There is a photograph floating around my family, somewhere, of me gnawing on a pile of ribs at my grandparent’s silver wedding anniversary party. I was a small English boy at this swanky event in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They weren’t the kind of ribs that I have learned to love since I took up residence in the American Mid-West/South of Oklahoma, but they were a turning point in my life. They were the beginning of a life-long romance with meat in general and BBQ specifically.
It is said that the caramelization of meat – the chewy sweet bit on the outside – is a carcinogen. Yet another in the long line of items that will kill you if you continue to eat it. What could be a more authentic food experience than the combination of meat and fire? I imagine multiple colonies of cavemen having that breakthrough experience of putting that day’s kill over the fire to produce roasted meat. Years later, as these colonies began to encounter each other, you can imagine the smiling, back-slapping, cavemen as they saw the food being prepared and acknowledge – Oh, you do that too, huh?
My digital smoke box is a million miles away from the cave fire. Like its distant cousin, the sous-vide box, it is able to keep the oven to within a degree of the desired temperature at all times – if you don’t count opening the door to wrap in aluminum foil, baste or fiddle for some other reason – then the temp drops by 25 degrees and you do that calculation for extending cooking time to six a half hours, grunt, shrug your shoulders and decide WTF it is all going to be delicious any how, and walk away for a cold beverage.
You see, that’s one pleasure of smoking meat. It is a slow process that can be tweaked and adjusted as it goes along. Similarly, it can be refined to a science. It is not surprise that this post combines bbq and sous-vide – two seemingly unrelated cooking processes that do indeed intersect.
So this is the BBQ section. There will be many approaches, many rubs, many mops. While our pescatarian friends may find the odd post interesting, the fact is that there will be much meat cooked and consumed here. Watch this space…