Real BBQ

We just finished a BatDope here in Austin where we assembled at one of the better BBQ restaurants in the greater Austin area, The Salt Lick.

But I’m a bit confused. For me, growing up, BBQ was a tomato based sauce that was applied to the meat as it cooked. Here in the Austin area, everyone seems to think that BBQ is a sauce that’s applied to the meat after it’s cooked, while it’s lying on the diner’s plate.

I’ve always thought that the sauce should cook with the meat, allowing the flavors to mingle there, rather than a sauce poured on, almost as an after-thought.

Stop. You’re both right.

Barbecue is a method of slow-cooking meat over a low smoky fire. The sauce is secondary to the entire procedure. Some very fine barbecue isn’t sauced at all.

Slapping bottled commercial sauce on a slab of quickly grilled meat and calling it “barbecue” is yet another sleazy cultural short-cut of the sort that’s driving this once-great country to rack and ruin.
– Uke, sittin’ on the porch and shaking his fist at passing cars

No, they are both wrong.
First, barbecue isn’t the sauce, and it especially isn’t tomato-based (Ike has it right).
Second, there is no barbecue in Austin, nor anywhere in Texas. They suffer from the delusion that barbecue can be made with beef. No, barbecue is pork. So it is written, and ever shall be.
Hmm, I think Ike just penned my next sig…

Real BBQ is something I miss.
(every kind of restaurant my ass!)

While I suppose you could techinically barbecue beef (cook the beef per Ike’s defined method), it wouldn’t be “bobby cue” like we here in the South know it and love it. Down here, BBQ is always pork, the sauce can either be tomato-based or vinegar-based depending on your regional preference (a little known fact - the Civil War really had nothing to do with either slavery or state’s rights - it was a heated discussion of the merits of tomato-based vs. vinegar-based that just got out of hand). To this sandwich (served on hamburger buns) you have to add a lime ade, cole slaw, and a bag of onion rings. Now that’s a BBQ.

So I guess my preference for slow-smoked turkey with a little sweet tomato-based sauce does not qualify?

Say what you will - when I go out for BBQ, that’s what I want. Or ribs sometimes, but mostly turkey. Chicken’s OK, too.

No, I’m sorry, that isn’t a BBQ sandwich.

You could slow-smoke a turd, and while it would technically be “barbecued,” it wouldn’t BE a barbecue.

[sub]Pompous, pedantic ass mode on[/sub]

Technically Uke is correct. (You haven’t got a shotgun under that lap robe have you Uke?) Barbeque most correctly refers to meat cooked over a smokey fire. Actually, the word barbeque originally referred to the framework used to support said meat.
Nowadays, most people don’t have the time or the patience for that, and thus the word barbeque has come to describe the act of cooking anything over a grill, (often gas fired), and the Teeming Millions[sup]TM[/sup] have whiled away many a happy hour on these boards debating the relative merits of sauces versus dry rubs, etc.
But no, the sauce is not the barbeque, the method is.

[sub]Pompous, pedantic ass mode off[/sub]

The problem with barbecuing with the sauce on the meat is that, as Ukulele Ike and others have said, barbecuing is a very slow process, and most BBQ sauces have sugar in them. The problem with sugar is that it burns; if you leave a cut of meat with a sweet sauce on it over a fire for the amount of time it takes to make real barbecue, what you’ll end up with is a cut of meat covered with a crunchy layer of pure carbon. Yum!

Real barbeque… I think i’ll go look for a pulled pork sandwich. Bye!

If you’re using indirect heat to cook the meat, why would marinating/basting in a sweet sauce be a problem?

I’ve approximated BBQ with decent results in a covered gas grill, placing a big foil packet of soaked hickory chips over the lit burner and cooking racks of ribs (with a dry rub that included brown sugar, among other things) on the “cool” side." The internal temp of the grill stayed at just under 300, the smoke permeated the meat (which stayed in there for hours), and there was no burning.

Answer this quick, because I’m marinating a cut-up chicken in a tomato/vinegar/molasses/Worcestershire/Tabasco concoction right now.

Barbeque, with a capital B, is brisket. Anything else is a wannabe.

barbecue, with a lower-case b, is the cooking style described by **Ukulele Ike[/].

Another question, to follow on plnnr’s and Homebrew’s comments…where DOES the Great Pork/Beef Barbecue Divide take place? Is it the Mississippi River?

Do cow-eaters in Oklahoma sneer over the state line at their neighbor’s backyard grill-full of spare ribs in Arkansas?

That may be about right, Ike. Beef, by and large, wasn’t the staple here in the South that it was over there in Texas (yes, I know it is in the southern part of the US, but it has a culture distinctly different from the South). We didn’t tend to have the acerage, preferred to keep the cows for milk as opposed to meat, and could let the pigs roam freely to fatten up on mast and the like.

Homebrew, you and I will just have to agree to disagree on the cow vs. pig question. Next time you’re over this way let me know and I’ll take you to Hawk’s, Pierce’s, Bill’s, Allman’s, or any other number of real BBQ places and you’ll see the error of your ways.

Of course nobody has even touched the vinegar based sauces that are commonly used on the southeast coast (see the Carolinas)…

Keith injecting some more fire into this debate…

I have nothing of note or import to add to this thread, except, "Mmmmmmmmm . . . . "

Or the mustard based sauces(?) found in the Carolina’s… (Or at least in South Carolina.)

Mustard. On BBQ. shudders YUCK!

(hijack) I wonder how Maurice is doing, wit’ dem Big Boys trying to put his little buisness down, or whatever his current complaint is. (/hijack)

<< Yummy! >>

For the record, at the Salt Lick we had both beef and pork, in brisket, rib, and sausage forms. They also had turkey, for that one weirdo up there, but it doesn’t come with the all-you-can stuff-in-your-face plate.

Well, that’s true, I suppose. If you watch the fire well enough that it really is indirect heat. I’m just a devotee of the dry-rub school, though. I put the sauce on afterward.

Odieman: I really tried to like the Eastern North Carolina vinegar-based barbecue sauces. I gave that style three separate chances in Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh, and I didn’t like it at all. Yeech. I like my BBQ sauce tomato-based.

Nightsong: On the other hand, I also like the South Carolina-style mustard-based sauce. Weird, but oddly good. Low Country cuisine is just unlike any other, and it’s contained in such a small area! It just fascinates me!

I’m from Oklahoma originally, so I’m at heart a beef brisket person, but I must mention Oklahoma’s unique contribution to BBQ–hot links! Barbecued sausages. Yummy! I’ll eat anything barbecued: beef, pork, sausage, chicken. I’ve never tried turkey, but it’d probably be good.

What can I say; I’m an omnivore. :slight_smile: