I was just sitting here thinking, hey, it’s been awhile since I’ve shared some basic can’t miss barbeque tips to help you nail it next time you’re cooking outside – grilling or barbeque. And what better time to share than right before your Labor Day BBQ! Some of these might be no-brainers to you, some you may never have heard before. Whether you’re a novice, a backyard king, or competitive champion – it’s always good to review some basic strategies:
1. Start with a great, balanced dry rub.
When it comes to BBQ, it’s not ALL about the rub…but it’s close. You need to find some rubs that you enjoy. In my opinion, you should be able to eat a spoonful of it and love it. If you can’t, then find a different one. If you can’t find your perfect rub – make it. Take the components of the rubs you like, do some research, and start making your own for your own taste preferences. It’s fun!
2. Pick a style and stick to it.
I like juicy BBQ, so I wrap. I also like a bit of sauce, so I glaze. I like a bit of heat, but a bit of sweet, and my final products reflect that. Find the style you prefer and go with it. You like the Memphis dry rub style? KC slathered? Texas heat? Carolina vinegar? Try them, decide, and go with it. You and your guests will enjoy it because you enjoy making it.
3. Don’t sauce too early!
It’s for sure one of the biggest mistakes in BBQ. Don’t leave your sauce cooking on the meat for an hour. All that will do is harden and blacken the sauce for a not-so-pretty final product. I usually don’t let my sauce sit on the meat for more than about 15-30 minutes. Sometimes only 5 minutes. Same rule applies for grilling – don’t be the guy that sauces/flips, sauces/flips, repeat 10 times. It’s too much. And it burns. Stop it already.
4. Internal temperature is key.
No, it’s not cheating. No, it’s not novice. Whether you’re grilling or slow smoking, getting the internal temperature right is critical to your final product. Even if it’s just a pork chop – stick a digital thermometer in there (Thermapen is the best), and make sure it’s perfect. Nobody can get every meat to the perfect temperature every time just by feel.
5. Match the flavors of your rub & sauce.
Don’t use a chicken rub on pork. Match up the flavors you like with each step of your process and make sure they compliment each other. My rubs and sauces have very similar ingredients. Take a look at my Rib Recipe. The rub and glaze…just make sense. Look at my all purpose rub and bbq sauce. They go together well. So when you’re cooking using several steps – rub – wrap – sauce – make sure it makes sense and the flavors compliment the final product.