Thursday, July 18, 2013

What is Barbecue (BBQ) to you?

THESE are BBQ ribs! (Wikimedia Commons)
I've been to places that specialize in BBQ where they smoke their meats over a slow wood fire, usually mesquite, and then have BBQ sauce on the side for those who want to add it. Because of the prevalence of the sauce on many menus, a lot of people think that BBQ means "covered in sauce".

Now, I'm not from the south, so I did grow up with that assumption for the most part - that it's the sauce that makes something BBQ. Then I attended my first chicken BBQ fundraiser dinner (popular around here) and there was no sauce to be found anywhere. That's when I learned that true BBQ was the cooking, not the sauce. The sauce was the accompaniment. And the chicken was delicious! 

I went out to dinner another time with a friend and had BBQ chicken and ribs. My dinner companion had asked if the ribs were cooked in the oven or on the grill. He was told by the owner that they were grilled. They weren't. Not only were they not grilled, they and the chicken were drenched in sauce. Apparently, that was this cook's idea of what BBQ is. It's not that it didn't taste good. The chicken was apparently cooked on the flat top and had some browning to it and the sauce was good, not too strong, sweet or spicy hot; but over all, this was NOT BBQ ribs - it was just ribs with BBQ sauce on them. I ended up taking those home to my friend Tom. I ate the chicken as well as the broccoli (cooked exactly as I like it) and the applesauce. I had plenty to eat without the ribs.  

So, as I asked up front, what do YOU consider BBQ? Is it meat cooked over an open flame or on a grill? Or is it just meat with BBQ sauce? Or is it some combination of the two? And, what is your favorite kind of BBQ? Whether that is meat or cooking style, I don't care. I'm just curious.

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