Tag Archives: Barbecue

Do It Yourself

For 2009, I rang in the new year’s prepping and re-doing the floor on my newly acquired studio that I share with Ben.  For the record, Ben literally rang in the new years scraping linoleum off of the floor whereas I took a little break to have a brewski.

The renovations have been if anything more than a labor of love, an exercise in home renovations.   It’s back breaking work, but I’ve learned a bunch of trades and skills that I consider useful in the game of life, including tempering your frustrations.

Doing it yourself has been a personal mantra since my days of Lego and G.I. Joe’s (I used to swap limbs and body parts of other G.I. Joe figures to create hybrid figurines) and it continues to be my driving force well into adulthood.

So what does this have to do with barbecue?  Well considering my very own smoker was a DIY homemade project birthed in an unoccupied apartment bedroom, I have a level of great respect and candor for barbecuer’s that build their own devices and contraptions.  Especially this guy:

The Kids Are Alright

Agent Mule sent me an email the other day effectively shattering my hopes of being a great pit master.  He glibly pointed out that no matter how much smoke plumes from my backyard, no matter how many cords of wood I stockpile and no matter how large and fatty the steer, I can never achieve the status of my colleagues from the Lone Star state. In the email, he compared a Texan’s affinity and knowledge of barbecue to French Canadians and poutine. In post-email conversation, he furthered that point by liken it to Canadians and hockey;   it’s more of a religion where indoctrination starts at a very early age.

He then attached a picture to prove his point.

Nick,

The art of smoking a brisket is so innate to the Lone Star State that 3 year olds are winning BBQ competitions with their dry rub blends and custom smokers. It’s like a Québécois and his poutine. It would be silly for example for an Los Angeles food geek to try  and ‘curd up’ with the big boys of Canada. The moral of the story is no matter how bad one wants it, or how much smoke the neighbors see coming from your house if you’re not born in Texas your pit mastering skills will always be lacking savoir-faire. I am sorry. Blame the asian texan kid.

Begin forwarded message:

From: lreinauer <lreinauer@.com>
Date: December 13, 2008 4:00:00 PM EST
To: edgarburns@.com
Cc: Ed Reinauer <ereinauer@.com>
Subject: briskid 3

g

unknown

I will admit, kid is cute.

Barbecue Hood: Texas

Trillin BBQ Dept.L.indd

Barbecue on a global scale, is represented by a wide variety of styles.  For instance, in the Carribbean, jerk is barbecue’s most popular form.  In India, Tandoor ovens are used to slow cook chicken, lamb and a laundry list of meats.  Here in North America – namely the Bible Belt area of the U.S. of A. – wood burning cues resembling or sometimes even constructed from oil drums are the preferred tool of the trade.

But even in the Southern states, the style of cue varies depending on what region you are in.  In Kanasas, the stalwart history of stockyards crowns prok – especially ribs – as king.  In the Carolinas, pulled pork with a unique zesty, vinegar-heavy sauce rules.  And down in Texas, the steer reigns supreme.

In fact, the steer quotient in Texas is so high, that more than 80% of Texans suffer from colon cancer and 90% of Texans under the age of 19 have never seen a pig IRL.  The lack of cloven hoof down there is astonishing.  But what is more shocking, is that 97% of Texans have claimed to have “personal relationships” with cows before Betsy Bovine is slaughtered, skinned and smoked into Brisket.  Texans LOVE their beef.

This brings us to today’s New Yorker which features the very best that the Lone Star state has to offer.  The top 50 barbecue spots in Texas is very much like Calvin Trillin comparison to People’s 50 Most Beautiful People in the World.  Positions very rarely change, new-comers try to crack the list, but the top-picks are always Captain Obvious.

Click here to read the full article.

Nice Rack

I remember going to Swiss Chalet as a kid and polishing off racks of ribs like I was a starving Ethiopian.  There was no stopping me.  Then between high-school and three years ago, I stopped eating pork altogether.  A lot of it had to do with hanging around fellow Jamaican kids at the time.  Then it just spawned into a way of habit; I became entirely comfortable with not eating pork.  Besides, if Common said his diet was “un-swined” then so was mine.

Fast-forward to three years ago, and all of a sudden, my dogmatic anti-pig diet crumbled like loose sand.  Swiss Chalet ribs (courtesy of Vancouvers own Cian Browne) did me in.  And so began the triumphant return of the curly tailed cloven hoof.

Now, pork is just a way of life for me – much like taking a shit – with  Boston Butts and Picnics being my piece de resistance.  But over the last while, ribs have taken front and center.  Mainly because I can get them cheap at Costco, but moreso because in the grand scheme of cuing, they don’t need a whole lot of time.  I’m using the same rub for these that I do with my pulled pork.  Only difference being that i’ve added fresh cherries to the basting sauce to compliment the cherry wood i’m smoking them with.

Anyhow, these are probably the best ribs i’ve done to date and without tooting my own horn, are leagues beyond the “award winning ribs” that was being served at the CNE.

My Manifesto

Trace Crutchfield pretty much sums up what this blog will be about.