With temperatures reaching 100 degrees or more the past few weeks, summer is definitely here! That means it’s officially barbeque season as well.
And I’m not just talking about hot dogs and premade beef patties you get from the store…I am talking real deal, cook for 8-12 hours, low and slow barbeque.
To talk barbeque, I went to Kevin Andrus; a Kansas City Barbeque Society certified judge as well as an experienced barbeque pit master. Before moving up here to the Wenatchee Valley, Andrus moved from Grand Junction, Colorado, where he started a professional barbeque contest with a payout of over $20,000 and was sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society.
So to help impress those family members and neighbors you are having over this summer, Mr. Andrus shared a few tips about how to make some delectables slabs of meat.
1. Barbeque and grilling are different
“People think barbequing is for hot dogs and hamburgers - that’s grilling”, says Andrus. “Grilling is done over direct high heat and barbeque is low and slow.”
2. You don’t need a smoker to barbeque
Pellet smokers are really popular now and they produce some really good barbeque by controlling temperature and smoke level. You can also create good barbeque on your backyard charcoal grill with soaked wood chips. Just push the coals to one side and add some soaked wood chips to the coals. Place your meat on the other side of the grill. Carefully watch your temperature, keeping it between 225 - 250, and add more coals and wood chips as needed.
3. Different meats take different seasoning rubs
Rubs taste different in your hand then they do on the finished product. The most important thing to do is experiment and find your own favorite combinations.
For brisket: salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. (Various premade rubs are available as well. Andrus gets his brisket rub from the Salt Lick in Texas.)
For chicken: salt, sugar, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and maybe a little cayenne pepper.
For pork: salt, pepper, paprika, dry mustard and brown sugar.
A good place to find some of the best rubs and sauces in the country is thekansascitybbqstore.com.
4. Let the rub sit on the meat
“Once you season the meat with the rub, let it sit in the refrigerator for three or four hours”, says Andrus. “Take the meat out of the refrigerator a half an hour to an hour before you put it on your smoker or grill. By letting the meat get to room temperature the sugars start to melt and it creates its own marinade.”
5. Additional ways to flavor meat
The type of wood you use creates different flavors of smoke. Mesquite and oak can be hard and tend to overpower the taste of the meat. Fruit woods are sweet and mellow. A good all around barbeque wood is hickory.
Another way to impart flavor while cooking is with a mop sauce. This also helps keep the meat moist. A simple mop sauce would be apple juice combined with a small amount of your seasoning rub.
6. Patience produces delicious barbeque
Andrus cooks his pork butt and beef brisket at 225 for 8 - 12 hours, reaching a final meat temperature of 195 degrees. Baby back ribs are cooked at 250 for about 4 hours, and cook St. Louis style ribs at 250 for about 4.5 - 5 hours.
7. Ribs that fall off the bone are overcooked
One of the biggest misconceptions in barbeque is that if the meat is falling off the bone, then it’s done just right. In the professional world of barbeque, it’s actually overdone. You know ribs are done just right when your bite of meat comes away clean from the bone, but leaves all the other meat around it intact.
“The number one thing I would say about barbeque is have fun with it. Experiment, let your family and friends be the guinea pigs, make some memories, and soon you could be the hit of the neighborhood.”