Every year, the American Royal World Series of Barbecue in Kansas City draws over 500 BBQ teams from around the world. Pitmasters haul their trailers and fire up their smokers to compete in four categories: pork ribs, pork shoulders, beef brisket, and chicken. Judges rate competitors' entries on appearance, taste, and tenderness on a scale of 5 to 9. The overall winner in all categories is crowned the BBQ Grand Champion. Watch what it takes to come home a winner with tips from top competitors Tuffy Stone of Cool Smoke and Grant Basiliere of Que U.
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Fourth-generation pitmaster Sam Jones says "if it aint broke, don't fix it." Here, the BBQ legend shares his tips for cooking whole hogs over a wood fire. First he wets the skin with water, then he sprinkles on salt (water helps the salt stick). "That is the only thing that’ll be applied to this animal until it’s finished and carried inside tomorrow, roughly 18 hours from now,” says Jones. Sounds simple enough. Check out the video to see how Jones checks to tell if the meat is done and how he creates a crackling crisp skin.
More BBQ Hot Spot News
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In late summer, the third annual Family Reunion was held at the Salamander Resort in Middleburg, Virginia, to bring together the country's top Black chefs, bakers, vintners, and pitmasters. BBQ gurus Rodney Scott and Bryan Furman, both native South Carolinians, shared their incredible whole hog barbecue and their top BBQ tips. Scott says to skip the gasoline or lighter fluid and get your smoker or grill going with leftover bacon fat from your kitchen. Furman recommends bypassing St. Louis-style ribs and buying spare ribs instead. You can cut the tips yourself and save about $1.50 a pound. Find many more insights in the article.
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.