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Mar 16, 2011 07:38 PM

BBQ Styles and Trends-Favorites and Dislikes

This is a spinoff of the regional foodways thread.
How do you like your BBQ? What meats, ways prepared, sides preferred.
No grilling allowed.
For me, being a transplanted KC'er, I search out heavily spiced dry rub, lots of hickory smoke,
spicy hot
sauce and brisket and ribs.And fries- none of this potato salad and mac & cheese stuff. Cole slaw is a side, not a topping..
Don't find that much in the Pacific Northwest, but I can dream.
How about you?

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  1. Given the near-absolute dearth of Texas-style barbecue in Boston--I once chewed out a pitmaster on my way out of a local barbecue restaurant because of the garbage he dared call brisket--I bought a Weber bullet and started making my own in the backyard: packer brisket, rubbed down with mustard and then coated in salt, pepper and half-sharp paprika, smoked with a mixture of wood chunks (usually 50% mesquite/50% fruitwood of some type) and lump charcoal.

    Serve the flat thin-sliced and the point chopped, sauce on the side, with white bread available for sandwiches. Bread and butter pickles, potato salad, beer, maybe a homemade pecan pie for dessert.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Jenny Ondioline

      Same here. Got tired of boiled ribs/shoulder and dry brisket, so I bought a WSM, hit the bbq forums, and never looked back.

      Packer brisket, black pepper, cayenne, and salt after it's rested. I smoke briskets with hickory, pecan, or mesquite. and serve with half-sour pickles, crackers, sharp chedder, charros beans.

      Pork ribs get a dry rub; mostly brown sugar, salt, pepper, and a few different chili powders. Smoked over applewood and served with fresh slaw.

      Pork shoulder gets fruit woods; usually a mix of apple, pear, or cherry. Seasoned with just salt and pepper; half pulled, half chopped because I like the texture. Once it's cooled down, douse with white vinegar mixed with salt, pepper, and catsup. Piled high on potato rolls with finely chopped vinegar slaw.

      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

        Jenny- How much did your packer brisket weigh? (Also who did you buy from here in Boston?)

        1. re: bizkat

          If I do full packers, they run 11-13 pounds, but sometimes for high-heat cooks, a 5-6 pound flat will do the job. Blood Farm in Groton (call first, they'll have to set one aside for you) is a good source, but last summer, I was getting decent flats and occasional packers from the BJs in Waltham, down the street from Russo's.

      2. dry rubbed pork ribs
        best sides, a wet washcloth and a roll of paper towels, a few napkins just don't do it. :-)

        1. This is a great question. Bar B Que is like pizza. Good, depends on where you’re from in the world. Southern Style BBQ is rock n roll. It’s unique to the US and everyone loves it. Man has been cooking over a live fire for hundreds of thousands of years. Can you imagine what the first cave man’s face looked like when he ate cooked meat for the first time? What about when they put salt on it for the first time. I am fascinated with anything that’s cooked over a live fire. There’s a book by Frahcis MallMann called Seven Fires, Grilling the Argentina Way that’s incredible. At our house we cook out in our fire pit that’s been designed for entertaining. My daughters and I have started to blog about it. Check it out if you like open fire pit cookery.


          2 Replies
          1. re: Woodfireguy

            That's a very nice blog there, Mr. Woodfireguy. I signed up for the duration.
            I'm interested in how Q has spread across regional & cultural/traditional borders to become something new.

            1. re: bbqboy

              Thanks bbqboy. We’re just getting started and will post more when we can get out there and cook. There’s still snow on the ground right now.

          2. I'm from KC as well. I'm pretty opinionated when it comes to 'cue. I've had my own team since 95 and became a certified judge about 10 years ago.

            For me its brisket cooked over hickory and cherry. I don't really care for mesquite. Very little sauce. I love burnt ends. as well. Spares, sausage chicken. Again, little to no sauce. Pulled pork is good too, and you're right cole slaw does not belong on a sandwich.

            Some friends and I have an ongoing debate about the zeeman sandwich at Oklahoma Joe's in KC. Its a brisket sandwich with cole slaw, provelone, and an onion ring on it. I much prefer beef and sauce only. Cheese should not be on barbecue, ever.

            I like just about any sides.

            15 Replies
            1. re: chileheadmike

              Mike, I've been following you for a long time (I'm originally from Overland Park) and have always been curious. What do you use to smoke your barbecue? I'm planning on buying my first smoker. I was going to latch on to a Brinkman Cimmeron but they've been discontinued. What would you recommend?

              1. re: SonyBob

                Not Mike, but I know a little about smoking. Stay away from Brinkman. All those cheap, thin-metal smokers leak like sieves and make fire control nearly impossible. The best reasonably priced smoker that uses charcoal or briquettes is the Weber Smokey Mountain. It comes in 18.5 and 22 inches. Go big. I've never heard anyone say "I wish mine was smaller." is the definitive source for such things. Good luck.

                1. re: SonyBob

                  I'm a barbecue writer, and I'd make the same suggestion as Cameraman. The Weber Smokey Mountain is easy to use, and it's not over the top expensive. Be sure to check the Virtual Bullet web site. Lots of great info there.

                  1. re: CyndiA

                    I am more of a "grill-guy," so this will show my naivete, but I see recs. (usually commercial) for the "Green Eggs." Are they useful, or hype for the home DIY "smoker?"



                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      I have a Big Green Egg, and it's a great outdoor cooker. It is more bake than grill though. It's designed for lid down. I'm fine with that, but it's a different approach to outdoor cooking. The main benefits are that you can get a huge range of outdoor cooking temps and can cook from high heat with a sear (better stated as carmelization) and pizza heat to low and slow with an even temp and not a lot of "tending" for ribs and shoulders etc.

