Barbecue 101

Barbecue 101

Tri-tip, a cut that has long been popular with grillers on the west coast, is gaining traction in the east.

Did you even know there is such a thing as the National Barbecue Association (NBBQA)? Well there is, and it has tips, trends and recipes from barbecue and grilling pros from across the country to pass along. According to their president, Roy Slicker of Slick’s Que Co. in Bend, Oregon, “BBQ is enjoying a boom right now, so there’s never been a better time to break out the equipment and give it a try.”


While pulled pork and BBQ spare ribs are still the go-to BBQ of choice for many, new and different cuts of meat are gaining a legion of fans and making outdoor cooking more accessible to the novice griller or smoker.

“Tri tip is a cut of meat that is popular on the West Coast,” explained Chris Anderson, director of marketing at Meyer Natural Foods in Louisville, Ky., “but it’s getting more and more popular because it’s not expensive and it’s fairly easy to prepare. St. Louis style ribs are also tasty, easy to make and wallet-friendly.”

There are also a host of new sauces and seasonings on the market. Fruit-based sauces fared well at this year’s NBBQA national conference. Ohio-based Ole Ray’s Sauces’ Blackberry Wine Barbeque & Cooking Sauce and California created The Rib Doctor’s Honey Classic Barbeque Sauce both earned first places medals. “These are fabulous on chicken, pork and seafood,” said Rib Doctor’s creator Hayward Harris, Jr.


Members of the National Barbecue Association are BBQ pros — owners of restaurants, catering companies, sauce and rub creators as well as meat and equipment makers — so they are full of advice. What’s their best? Here are the top five tips for making the most of the season:

·         Make sure your grill or smoker is in good shape, clean and ready to go. Clean grates; fire to burn off old messes. Also, check your supply of coals and or wood for smoking — you might need to refresh or replenish.
·         Talk to your butcher about what you want to accomplish—they can help you select the right cut and probably offer great tips on prep and cooking, even recipes.
·         Check out equipment options — there’s always something new to play with. Cenzeo’s Ribalizer, a 2014 NBBQA award of excellence winner, is a unique grill accouterment that makes ribs a snap for novices and pros alike. Past winner is becoming a must-have for folks who like to grill smaller items such as veggies or kebobs.
·         Think of rubs as preparation and sauces as finishing elements. “Rubs help enhance flavor during cooking, but sauces shouldn’t be added until the end or they will burn,” explained DennyMike Sherman of DennyMike’s, a Maine-based sauce and seasoning company. “Sauces should also be served on the side so folks can choose their own flavor and amount. That way, guests who like a little heat can ramp it up while tamer guests can go with fruit-based or mild sauces.”
•    Experiment and have fun. The only way to master a grill or smoker is to get out there and practice. The NBBQA website also offers an array of recipes along with podcasts with pros from all across the country. Don’t cook? Check out the BBQ Trail, an online map of member restaurants, representing some of the very best barbecue across North America.


“When you bust out the grill or smoker, bust out some new recipes as well,” encouraged Slicker. “Mix it up and try new things. Outdoor cooking is an excellent way to socialize, enjoy the summer and try your hand at a traditional but trendy way to cook.”

For novice cooks who don’t have a smoker, the Rib Doctor’s Grilled Salmon Filets or Slicker’s Tri Tips are awesome options. For more experienced outdoor cooks who like their meat cooked low and slow with a traditional BBQ smoker, try these recipes for classic pulled pork and BBQ ribs.

The Rib Doctor’s Grilled Salmon Filets

Nice center cut salmon filets
Olive oil
Salt and pepper or a favorite rub
BBQ sauce

·         Brush both sides lightly with extra virgin olive oil.
·         Season filets to taste with kosher salt and pepper or favorite rub.
·         Place seasoned filets skin side down on a clean, preheated grill.
·         Rotate filets 90 degrees after 2-3 minutes to create cross grill mark, cook another 2-3 minutes; flesh should turn from orange to opaque pink.
·         Using a fish spatula flip filet meat side down and cook another 2-3 minutes.
·         Using a fish spatula, place filet skin side down on grill and brush with warmed The Rib Doctor Honey Classic or your favorite BBQ sauce, cook another minute.
·         Remove filet, brush again with warmed BBQ sauce, cool about 5 minutes.
·         Plate, garnish, serve and enjoy!
Tip: Cook filets on a fine mesh BBQ wire grill fish rack if concerned about fish flaking apart.

