Well, you asked for it. Here, Smoky answers the most commonly asked questions. He is direct, honest and offers an insight into the time proven techniques to preparing great barbecue that is unavailable elsewhere. If you are unable to locate the exact answer you are seeking, feel free to contact him directly and ask!
He returns all questions . . . . . . .
Topic: One More Definition of BBQ. . . . From: Al,
Subject: Re: Definition of BBQ
First I want to thank you, you old baster, for you generous sharing of you extensive knowledge and experience. In Japan you would be recognized as a natural resource.
I have two burning statement type questions.
One: When did water smoking (225°F) become barbequeing to the exclusion of all other techniques. I lived in Kansas City for around 30 years and have wolfed down a lot of legendary commercial barbeque as well as excellent homemade. A lot of nationally famous KC BBQ restaurants parboiled their meat and finished it off with what you would call hot smoking, hopefully over a wood coal fire. Others carefully hot smoked over a wood coal fire usually using some kind of vertical racks. I cannot accept that when I cook over charcoal at over 250F I am not barbequeing in the historical sense. If professionals want to set up narrow categories for competition that's something different.
Two: I can make sweet hickory smoked , falling off the bone, people testifying when they taste them, barbequed ribs in my trusty Weber kettle. In only 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Basically by using 1/2 the recommended charcoal and twice the time with water in the drip pan. So I know for a fact it can be done. The only difference between mine and "competition" ribs is that I don't use enough smoke to make my ribs black on the outside. However I do get some smoke pink on the inside. So my question is why not spread the word that you can actually barbeque by your own definition in a Weber kettle.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Thanks for you kind comments and for your probing questions. You really go the heart of the art.
In answer to question one, I do not accept that water smoking @ 225°F has become the only acceptable method of barbecuing. Personally, I detest the cheap little tin cans called water smokers. Besides being cheap, their only redeeming feature is that the water forces careless and incompetent cooks to use the proper temperature for barbecuing because, as long as there is water in the pan, the temperature of the heat and the meat cannot exceed 212°F at sea level.
Re: Famous restaurants. They play games with naive palates by delivering a tender, smoky and, by virture of their sauces, a tasty product. All of them who are honest and knowledgeable will readily admit that they do not barbecue. For a clientele that scoffs big macs and Kentucky Fried, they don't have to. Two: I have no doubts that your ribs are exactly as you and your guests describe them. By reducing the charcoal and increasing the water, you insure that the temperature will remain ideal (212°F). If you have a talent for choosing good, small ribs, your time span will produce tasty, tender ribs. You are living proof that with perserverance and a willingness to overcome inconvenience, you can produce good food under less than ideal conditions. When I was younger, I used to go into the woods with a knife, a fish hook and salt and pepper and stay for a while. Now I want a grill in which I can replenish the coals without going through an act of congress.
Re: Competitions. My feelings about the competence of judging and the absolutely insane idiocy of blackening food which is to be consumed would char even the open internet. This is gross stupidity and has nothing to do with barbecuing, good food or common sense.
You, as you have proven, can produce tender, tasty ribs on a Weber. In a larger, more convenient grill, at lower temperatures, the smoke would have time to make an imprint deeper into the meat - and the meat would be more tender. But, so called "smoke rings" are more smoke blowing by the same asses who want a blackened exterior.
What constitutes barbecue preceeds, even, me and I am older than dirt. An optimist, I am convinced, that honest barbecue will survive all the assaults of women's magazine food editors, assinine judges at frivilous competitions, instant experts, smoke blowers, media frenzy and pop culture and remain one of the best ways that a tasteful guy can spend a few hours entertaining himself, family and friends.
Sorry to warp your ears.
Keep on doing what you are doing, and remember to