So are you BBQ'ing tonight? Or maybe Grilling? Wait, what's the difference?
Barbecue is usually cooking and smoking the meat over wood or charcoal. Barbecue is typically a much slower method utilizing less heat (210F or lower) than grilling. Grilling is typically done at a higher radiant heat (500F+), with the source coming from above (broiling) or below (think gas grill).
Lower heats are best for fish, ribs, brisket and larger cuts of meats that need a long slow cooking process. Grilling on the other hand is great for burgers, steaks and sausages. Chicken can go either way.
BBQ is a world wide practice, with seasonings and sauces varying. In Jamaica - spicy jerk reigns. Bulgogi in Korea brings out the soy sauce flavors of marinated beef. Asia has satay, India has the tandoor ( a clay oven that uses low slow heat for yogurt marinated meats and naan) In the Mediterranean, olive oil is key for their kebabs, and the Germans favor pork. Scandinavia does all meats, with wild game making an big appearance. Latin America is known for their whole pig bbq's.
The US has the most (I am guessing) heated debate on BBQ. The sauce in particular. We have the vinegar sauces of the south. The tomato based sauces of the midwest. Beef in Texas, Pork in the South. Memphis uses a dry rub to cook then a wet sauce to finish their ribs and pulled pork sandwiches. In the Carolinas, they use the dry rub and mop with a vinegar based sauce during cooking. In South Carolina, there is a tri-sauce approach - mustard based sauces in the central area of the state, a ketchup based sauce in the west and vinegar and pepper sauce on the whole hog on the coast. In Kansas City, the meat is smoked with a dry rub, then a molasses sweetened thick sauce is served to eat.
In Texas, the meat varies from the southern style, to cooking the cow's head. In Virginia pork reigns, with a sauce of vinegar, peppers, corn, tomatoes and bourbon. California is known for tri-tip, a cut of beef from the bottom sirloinprimal cut. It is a small triangular muscle, usually 1.5 to 2.5 lbs. per side of beef), done in a Santa Maria BBQ style of salt, pepper and garlic salt grilled over red oak and served with toasted french bread.
Hawaii has it's luaus, where the pig is buried in the sand with coals and banana leaves.
Wood plays a big part in BBQ too - adding flavor and of course that smoky flavor. There are many to choose from, so I share this chart to help you choose.
So weather you choose pork or beef, dogs or fish, enjoy your summer grillin' and BBQ'ing season. And don't forget to grill some veggies and fruit for a balanced meal. And for all you vegans - their are lot's of great options for burgers, sausages and even tofu on the grill.....but perhaps more on that for another blog.