown in the North.  North Carolina style (pulled pork with vinegar sauce) is my favorite, but there is something to be said for each of the different styles to be found in the South (all have been described above).  What I really can't believe is just how poorly the knowledge has passed from the South to the North.  Large heapings of meat that take hours to prepare while standing around open flames and smoke sounds perfect for the Midwest, but it just hasn't made its way up there yet.  Can't explain why.  I suggest the OP make a field trip to somewhere, anywhere in the rural south, find a hole-in-the-wall BBQ place, and enjoy the only two Southern traditions that I think are worthwhile:  BBQ and a Coke.  Then get the heck outta here and escape to the North again. 

Blue in Yarmouth

July 6th, 2010 at 10:13 AM ^

I bought a Suburban in Texas two years ago (car prices are far better in the US than in Canada) and the drive back took me through nearly all the states that have been noted for having good grilling.

I am planning on heading back to pick up another one in the not too distant future and I will plan on taking in some real BBQ when I am down there. This stuff is great guys, keep the tips coming, they are much appreciated!


July 6th, 2010 at 10:28 AM ^

What...you don't like boiled peanuts? : )

BBQ is basically "poor food." Or...in a lot of cases, "black food." You don't need to spend much time dressing up really good roasts of beef, filet mignon, or chicken breasts. They taste fine on their own.

Salmon...really tasty, right? You want to eff up some really good wild sockeye salmon? Waste your time messing with marinades for it. You do all that stuff for atlantic (farmed) salmon that is actually white and had pink dye put on it.

The reason you cook this stuff for hours is because its all tough muscle and you have to dissolve all that collagen. 

At the risk of wandering into borderline racist-territory, what do you consider to be "black food?" Fried chicken? Watermelon? Black-eyed peas? Collards? OK...that's southern food. When I was a kid, I heard someone cracking a joke about black people eating fried chicken and I had to ask an adult what that was all about. Who doesn't eat fried chicken? Again...going back to the Great Migration, when black folks poured out of the south into north, they took their recipes with them and apparently, people just assumed that was what black folks ate. They did...along with everyone else in the south.

Poor folks in the south had to learn how to eat everything they could...so they have recipes for pigs feet, chicken feet, chicken livers, chicken neck, etc. You can get into disgusting territory really fast. Chitterlings (chitlins) are awful. Sweet jesus, the smell would knock a buzzard off an outhouse. I've heard stories about the famines in Ireland and people trying to cook and eat grass. I'll go eat with those folks before I'd eat chitlins.

Northerners never caught on to BBQ and other southern foods probably because it was considered beneath them. The north was better educated, more prosperous, and until the Carter Administratio and the whole "New South" era, if you had a southern accent, basically you were: Racist, slept with your sister, had a piece of hay sticking out of your mouth, were dumber than a box of rocks, barefoot, wore overalls, and spent your day lazing about a fishin' hole.

BBQ is peasant food. But cooked properly, peasant food is really tasty and should appeal to just about everyone.

No.9 Hamburgers

July 6th, 2010 at 10:56 AM ^

You said "Poor folks in the south had to learn how to eat everything they could...so they have recipes for pigs feet, chicken feet, chicken livers, chicken neck, etc."

I think you may be getting things a bit mixed up. Pig fee, pig ears, pig intestines (Chitterlins) was given to the Slave because it was seen as unfit to eat. So they did the best with what they were given.

Chicken Livers and gizards were used for holiday stuffing (even today)

Note: you must clean chitterlins before you cook them. Pigs feet, Ears and skins...must be held over an open fire to burn the corse hair off of them.


July 6th, 2010 at 11:15 AM ^

I think you may be getting things a bit mixed up. Pig fee, pig ears, pig intestines (Chitterlins) was given to the Slave because it was seen as unfit to eat. So they did the best with what they were given.

Yeah...and there were was that whole Reconstruction period followed by two depressions that weren't so great for the South. Lots of people ate whatever they could during that period and just about every (that wasn't rich) families old cookbooks have recipes for that stuff.

And yes, chitlins are cleaned...but they are still hideous.

I have a friend who was a plumber for years. We were talking about the worst things that he had seen and smelled. He said he got used to the smell of poo and sewer gas. That didn't bother him. But he said in 1972, he was living in Athens, GA. He got a call from a family that had lost their water a week before, but couldn't call until payday. They were out in the country. And it's July.

My friend gets out there and it's a family living in an un-air conditioned home. In Georgia. in July. And no one has been able to flush the toilet or take a bath or wash anything for a week. And they were making chitlins in the front yard and burning tires in the backyard.

For those who STILL want to know what they smell like, just imagine the smell of hate and evil. It's worse than that.


