BBQ means different things to different people. Flavors range from tart and tangy Carolina styles to sweet and spicy Louisiana flavor. Kansas City, Carolina and Texas barbecue styles are some of the most common, and what they have in common is simple — the meat.
Good barbecue always starts with a slow smoked meat. Beef, chicken, pork and even some more unusual meats can decorate the inside of a smoker and, eventually, come out of the pit as a tender and succulent star. Whether you add a thick tomato-based BBQ sauce or like to stop with a dry rub, the key to the best BBQ is all in how you smoke the meat.
Settle in for the Day
Slow smoking meat takes all day. Some cuts might be in the smoker for 12 hours or more before they reach the desired temperature. Cooking at approximately 250 degrees Fahrenheit means it takes a long time to safely smoke meats, but the end result is absolutely worth it. There is no shortcut for tender, juicy, fall-apart smoked meat.
Select Your Smoking Agent
A big part of the final flavor comes from the wood used inside the smoker. Mesquite, pecan, hickory and other hardwoods offer the best smoke and the best flavor. You want plentiful smoke that won’t leave your food tasting ashy or bitter, and the only way to get that is by using hardwood.
There is no one right type of hardwood, as long as you use something that burns slow and hot. Keep in mind that studies show environmental factors are actually more important than the type of wood you use. So, if you buy hickory in more than one place, you might notice some big differences in flavor.
Low and slow is the way to cook BBQ meats so they achieve fork tenderness without drying out. At Fahrenheit 250 BBQ, that’s exactly the way meat is prepared — and really the only way to enjoy BBQ. If you rush the smoking, you can ruin the meat. You might wind up with something charred on the outside and undercooked on the inside, or you could take a taste and bite into something that tastes like chemicals.
Traditional BBQ calls for a long, slow cooking time over the best hardwoods available (often oak) for a reason — it creates better flavor. After you’ve smelled that rich aroma of the meat slowly smoking, that first bite makes it all worthwhile.