Welcome to Barbeque Nation!!

If you are into mouth-watering, "low and slow" BBQ - well, you have come to the right place! Regardless of whether you are a "newbie" simply wanting to know how/where to get started - or a "backyard champ" wanting to improve your skills - or a "pro" competing out there on the BBQ circuit - Barbeque Nation has something just for you...

We go about things just a little bit differently around here. There's no "forum" - therefore, no "bull-loney" to have to wade through... Barbeque Nation is all about "news you can use" - useful information/tips/comments to help make your barbecue experience a much better one. Our mission is to spread the "good news about Que" out to people at all levels of experience and interest!

We also feel we have assembled a wonderful "staff" of guest writers that will help bring a wealth of knowledge and insight regarding BBQ. You just never know who may show up here "at our table" from time to time!

So - pull up a chair, put another log in the firebox - and spend a little time with us as we share some smoke together...


Monday, February 16, 2009

QUE SCHOOL - So What Exactly is Barbeque??

One of my bigger "surprises" in moving to the Rocky Mountain West from Texas (where I was born and lived for 45+years) came after I moved to Utah 10 years ago and was invited by some new friends to a "barbeque" at one of their homes. You see, BBQ is as much a part of life and growing up in Texas as is football, a fast car, and/or having a crush on a pretty high school cheerleader. So needless to say, I was pretty darn excited as my mind was conjuring up visions of brisket and ribs and sausage coming fresh off a smoker. As I walked up to the front door, I could smell the sweet aroma of charcoal burning coming from the backyard - and my mouth began to water with anticipation of the feast I just knew surely awaited me as soon as someone answered my knock on the door...

So I am certain you can imagine my surprise that day when I discovered at my new friend's home that "barbeque" to some folks means hamburgers and hot dogs cooked on a grill!! I "casually" (and as inconspicuous as possible) searched high and low all over their house that day, looking for the brisket or ribs that I just knew had to be awaiting me somewhere. My Southern upbringing prevented me from asking my hosts where the "real" barbeque was - so I politely ate a dog or two (with a smile on my face, of course - my momma would have been so proud of me!!)

So - just in case anyone reading this blog is relatively new to barbeque, let's make certain from the "git-go" that we are all talking "pigs to pigs" here! In my book, they don't make real picante sauce in New York City - and "barbeque" sure ain't hot dogs and hamburgers cooked outdoors over a grill!! ( I know, I know - the proper spelling is actually barbecue - but I prefer the "Q" spelling...)

Not that I don't occasionally enjoy a hot dog or hamburger cooked over a grill, mind you. But for the purposes of this blog, "barbeque" will be basically defined as "a process whereby a large cut of tough meat is cooked by the smoke of a hardwood fire at low temperatures for a long period of time, with "doneness" determined by the meat's tenderness" (taken from the foreword by Chris Schlesinger for the book Smoke and Spice.) Please notice there is no reference made to cooking Que in a crockpot, or parboiling anything either!!

Now - there are "purists"/ "elitists" out there that feel this heat source for Que has to come solely from a hardwood fire. And I suppose that is fine. I, too, have owned a "stick burner" which cranked out some award-winning Que cooked over some seasoned wood. But being somewhat of a "renaissance man" myself, I feel that the heat source for BBQ can also come from charcoal (lump or briquettes) - and yes (gasp!), even gas!! And this meat can be cooked either indirectly or directly over that heat source (I am certain the founding fathers of the KCBS are probably rolling in their graves right now!) As long as the meat is cooked "low and slow" - and wood in some form/fashion (logs, chunks, chips, pellets, etc) is used for heat, smoke and flavor - well, I see no reason not to embrace all of my Que brothers and sisters, regardless of how they are going about their "art."

SO - if you are going to host a "barbeque", just be real careful what you are serving your guests. You never know when you might be inviting someone just like me - only to have them scouring your kitchen, looking all over the place for the REAL barbeque!!

And if you don't quite know how to go about that - well, just hang around here and we will be only too happy to get you started in the right direction!

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