July 6th, 2010 at 11:14 AM ^

While much of that is factually correct... yes, it does come off as a tad racist.  Poor white folks ate the same food as poor black folks for most of the last 150 years.  People forget how many poor white folks there are- not all white people were white-bearded plantation owners.

I understand your point, but I will also say this: northerners probably never took to southern food because of their personal sense of superiority over the south (which you covered), but also because much southern food is essentially outdoor food.  You need healthy, vibrant livestock (tougher to find in the north) and months of warm weather to enjoy it.  If you only have 2 months to use a smoker because it's outside, it probably won't become a staple of your culinary tradition.

Northerners and southerners have had different foods available to them, and Yankees are limited by the crops and livestock that live in the area.  Southern food is the closest thing our nation has to a unique culinary tradition, and it should be considered on par with any other uniquely american institution (though yes, I acknowledge significant foreign influences in the creation of that style of food).


July 6th, 2010 at 11:18 AM ^

While much of that is factually correct... yes, it does come off as a tad racist.

That was never my intent, so I apologize for that.

Racism, in policy, law and personal beliefs, were obviously an enormous part of shaping the SE. So it tends to pop up its very ugly head all over the place.


July 6th, 2010 at 10:16 AM ^

I've ever had was at a place called Dirty Ernie's Rib Pit in WV.   We were on a rafting trip memorial weekend. 

I thought they were going to have to cart me out of that place.   Fantastic food.  It must be fairly well know as they had signed flags and shirts pinned to the ceiling from numerous college and pro teams etc..

Louie C

July 6th, 2010 at 10:27 AM ^

You've got some pretty good advice here; there's nothing I can can add. I strongly suggest you invest in or either build a smoker. You will not be sorry. As far as different techniques, recipes, and styles, Google is your friend. To me, the most fun is the experimentation.

No.9 Hamburgers

July 6th, 2010 at 10:28 AM ^


Remember, BBQ is low and slow with indirect heat.

Items you will need.

Charcoal Grill: Webber or Green egg. Not so much for the name, but look for something with a dome design that you can control the air flow from the bottom and top of your unit.

Charcoal: Hardwood lump charcoal. It is much more stable than briquettes for a heat source.  If you need them to, they also burn hotter. It is also easier to incorporate other hardwoods for flavor.

I can provide more info but it all depends on how serious you are about your BBQ.

Twisted Martini

July 6th, 2010 at 10:36 AM ^

Had a party yesterday where I did 2 pork shoulders, a 10 lb brisket and about 100 bacon wrapped meatballs, called MOINK balls.  I started with a cheap Brinkmann smoker from Lowes at about $60, and learned along the way.  Upgraded to a Big Green Egg on Fathers Day.  

There are so many great resources for BBQ on the internet-blogs, forums, videos.  You can really take your game up.  One I would recommend is http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/, more information than you will ever need.  And a ton of people who make their own smokers.  

Good eating!


July 6th, 2010 at 11:08 AM ^

Pork shoulder...that reminds me...you young whipper-snappers that are either still in college or maybe just out of college probably can't cook very well, right? Your idea of cooking a big feast is marinating some chicken breasts and grilling them. You THINK you know how to cook a steak (you don't).

At some point in your life, you're going to meet a girl that you want to know for more than a couple of hours. And at some point, you're going to want to show her that you're NOT a little boy who spends his entire day wearing a backwards baseball cap and playing some dumbass video game. And at some point, you're going to have to meet moms and pops and you're going to need to impress them.

Hopefully, you were not raised by wolves. You know to stand up straight, look them both in the eye when you meet them, firm handshake, and enunciate. Speak clearly, don't shuffle your feet, and act like a man, dammit.

OK, you REALLY want to impress them? Remember the stories we all loved about the Korean family that came to Ann Arbor and surprised the co-habitating Korean girl and the mgoblogger? Yeah, I can't help you there. BUT...if moms and pops come and you want to show that their darling little girl has met a man (<-- !!!!) worthy of their daughter's love -- learn how to cook. And learn how to cook Cuban food.

Everyone likes Italian food, right? And their second favorite ethnic food is either Chinese or Mexican. OK, baked ziti is so simple that a blind retarded monkey with no arms could do it. Learn how to make your own tortillas (which consist of flour, fat, water and a little leavening agents) and you're 90 percent of the way home.

But CUBAN FOOD is delicious. And it's easy. And it's cheap. And it makes your house or apartment smell like Jesus just finished playing backgammon. Or something really good anyway.

Pork shoulder or boston butt or a picnic roast. It will feed a lot of people. You end up making cuts all over it, slathering it with olive oil and then putting little wedges of fresh garlic in the cuts. You let it marinade in a combo of garlic, orange and lime juice and zest, and oregano overnight. Then you roast it at 425 for half an hour. Take it out, baste it, reduce your heat to 375 and throw it back in for a half an hour. Take it out, make sure it's done, let it rest and carve.

