Image Source: Daniel Vaughn
For decades, barrel-shaped offset smokers have been the pitmaster's tool of choice. But boxy rotisseries are making a comeback, especially in Texas. Think the offset came first? The patent for rotisserie smokers actually predates the offset patent. It's just that offsets have more cachet among BBQ traditionalists. At least they did. Now, companies like M&M BBQ are making tricked-out rotisserie smokers that bring the bling and the ease of automated rotation to big BBQ operations. Of course, you can't hide the electrical cord required to spin the Ferris wheel of shelves inside.
Image Source: Peter Holley
Pitmasters are used to working with wood-fired ovens in poorly ventilated rooms, where temperatures regularly hit 100ºF. But this summer's heat dome in Texas has broken decades-long records, sending pit room temps as high as 130ºF. This year's surge in summer travel has only increased demand for Texas BBQ, putting pitmasters at increased risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke for weeks on end. Take a peek inside Louie Meuller's iconic BBQ pit room to see how some cooks are pushing the outer limits of human endurance.
Image Source: Greg Dupree/Food & Wine
Hallmarks of Caribbean barbecue include allspice, vinegar, Scotch bonnet chiles, and tropical fruit such as guava, according to food journalist Kayla Stewart. These elements can be traced to the Taino, an Indigenous people who inhabited various Caribbean islands. Today's barbecue in Jamaica, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago was also influenced by African communities and European colonizers who brought new ingredients and cooking techniques to the islands. Of course, fire and smoke remain central to this barbecue style, and jerk remains its most well-known expression, in which allspice (berries of the pimento tree) creates a flavoring paste for food cooked over pimento wood. And with that story, I am now hungry for jerk pork and a cold beer.