                      I lean to the WSM for a couple of reasons. There's the price - a big difference with Weber much lower. The weight also comes into play. I really can't move a BGE around very well but can a WSM. Also, I can break down the Bullet and take it somewhere but need help with the Big Green Egg. The biggie for me is that I really love the flavor of charcoal briquettes, and I know I may get some flack on that, but that's just what I like. The "cleaner" smoke taste of natural lump highly recommended for the BGE is not the taste that I associate most with outdoor grilling/cooking.

                      I can pull great food off wood, charcoal, gas, electric, and pellet. I recommend various units to various people but only after chatting which can be in person, on the phone, online whatever. It's really important that the grill unit (whatever kind) works for the person.

                      Without a lot of info but hearing you say that you're the grill guy type and like DIY, then if you were purchasing, then I'd say Weber Smokey Mountain or perhaps the Ugly Drum by a guy who does them in his garage here in NC (no - I don't know him but have emailed back and forth). This would not be what I'd suggest to every person at all. The Big Green Egg is perfect for some outdoor cooks. I also recommend electric in some cases. The main thing is that a person needs to feel comfortable and have fun. If it's just sitting there, then it's a waste of money. I'm pretty practical that way (-:

                      1. re: CyndiA

                        Thank you for that breakdown.

                        Obviously, I am not really a "smoker," and use the Lynx 48 with the "smoker box," for what I do.

                        I have contemplated several additions, as we are designing an outdoor kitchen, and really love smoked meats, and NC BBQ.

                        Thank you,


                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          I march to my own drummer, and I would not say you are not a real "smoker." You do what works for you, and you have fun. That's what it's all about.

                          Yes. You will hear some people say that smoking has to be done a certain way. I just don't agree. I can taste the differences, but I've had great smoked food using various methods.

                          Lynx makes a great product as well. It is the high end and good for an outdoor kitchen format. I would suggest getting Baxter's wood. This is, again, only an email contact. He has a lot of wood and all prime quality. You can get various different flavors by changing up the wood.

                          NC barbecue is usually chopped, but you can also do a good pull with Bear Paws or it might be Bear Claws. They have a web site but are also on Amazon now. The price is very low, and they do work really well.

                          1. re: CyndiA

                            I'm a smoking hobbyist and I have 2 smokers. One is a vertical Brinkmann, the other is a Char Griller Outlaw. I rarely use the Brinkmann anymore due to temperature and smoke control issues. The Char Griller with sidebox requires just a little bit of tweaking and it's worked great for me when it comes to smoking ribs and shoulders. I haven't ventured into beef brisket largely b/c of the time it takes, but I'm sure it would do fine. I wouldn't say Char Griller is the best b/c off the line it requires some modifications, and the cast iron grates are high maintenance - but economically it's a great option.

                            Now, finding places that sell wood chunks (not chips) is another issue. Since the Barbeques Galore closed finding chunks has become a little more difficult.

                            1. re: Leadmine

                              It’s a great deal cheaper (and more reliable) to simply start chopping/cutting your own wood. I am able to get fruit woods, maple, oak, hickory, pretty much whatever I want, from a local “Tree Service.” It’s free (I have given the guys a couple 12 packs over the years). I have also snagged trunks from neighbors’ curbs. In a worst case scenario, you can also buy split logs a quarter cord at a time.

                              1. re: Leadmine

                                Wood chunks of different varieties can be found at Lowes and Home Depot as well as Academy Sports in 5 and 10 pound bags. If you want larger quantities and/or greater variety google wood chunks and you'll find a company that will deliver bigger bags to a hardware store for free in your area.

                                1. re: Cameraman

                                  I'll have to check that out but I haven't seen any at my local HD or Lowes other than hickory, oak, or mesquite chips. If they start carrying apple, pecan and cherry chunks I'll have to load my jaw into the cart to keep it from dragging the floor on my way out. Chopping my own wood is not feasible but finding a tree service is. Thx for the recs.

                              2. re: CyndiA

                                I greatly appreciate those recs., and will see what I can come up with.

                                For "pulled," we normally go with a restaurant's rendition, but with your help, maybe I can make the "next step?"

                                Thank you,


                          2. re: Bill Hunt

                            The BGE does offer some advantages- primarily, better(and easier) temperature control. It is very expensive though, and I wouldn't recommend it to a casual griller/smoker for that reason.

                            It is great for doing NC barbecue. NC barbecue is supposed to be cooked directly over the coals, so sidebox smokers aren't ideal. With the Egg, you're grilling directly over the coals, with more clearance between the grate and the coals than in most other grills or smokers.

                            1. re: Naco

                              Thank you for the info and clarification. Might come in handy, when we do the outdoor kitchen.



                        2. re: SonyBob

                          Sorry I had have seen this until now...

                          I have a WSM that I bought in 95. Still works as well as the day I bought it. I'm thinking about upgrading to the larger one so rib racks will fit more easily. The thing just keeps cranking out great barbecue with very little fiddling.

                      2. To paraphrase, I know it when I taste it. I'm from NJ, so just about anywhere else I've been and had local barbecue, it's been better. Lexington, NC style holds a special place in my heart as that's where I had that first "Aha!" moment. I can't say any particular wood smoke is bad, just sometimes poorly used.

                        Not much for sides, a few fries maybe. That mac-n-cheese type stuff just seems like a distraction used when the 'cues not that good.

                        Oh, yeah . . . right off the grill - pickin' at the bark when its still pretty hot. That's about the best I can think of!

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: MGZ

                          With Lex barbeque red slaw is a given. They served that in my small town NC elementary school cafeteria!

                          1. re: Sue in Mt P

                            Yep, slaw and, I suppose, hush puppies are apparently required by health code