Mike’s View on Barbecue
Barbecue, barbeque,BBQ, bar-b-cue
1. A meal cooked out of doors over an open fire.
2. An outdoor party or picnic where barbecue is served.
3. A grill, pit or fireplace used in barbecuing.
4. The food so cooked.
1. To cook (meat, fish, etc) on a grill, usually over charcoal with a seasoned sauce.
2. To cook meat in a highly seasoned sauce.
(For our purposes, I refer to barbecue as a cooking style, rather than an event or smoking device.)
Like the many Irish food favorites that have regional differences, such as Irish Stew, Colcannon, or Boxty, American barbecue varies greatly by location and region.
You could be in the Carolinas, where shredded or ‘pulled’ pork with a vinegary sauce is king, or in the heart of Texas where barbecue means beef brisket and beef ribs, and any sauce is shunned, or at the very least served well to the side.
If you are from western Kentucky, barbecued mutton is likely what you were raised on, and in Alabama they favor a white barbecue sauce with a mayonnaise as opposed to tomato base.
The beauty about barbecue is that, unlike French cooking, there is no one particular right or wrong way to prepare it. While there are generally accepted practices and principles that most pit masters (barbecue chefs) tend to adhere to, no one method or ingredient is patently right or wrong.
One thing that all do seem to agree on is that barbecue is best prepared ’low and slow’ over indirect heat, generally with hardwood charcoal and some small amount of local raw hardwood (apple, oak, beech,mesquite) added for smoke seasoning. The meat is cooked at temperatures between 100 to 120 Celsius, from four to fifteen hours, depending on the cut, until mouth wateringly tender.
The barbecue ‘pit’ used to cook the meat can range from a simple brick-lined hole in the ground with a grate, to a Weber kettle-style grill found in many Irish back gardens, to even one of the expensive commercial rotisserie-style pits preferred by professionals in barbecue restaurants in America. All cook slowly with indirect heat and smoke, turning the most challenging cuts of meat into very tender and flavorful delicacies.
MY STYLE OF BBQ
Here at Mike’s, our style is a combination of what I feel are the best of each region.Our Baby Back ribs are neither the wet sort (Kansas City) nor the dry-rubbed style (Memphis) but a type of ‘wet-dry’ popular in southern Illinois.
Our 12-hour ‘low and slow ’ barbecued pork is served Tennessee style, topped with crunchy homemade coleslaw. Speaking of coleslaw, our recipe is Grannys' from Chicago, and is not the too wet & creamy mayonnaise style, or the very tart vinegar type, but a balanced blend of both.
A WORD ABOUT RUBS AND SAUCES
Spice rubs (dry marinades) are typically generously applied to the surface of the barbecue meat prior to putting it on the pit. They are a blend of sugar and spice and everything nice….
Most pitmasters won’t divulge the full ingredient list, but closely guard their rub recipe. One common ingredient is sugar, which caramelizes during the smoking process, helping to produce a dark outer coating or ‘bark’ on the surface of the meat that is highly prized by barbecue enthusiasts. Our rub was the result of an entire summer of testing and formulating, and we think it rates among the best we’ve tasted.
Few subjects in barbecue provoke more debate than sauce. Mike’s signature sauce is a sweet and assertive blend of Kansas City style, thinner than some gloppy commercial styles, which can be used as a marinade as well. It is designed to work with Mike’s BBQ Spice Rub to give barbecued food the full ‘American barbecue’ taste profile.
We hope you will try Mike's BBQ products, and are confident you will enjoy them as much as we love producing them!
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