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Barbecue Is Big Business In The South, Here's How To Barbecue
Are You Getting Ready To Start Grilling This Summer?Click thumbnail to view full-size
Are You Ready To Barbecue
I know I am. I'm already buying meat for my meat freezer and getting ready. This year I'll have room for a indirect grill smoker in addition to my regular grill and I'm excited and getting ready already. Today the temperature was near 70 and I was almost ready to lite the grill up but a raising cool wind convinced me to wait a few more days.
Now I have a screened in back porch and I have installed a charcoal grill out there with a fire safety wall behind the grill and under the grill. I also hung an ABC Fire Extinguisher right behind the grill so I can get to it if I ever need it. And now I can cook year round. If you don't want to cook your barbecue outdoors in the cold winter months you can easily use a George Foreman Grill indoors.
Here in the south the definition of barbecue means to cook meat outdoors in a closed grill or a brick pit by indirect heat. This way you cook the meat slow with out drying it out or burning it. The biggest problem a lot of newcomers to barbecue make is they try to cook their meat on to hot of a fire and they don't like the way the meat turns out and they give up. Barbecue cooked right does not get burned on the outside. Your fire should be over on one side and your meat should be over on the other side. That is the right way to cook barbecue.If you cook it right the meat will fall right off the bone.
Throughout the south an especially here in North Carolina basting sauces and serving sauces are as important as how you cook the meat. And almost everyone has an ideal of what's right and what's not. Here I'm going to give you the basics along with some great recipes and lets see what you can do.
1. You need a pair of heavy duty rubber gloves to handle and test hot cooked meat. Pork is done when you feel it give beneath your fingers and it registers 160 degrees on a meat thermometer. I buy the lined heavy duty plastic gloves made to resist heat and that way I can throw them in the washing machine and wash them after each use.
2. Place charcoal briquets on the top of all ready burning coals in small piles on one side of your grill. Keep your fire burning steady and allow several hours to get your charcoal going and your grill hot before you put your meat on the grill. Its very important that the grill be hot before you try to cook on it. If I know I'm going to be needing a lot of charcoal later I will start a charcoal fire in a smaller grill on the side so I can use those coals if I need to.
3. Remember to keep adding coals and wood on a regular basis to maintain a good cooking temperature. If you add wood you should soak the wood overnight in a mixture made from 6 parts water and 1 part apple cider vinegar. Or soak it in a mixture of half water and half apple cider. This will insure that the wood won't burn up quickly and will give you lots of good smoke to flavor your meat.
4. If your cooking a lot of meat always build an auxiliary fire in a bucket, a charcoal chimney or in a extra grill. This way if the fire under your meat goes out you can put another fire together real quick. You can also purchase a charcoal chimney to keep extra charcoal going so you can add it when needed.
5. Resist peeking. You will only lose heat and the meat will take that much longer to cook. Also never poke your meat with a fork. Use tongs to turn your meat over or wear your heavy duty gloves to turn the meat over. I know you will hear debate about it but never poke your meat. This lets important juices out that you need to leave in your meat until you get ready to cut it up and serve it.
6. You should start soaking your chunks of hardwood in water the day before. If you have to do it in a hurry you'll have to soak your wood in water for at least an hour or it will burn up quickly. You want smoke not fire so keep that in mind. This is why in reality you need to soak any wood chunks that you are going to use over night. This is the best way to keep the wood from burning up in a hurry.
7. Always think food safety when your working with any raw meat but especially chicken. Avoid cross contamination and clean all surfaces with a strong bleach/water solution while you work. Never put meat on any plates or trays where chicken has been until they are washed in a strong bleach/water solution. Don't return cooked chicken to the plate it was on when raw.
8. Remember the rule to keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Never take utensils out of any thing and use them in something else with out washing the utensils.Always think food safety. Have enough serving spoons or ladles so no spoon or ladle gets used in anything but the item it is first used in.
9. The long, slow process of cooking a delicious brisket using smoldering charcoal and well soaked wood works well but it does take time. You can't rush your meat or you'll be disappointed every time. If you want to serve a delicious barbecued beef brisket at 7 P.M. you'll need to start cooking by 11 A.M. to have it cooked to perfection. It really needs to be cooked over indirect heat where you use a large grill with the charcoal fire on one side in the grill and you have your brisket cooking over on the other side. You need a large grill to be able to do this. And to keep the heat and smoke in the grill must have a lid.
Barbecue is the mental cue that summer is here and its time to get out the grill. Having a back yard family barbecue is the best way to get summer started. Its the perfect time of year to take the cover off the grill and clean up the grill. Get rid of all the dust and make sure the cooking grates are clean and well oiled with vegetable oil. The smells of barbecue and grilling gets my blood racing and I start thinking about what recipes I want to try on the grill this year.
