To start us off, here are a few quick facts about barbecue!
- The word “barbecue” applies not only to the method of cooking, but also the foods, devices, and gatherings associated with this manner of cooking.
- Barbecuing and grilling (think: burgers, hot dogs) are two distinct cooking methods. The primary difference is the cooking time and temperature. Barbecue is traditionally cooked “low and slow” while grilled foods are cooked over high heat and relatively quickly.
- A primary purpose of barbecuing is to break down and tenderise cuts of meat, such as brisket or ribs, which would otherwise be very tough and chewy.
- There are a number of different types of BBQ smokers, which use various types of fuel including wood, charcoal, and pellets.
BBQ Tips for Pros (The “Traditional” Method)
Regardless of which type of BBQ smoker you prefer to use, the benefits are clear: this low and slow method of cooking produces tender and savoury meat with a distinct smoky flavour. Barbecue pros may each have their own favorite technique and flavour preference, yet each one has its merit.
Helpful BBQ Tips & Tricks:
- It may be helpful to use an external thermometer, either a digital instant-read or leave-in probe(s), to make sure you are getting the most accurate results so you can properly estimate your cooking time and temperature.
- A popular tip when smoking meats is to aim for a light blue, billowy smoke, which can be attained by adjusting the air flow to just the right amount—neither too little nor too much air.
- Experiment with different types of hardwood (whether in the form of chunks, chips, or pellets) to impart unique flavour combinations into your smoked meats:
BBQ Tips for Beginners (The “Easy” Method)
Perhaps you’re still not ready to take the plunge into barbecuing, or you don’t have access to a smoker? That’s okay—we’ve got you covered! The good news is that you can mimic many of the characteristics of traditional BBQ using an electric slow cooker. The similar process of low and slow cooking over a long period of time, still helps to tenderise tough cuts of meat, allowing you to create BBQ favorites like pulled pork or shredded chicken.
Beginner BBQ Tips & Tricks:
Here are few tips to help you get the most out of this “cheat” method:
- Add a drop of liquid smoke for that extra barbecue flavour. And don’t forget your favorite BBQ sauce!
- Sear the meat before adding it to the slow cooker to incorporate more contrasting textures and flavours.
- Remove the slow cooker lid toward the end of the cooking time and cook on high for a few minutes to allow some moisture to evaporate.
- Alternately—you can “crisp up” some of the meat once it is shredded, in a stovetop skillet for more of a carnitas-style texture.
- Use BBQ rubs or spices such as smoked paprika to season your food with more of a traditional smoky barbecue flavour.
Have a great BBQ!