BBQ Thoughts

I'm done with the regional wars of BBQ.  No longer do I give a shit about style or region or what constitutes "real" BBQ.  Let me clarify.  BBQ will always mean smoked meat, cooked slowly using a wood fire.  BBQ will NEVER mean getting together with your friends a throwing burgers and hot dogs on a gas "grill".  That's grilling man.  That's a cookout.  Or grilling out.  Whatever you want to call it, please stop calling it "having a BBQ".  That's misleading.  Don't be a liar. 

I'm talking about Memphis vs. Texas vs. Kansas City vs. Carolina and any other variation you may want to claim.  Where I've grown up, BBQ was synonymous with pork.  Brisket wasn't BBQ.  It was brisket.  But as we all know, in Texas that ain't the case.  In the Carolinas you have whole hog and chopped pork in vinegar.  Memphis got that dry rub action.  KC with the burnt ends.  Here's the thing.  I LOVE ALL OF IT. 

I used to be territorial about this shit, subscribing to the "BBQ means chopped pork sandwich in vinegar sauce" ideaology.  That's what my dad grew up on in Charlotte, NC and raised us to believe that this version of BBQ was the only version of BBQ.  When we moved to Arkansas when I was 12, I was appalled at the pulled pork and thick, sweet and spicy tomato based BBQ sauce.  So young, so stupid. 

The only thing I care about now?  Flavor.  Does it taste good.  That's the question to be asked.  I don't give a shit where you're from and I don't want to hear about why your city is the only city doing real BBQ.  We are in a new age of BBQ eating, where I believe those actually cooking the BBQ are becoming less territorial and competitive in how they view their particular style.  It should be a live and let live BBQ community.

My buddy Jay is always knockin' one of my favorite BBQ joints as being "White People BBQ".  I'm color blind when it comes to BBQ.  I want my ribs cooked properly and maybe a friendly atmosphere.  Black or white, rich or poor, yuppie location or hole in the wall is totally irrelevant.  Give me the best.  

I ventured into smoking beef short ribs last weekend for the first time, not your traditional Tennessee BBQ by any means.  I consulted Aaron Franklin's (of Franklin BBQ in Austin, supposedly best BBQ in country right now) new cookbook for how to go about smoking these giant, hedonistic beef ribs (4 ribs was 6 POUNDS of meat pre cooked).  I don't know for sure that I liked it better than pork, but it was pretty fucking great.  The coolest thing about his technique was the simplicity of the rub - equal parts salt and pepper.  I got my ass handed to me keeping the pit at 289 degrees for 10 hours, but I am now a believer in the beef.  Doesn't mean I am forsaking my native pork.  I'm only expanding my horizons of BBQ.  You should too. 

Don't be a BBQ elitist based on a region.  Focus on quality.  If a restuarant is making shitty BBQ, by all means make it known to the world (as I do with Phil's BBQ in San Diego).  All BBQ lovers are trying to spread the gospel of smoked meat.  We will be more effective if we stop fighting over the city it was made in.