Roy Slicker’s Tri-Tip

This trendy cut of meat and unique preparation method produce a super tender barbecued tri-tip.

Choice peeled tri-tip
Worcestershire sauce
A favorite rub

Soak in Worcestershire sauce and then sprinkle with favorite rub; let sit for an hour

Preheat your oven to 325
Set grill on med-high, making sure it’s warmed up really well
“Mark” the tri-tip on the grill — rotate meat to get noticeable char marks on each side; about 2 min per side. The outside of the meat should look brown with grill marks
Remove from grill and finish in the oven until the internal temperature reaches 118-125 – (this is for rare meat)
Let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing it diagonally
Serve with hot ground horseradish

DennyMike’s St. Louis Style Ribs

Yellow mustard; use any commercial prepared yellow mustard
DennyMike’s Sublime Swine or your favorite rub
Ask your butcher for St. Louis style ribs; these are 2.75 lbs. and smaller

If meat is wet, use paper towels to pat dry.
Peel membrane from bone-side of ribs.
Spread mustard all over meat using a basting brush or with gloved hands.
Remove any excess, but don’t be too picky as the mustard will cook off.
Prep meat liberally with rub of choice, place in food safe plastic bags or container and let sit overnight if possible, but at least 2-3 hours before cooking.
Before cooking, remove from refrigerator and let meat rest at room temperature for an hour prior to cooking.

Smoking Process (for pellet smoker)
Start ribs at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then lower temperature to 280 degrees for 45 minutes.
Flip and smoke at 180 degrees for 45 minutes then flip back and finish at 280-300 degrees for an additional 30 – 45 minutes or until done at 175-180 degrees.
Spritz ribs occasionally during smoking with unsweetened apple juice (just enough to keep the burnt ends moist).

If using a stick or lump charcoal pit
Set temp to 225 degrees. Cook without flipping for about 3-5 hours.
Spritz ribs occasionally during smoking with unsweetened apple juice (just enough to keep the burnt ends moist).

Classic Pulled Pork

7-8 lb. fresh pork butt or shoulder (bone in or boneless; bone in will cook a little more quickly)
French’s Yellow Mustard (or similar)
Rub of choice

Lightly cover butt with prepared yellow mustard
Wipe off any excess and make sure to cover all areas of red or pink meat.
Sprinkle liberally with rub of choice and place in food safe plastic bag or container and refrigerate overnight, if possible.
If advanced overnight prep is not possible, prep the meat 2 to 3 hours before cooking.

Smoker or oven: Set to 225°.
Three hours into cooking, spritz with apple juice and repeat hourly for the next 4 hours. Remove from oven or smoker and place on one sheet of 18” heavy duty tinfoil. Securely tent the foil around the meat to save juices and cook for an additional 1-3 hours or until you reach internal temperature should be 190-200°.

Allow to cool 30-45 minutes or until you can handle the pork without burning your hands. Remove all fat and add saved juices back into the pork. Break up pork so that it’s pulled or shredded to desired consistency. Top with your favorite sauce to serve.

Mark Lambert’s Pulled Pork Carbonara

¼ cup butter
One cup sliced onions
One cup sliced mushrooms
1tsp Italian seasoning
1tbsp fresh chopped garlic
2 tbsp fresh parsley
2 cups pulled pork
12 oz spaghetti or linguini
Three scrambled egg yolks at room temp
½ cup parmesan cheese

Saute onions, mushrooms, in butter until translucent and soft
Toss in chopped garlic, fresh parsley and Italian seasoning to taste
Cook pasta al dente
Toss together hot pulled pork and hot pasta with other ingredients.
Salt and pepper to taste.