A good barbecue with friends is one of summer's finest pleasures. But the tradition of cooking meat over an open fire goes far beyond the very important secret recipe bbq sauce: all over the world there's a real ritual behind it.
This year the competition is set to be more serious than ever: KCBS Kansas City Barbeque Society, a non-profit company with over 19 thousand registered enthusiasts, dedicated to the promotion of barbecue competitions around the world, will be following each step.
Do you want to light your grill but not sure how to make barbecue to perfection?
No problem: the same KCBS shared 8 tips with us, simple tricks to prepare an authentic American barbecue guaranteed to impress your guests.
How to BBQ: 8 Expert Tips for the Perfect BBQ
Slow cooking is essential for an authentic American barbecue. So, no grilled sausages turned every few minutes: instead, the cooking must vary from between two and twelve hours. Slow cooking allows the formation of the so-called bark, or the desirable crust on the surface of the meat.
Choose Great Cuts
American barbecue cuts are big. Think ribs (whole ribs), pulled pork (pork shoulder strips) and brisket. Remember: it's always preferable to bring the cuts up to room temperature before going on the grill. If the meat is too cold before cooking it's easy to make mistakes, like burning or worse, leaving the meat partially raw.
SMOKE WITH RIGHT WOOD
Aromatic wood is often overlooked on barbecues but it can really make a difference. The correct use of wood varies according to the type of cut: you can use American walnut, aromatic Pecan or the barrel chunks.
Excellent results can only be obtained if you concentrate on cooking temperatures by measuring the food at its centre, with the help of a probe thermometer. Don't leave anything to chance, for meat the parameters are as follow: cook to 55 ° C for bloody, for medium cook to 65 ° C, for well cooked meat, cook to 75 ° C.
Since BBQing uses indirect heat and the cuts are never placed in direct contact with the heat source, it's important to know how to use the BBQ lid effectively to control air flow.
MARINADE THE MEAT
A marinade is an emulsion which covers the cut of meat, characterized by two basic elements, fat and acid. Its composition varies depending on the type of food: chicken goes well with a marinade with strong acidity, for example citrus, while pork and beef are perfect with sweet and sour marinades. And if marinating is the essential signature of the chef (everyone has their own variation according to taste), remember to be very careful: drain the meat before putting it on the fire, so as to avoid unexpected flames.
This is the spiciness necessary to dehydrate the surface of a moist meat: the so-called rub must endure, as we have said, the effects of cooking over long times. Experts say that a perfect crust, full-bodied and crisp, is created thanks to a fine and homogeneous spice.
Sauces are essential of the all American barbecue: the most common is red, tomato and spicy.
THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
It's also important to have the right BBQ, that can be gas, ready in about five minutes, or charcoal, which should be started about 45 minutes before cooking and needs more careful handling. Also get quality-resistant pincers and gloves: never compromise on safety.