Get some plantains, slice them, sautee them, make a rum and brown sugar sauce and add it to the pan at the end. These go on the side with black beans and rice.

You cook the black beans by soaking them over night and then simmering them for about 90 minutes with a ham hock. Make some pesto (basil, toasted pine nuts, garlic, salt, pepper, and oilive oil) and some good long-grain rice. Combine...mix....boom.

Make it for a bunch of your buddies until you master it. Then make it for your parents. Then make it for hers. It will take maybe five or six times to really get the hang of it and then you can make it in your sleep.

And now back to barbecue talk....


July 6th, 2010 at 11:25 AM ^

and that was music to my ears.  There is nothing better than (very) slow cooked black beans and rice with some plantains.  However, I have to add that the way I learned it, there are two ways to make plantains- if they are overripe (we are talking black), you slice them and sautee them sweet.  If they are underripe (green and hard), you slice them, sautee them salty.  My mother always told me there wasn't much you could do with them in between.

Have you ever made Ropa Vieja (literally meaning old clothes or rags)?  Take a large London broil, boil it until it is cooked through, then spend about 3 hours shredding it by hand like a piece of string cheese.  When that's done sautee it with some peppers, onions, tomatoes, some sherry vinegar and a few other ingredients that escape me at the moment (I don't have the recipe on hand) and serve over rice... delicious.

I grew up with a Cuban mother (came over after the Revolution) and southern father, so I love both styles of cooking.  Good man for giving props to Cuban cooking!

P.S. Never order Cuban black beans at a restaurant because chances are they aren't cooked over several days and will either have the consistency of baked beans or soup- neither are good.


July 6th, 2010 at 12:41 PM ^

If they are underripe (green and hard), you slice them, sautee them salty.  My mother always told me there wasn't much you could do with them in between.

It would be impossible for me to get green and hard plantains. In the store, I get the yellow and just a little black plantains. I have done the fried-and-salty bit (put a little fresh black pepper on them too!), but I really like the rum and sugar sauce.

It's about a quarter-stick of butter, maybe a half cup of brown sugar and a half cup of good, dark rum (none of that clear crap). Cook it until it reduces and you can do the plantains in the sauce.

I like my black beans cooked to the point that they turn to mush in your mouth. They still have their form on the plate, but they get pasty if you agitate them at all. Tasty, tasty, tasty.

Cuban food is awesome, so feel free to invite me over to your mom's house for dinner. : )


July 6th, 2010 at 11:37 AM ^

After an entire weekend of eating delicious grilled food and willfully wreaking havoc on my digestive system, I came into work today looking forward to getting a nice fresh Subway sub for lunch and getting my diet back on track.

Thanks to this thread, I now pretty much have no choice but to head over to Bone Daddy's and grab a brisket sandwich or some pulled pork or something.  GODDAMN YOU PEOPLE


July 6th, 2010 at 12:35 PM ^

for people who have grown up in areas of this country that have their own way of bbq, like texas, the carolinas, memphis, and st. louis and kansas city, telling one another that yours is the best kind and theirs sucks isnt ever going to convert them.  that is why if you want to convert somebody to the kind you think is best you have to find a northerner who isnt well versed in bbq.  so for all of you who don't know much about bbq (or those from the missouri area who for some reason havent been here yet) this is the best bbq ever and if you find yourself around there you owe it to yourself to try it out.  get the rib and shrimp combo.



July 6th, 2010 at 12:48 PM ^

I moved from Michigan to Alabama six years ago and have since been introduced to the smoker.  Let me tell you there is nothing better than hanging out on the back porch drinking beer, smoking some ribs, and watching college football, preferably Michigan.  I built my own last year but you can purchase them online.  The key is to marinade the meat for at least 24 hours in a vinegar based marinade(I like Wickers brand) and liberally apply a pork rub before throwing the meat in the smoker.  About 45 minutes per pound at 275 deg. for boston butt(pig shoulder) and about 1 hour per pound at 225 deg. for ribs.  I prefer to cover the boston butt for the last 2/3 of cooking time to keep the moisture in.  I use hickory and pecan wood but apple and cherry work great as well and they would be a lot easier to get up there.  I like to mix and match the type of wood sometimes, first half with a fruity would and second half with a true smoking wood like Oak or Hickory.  Chicken, fish, and brisket are also great things to throw in the smoker, but I am partial to the pig. 

A great website to reference is www.thesmokering.com.  It is the MGoblog of grilling/smoking/barbequeing.

Hope this helped....