At my first barbecue dinner of the year I like to offer chopped pork barbecue, barbecue ribs, and barbecue chicken. With slaw, buns, and hush puppies you have one of the most delicious meals you'll ever taste in your life. But remember you can use a George Foreman Grill to cook a great barbecue meal indoors even in the middle of winter.
Barbecue Bacon Wrapped Corn
Let me tell you how to make some of the best grilled corn that you'll ever make and eat in your life. I buy corn that is fresh as possible and then I shuck my corn and remove the silks. I ten wrap my corn with bacon and secure it with toothpicks. I soak my bacon wrapped corn in Italian Dressing for a couple of hours and then I grill my corn until the bacon is crisp and done.
You'll end up with some of the best grilled corn that you'll ever eat in your life. Yes it really is that good. When you make it let me know how it turns out for you.
Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwich With Slaw.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pulled Pork Is Oh So Delicious
You can see pulled pork in the photo just above. I've been making pulled pork for a number of years now. What I suggest you do is buy a marinade injection needle and use it to inject your pork shoulder or Boston butt with the below East Carolina Barbecue Sauce. I suggest trying to inject an ounce of sauce for each pound of meat. You may not be able to get that much in but you can try.
Now comes the interesting part. If you have a large slow cooker or crock pot that the Boston Butt will fit in you can cook your Boston butt or pork shoulder in the crock pot or slow cooker. Don't add over a couple of cups of Pepsi at a time to the crock pot or slow cooker. Set it on high and allow it to cook for 8 - 10 hours. You want your meat to cook until you can use a fork and pull it apart like in the above photo.
Make the Western North Carolina Barbecue Sauce by the below recipe and serve it on the side with your pulled pork. On a hot bun you'll have a sandwich you won't soon forget. Make the below barbecue slaw to go on your pulled pork sandwich.
Barbecue Slaw Recipe
1. Four Cups Cabbage Chopped Up Fine.
2. One Third Cup Ketchup.
3. Two Tablespoons North Carolina Barbecue Sauce From Below.
4. Two Tablespoons Sugar.
5. One Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar.
6. One Teaspoon Ground Sea Salt.
7. One Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper.
Mix all your ingredients up together and chill your barbecue slaw over night before you serve it with your pulled pork sandwiches. You now have some of the best barbecue slaw ever and it will make your pulled pork barbecue sandwiches into the best barbecue sandwich you'll ever eat in your life. No one makes a better barbecue slaw.
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Barbecue Sauce From The Carolina's
As I said above you'll find different barbecue sauces used in different parts of the U.S.A. and especially here in North Carolina. The two recipes I'm going to share below with you are both from here in North Carolina. North Carolina is well known for its deliciously pungent peppery vinegar based sauces and these two recipes won't let you down.
East Carolina Barbecue Sauce
1. One Quart Apple Cider Vinegar.
2. One Tablespoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes.
3. One Tablespoon Ground Sea Salt.
4. One Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper.
Stir all your ingredients together in a saucepan and cook until it almost comes to a boil and quickly reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook at least one hour on a low simmer. This barbecue sauce is used down here in East Carolina on pork but it works great on chicken and beef to. You'll find this sauce also served in squirt bottles on the table. This sauce is squirted on pork while it is cooking and as it is not sugar based it won't burn your meat the way some barbecue sauces will.
Listen both of these wonderful recipes are just perfect. You may not believe me but I make the best barbecue and barbecue sauce in the world. No one makes it better than me. I guarantee you that the below sauce is so good that you could drink it. No one makes a better sauce. Try it and see what you think.
Western Carolina Barbecue Sauce
1. One Quart Apple Cider Vinegar
2. One Cup Brown Sugar.
3. One Cup Ketchup.
4. Four Tablespoons Hot Sauce.
5. One Tablespoon Onion Powder.
6. One Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper.
7. One Tablespoon Ground Sea Salt.
You want to put the ingredients in a large stock pot and stir together well with a wire whisk. Cook over low heat until all the sugar is dissolved. Cover and chill until your ready to use it. This sauce is wonderful on chicken, pork, or beef and its the one I use on my beef brisket. However don't brush it on your meat until the last thirty minutes of cooking time. If you put it on your meat to soon the sugar in your barbecue sauce will burn. I like to use the sauce above to marinade my chicken leg quarters in and then I grill them until done and I then brush the above sauce on them and cook for about 10 minutes on each side and I end up with some of the most delicious chicken you will ever eat.
I serve my barbecue with some chopped and some sliced and I always make sure squeeze bottles of both of the above sauces are on the table. I also make plenty of hamburger buns, pickles, barbecue slaw, corn on the cob, potato salad and banana pudding are on the table and I hardly ever have anything left. I hope if you make the above recipes that you'll let me know how they turned out for you. If you have any questions feel free to ask. Thanks for reading my Hub Page on Barbecue and I hope there is barbecue in your future real soon. Have a nice day.
© 2012 Thomas Byers