​Les Kincaid's



BBQ-How To Do It All

​​​Our dictionaries insist that the one and only correct spelling is barbecue. However, it's impossible to think of only one way to spell it since many have used many ways to explain what they have done to the meat at hand. Like barbicue, barbique, barbeque, Bar-B-Que, Bar-B-Cue, Bar-B-Q, BBQ, Cue, and just plain Q. 

The Spanish spelling of the Indian name for their method of cookery was "barbacoa."
Both the name and method of cooking found their way to North America, where George Washington noted in his diary of 1769 that he "went up to Alexandria to a "barbicue."
Our Department of Agriculture defines barbecue as any meat "cooked by the direct action of heat resulting from the burning of hardwood or the hot coals there from for a sufficient period to assume the usual characteristics" including the formation of a brown crust and a weight loss of at least thirty percent.

The dictionary will also tell you that the noun "barbecue" has at least four meanings: 

1.  A framework to hold meat over a fire for cooking 
2.  Any meat broiled or roasted on such a framework 
3.  An entertainment, usually outdoors, at which such meat is prepared and eaten. 
4.  A restaurant that makes a specialty of such meat. 

Barbecues have long been a popular "social occasion" throughout America.
Ask anyone, that cooks, all across the country just how do you barbecue, and you will likely get several answers. And, they may all be right! Barbecue cookery is definitely American, but not a science. There is no single absolutely right way and, of course, any totally wrong way.

The controversy continues whether to use wood, charcoal, briquettes or gas. Most "die hard" cookers will insist on wood. Not just wood, but a specific kind of wood like hickory, oak, alder, etc. Personally, I think you do with, as you feel best. Serious cookers might dig up their backyard and build a pit. Others get up over the weekend and fire up the backyard gas barbecue and start to prepare their favorite "Que."

The term barbeque is highly overused. There is a major difference between grilling and barbecuing. 

All grilling is done over the direct heat of a fire. Many people own multiple grills, thus charcoal grills have not gone by the wayside as sales of gas climb. Electric grills, while a minor factor in the outdoor grill market, appeal especially to "retired" households and condominium dwellers. 

The main object is to sear the outside and concentrate the juices on the inside. This searing or the browning of the outside of the food causes the "grilled flavor". 
Grilling is a somewhat healthy method of cooking because additional oils or fats are lightly used, and as the food cooks the, so called, bad fat renders out and drips through the cooking grate on to the flames. 

Barbecue on the other hand is the process of slowly cooking meat at low temperatures for very long periods of time. Barbecue is never cooked rare. It is always well done to the center. A meat thermometer is essential here for the novice. Whatever the temperature used, a basting sauce is in order. In barbecue terms, this is called a "mop sauce." Mop sauce should be non-tomato and non-sugar. Tomato and sugar tend to burn at a very low temperature and turn bitter. 

A "finishing sauce" is applied to the meat in the last minutes of cooking. Your favorite homemade or bottled sauce is in order here. Where you live has a lot to do with the meat you favor.

Basically east of the Mississippi or North of Oklahoma, pork is the barbecue. A barbecued whole hog is a delight to behold and even more delightful to consume. You will also find a lot of "pulled pork"; that is, pork roasts cooked to falling-apart tenderness and then shredded and served with a generous dollop of sauce. 

The folks in Kentucky lean toward mutton as the barbecue of choice.

In Texas, by far the meat of choice is beef. The beef of choice is the brisket. The brisket comes from the breast of a bovine, between the front legs.
It's boneless and usually very fatty. But if your heart can stand it, the fat imparts a delicious flavor.
However, south Texas, cabrito (baby goat) is favored for the barbecue. Adult goats are also very popular. Authentic Texas barbecue can also include beef ribs, pork spareribs or country style ribs (which are in reality cut from pork shoulder), pork shoulder roast and chicken. It's all delicious.
Often finishing sauce is applied to the meat in the last fifteen to thirty minutes of cooking. In the east this has no red color to it, but in the west, be careful not to scorch the sauce. Serve the remaining sauce with the meat for dipping. 

All barbecuing is basically the same. Season the food and cook it. Seasoning comes in all colors and descriptions. It can be as simple as salt and pepper, or you can go into the exotic rubs and bastes and marinades.

Most good barbecuers start with a dry rub for the meat. That is, dry seasonings applied directly to the meat before it's put on the pit. Rub are generally applied to the meat a day ahead of cooking time and kept refrigerated. Most rub recipes include paprika for color. Here are a couple of my favorite rubs.

2 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons granulated onion 
2 teaspoons granulated garlic 
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon of ground bay leaf (about 1 2 leaves) (ground in a coffee grinder)
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground savory
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt to taste

Mix all the ingredients together in an airtight container mix well and store up to 4 months.

Yield:  3/4 cup

Southwestern Rub
2 teaspoons amber cumin 
2 teaspoons white cumin 
1 teaspoons black cumin 
2 tablespoons chili powder 
2 tablespoons paprika 
1 tablespoon ground coriander 
1 tablespoon granulated garlic 
1 tablespoon kosher salt 
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper 
1 teaspoon dried oregano 

In a small mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients together. Mix thoroughly. This spice mixture should be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months. 

Yield:  1/2 cup

Rub For Fish
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup cumin seed toasted and ground
1/4 cup coriander seed toasted and ground
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

Mix all the ingredients together in an airtight container mix well and store up to 4 months.

Yield:  about 2 1/4 cups

Beef Or Pork Dry Rub
4 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper 
1 tablespoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon mild New Mexico chili powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon thyme dried
1 tablespoon rosemary dried
1 tablespoon cornstarch

In the top of a double boiler, combine all ingredients accept the cornstarch. Heat over simmering water until the ingredients are warm to the touch (about 160 F). Stir continuously during heating. As the sugar dissolves, it may form a crust. Transfer the heated mixture to a glass bowl and cool to room temperature. Break apart the crusty mix and rub the mixture between your fingers so that it becomes granular again. Add the cornstarch and stir to mix. Use immediately or keep in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store in a cool dark place.

Spice Rub For Beef Or Lamb

This fragrant rub is good on most cuts of beef and lamb; especially flank steak, shoulder steak, lamb shoulder chops, and butterflied leg of lamb.

1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon white peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Toast the peppercorns, coriander, and cumin in a small skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent burning, until the first wisps of smoke appear, 3 to 5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat; cool the spices to room temperature, then mix with the pepper flakes and cinnamon.
Grind the spice mixture to a powder in a spice grinder or coffee mill. 
(The rub can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several weeks.)

Yield:  scant 1/4 cup