So what is Hill Country style BBQ!
In the mid 1800’s,
When these age old German methods adapted to local
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Do clarify things a bit more, indirect heat is best attained in a 2 chamber system, ie... the fire is built in one chamber, and the hot smoke is directed to the food chamber. This can also be achieved with a charcoal or gas single chamber grill, by placing the food on one side, and heating the other side. If you are limited to the more common single chamber equipment, you can throw wood chips on the fire for flavor.
The more common form of BBQ, which is not BBQ at all is direct cooking or grilling. This is how you cook burgers, with the food directly over the heat source. People often assume when you grill chicken over an open flame, then burn BBQ sauce on it, that you have made BBQ chicken. I don't want to knock this cooking method, I do it all the time, it is simple and fast, but technically it is not BBQ.
Friday, March 7, 2008
For those of you a position like I was a few years ago, wanting to step up from your back yard grill to something that will allow you to properly BBQ, but don't want to spend a bundle of money or don't have the space for a huge smoker, I have got the perfect smoker for you. I bought the Bar B Chef (they sell a stater package for $30 bucks more, but it is not worth it, please check future post or e-mail me for specifics, I will tell you what you need to get started) from BBQ Galore and though a series of trials and errors, have gotten this think to work pretty darn well.
The Bar B Chef is a traditional style off-set smoker, meaning the firebox and smoke chamber are separate, allowing you to properly BBQ food via indirect heat. Basically, you build your fire on the left side in the fire box, this unit is not strong enough or big enough to burn wood alone, so use a good quality natural charcoal with some wood chunks. The smoke and heat is vented into the smoke chamber where you can cook a whole brisket and a chicken, about 4 slabs of ribs, 4 pork butts, or any other combination. I will provide tips for setting up the smoker in another post, but setup properly you should expect to get 3-4 hours of unattended smoking without too much change in temperature. Enough time to do pork or beef ribs, chicken, beef jerky, sausage, tri-tip, pork roast, prime rib and anything else you can think of, without needing to add more charcoal.
Due to the smokers relatively inexpensive price, it is made out of very thin metal, so it does not hold heat great, there are better units on the market, but not for under $1000. The Bar B Chef is a great way to experiment with a smoker and see if it is hobby you are willing to make a real investment in.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Although there were a few Germans in Texas when the area was under Spanish and Mexican rule, the first permanent settlement of Germans was in Austin County, established by Friedrich Ernst and Charles Fordtran in the early 1830s. Ernst wrote a letter to a friend in his native Oldenburg which was published in the newspaper there. His description of Texas was so influential in attracting German immigrants to that area that he is remembered as "The Father of German Immigration to Texas." By the 1840s, the social, economic, and technological conditions in Germany, coupled with the availability of lands in Texas frontier, created an ideal climate for an influx of immigrants.
Where there are Germans, there is beer and still to this day, Germany is the largest brewing and beer consumption country, per capita, in the world, second only to Ireland. The German immigrants brought their old family recipes and techniques, eventually changing the beer industry in America forever. Along with their strict beer brewing technique, came a very refined art for butchering, sausage making and smoking meat. These old butcher shops and meat markets would eventually create what is known today as Texas BBQ, or more specifically Hill Country BBQ.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
I will avoid boring you to death by repeating your high school biology teachers lecture that you didn't care about then, and definitely don't care about now. Basically, meat gets it red color from myoglobin, burning wood emits notorious dioxide or NO2. The reaction of NO2 with the myoglobin, in a sense, "preserves" the meat, locking in the red color. The NO2 can only penetrate so far into the meat, which is why the meat does not turn pink all the way though. This reaction is very similar to one that occurs when meat is cured by marinating or rubbing it in a mixture of salt, spices, and nitrates. Bacon, ham and hot dogs are examples of meat that has been cured.
The one thing you have to be careful for is places that cook BBQ in combination smoker / gas ovens, or worse in a regular old gas oven. NO2 is a by product of natural gas and propane, along with other additives like sulfur, that make you meat taste and smell terrible.