The Barbecue Thread

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pogrmman
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The Barbecue Thread

Postby pogrmman » Thu Aug 18, 2016 7:03 pm UTC

This thread is to have a discussion about one of the most controversial (and delicious) foods: barbecue.

What's the best style? Why? What are the best items to have barbecued? Why? Where is the best place to get barbecue near you? What are the merits of each style? Etc, etc, etc...

For me, Texas barbecue wins easily for many reasons. It's not sweet -- it tends to be spicier. The meat is usually good quality. Properly barbecued brisket is some of the most delicious food there is -- and other places don't know how to do it right. The flavor profile is excellent -- the sauces and rubs hit the right balance of salty, spicy, and sour. The meat is smoky, but not overwhelmingly so. It's appealing to a large variety of palettes -- very delicious.

Brisket is (obviously) the best thing to barbecue. Properly done, it tastes beefy and smoky and a bit salty. The outside is delicious. It falls apart in your mouth, and isn't dry at all. The taste is so good that it can stand on its own -- there's no need for sauce.

La Barbecue is probably my favorite place nearby, but the lines can be long and their seating is only outdoors. It's not hard to find good barbecue near me though -- even Rudy's (a chain!) is good. I also like the Salt Lick, but that's a bit of a drive. The setting for that place is awesome though! Some of the places in Lockhart are also great.

Of the other styles, Kansas City is clearly second only to Texas. The sauces are really good as is the meat. I haven't had enough of it to get a broad picture, but I like it a lot more than the other styles I've had (except for Texas). I'm not implying that other styles suck -- barbecue in general is better than no barbecue! I like it all, even though it is not all equal.

I don't like the sweet sauces very much -- generally speaking spicy is better! Beef is great, pork second, and other meats last. It shouldn't be too smoky either.

So, what do you like?

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Re: The Barbecue Thread

Postby doogly » Thu Aug 18, 2016 7:13 pm UTC

For the places near you - where are you?

My #1 is eastern Carolina. Mmmm vinegar.

We've got some good places nearby, shoutout to Redbones and Lester's.

A strong contender for #1 though is jerk bbq. Shoutout to Poppy's in Mt Vernon near my brother, and this place in Tampa I visited on a business trip and was blown away. So much better than it should be. Jerk Pit, I believe. Really quite notable.

Pork > Beef is a fact.
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Re: The Barbecue Thread

Postby pogrmman » Thu Aug 18, 2016 7:25 pm UTC

doogly wrote:For the places near you - where are you?


Austin, TX. And you?

Carolina barbecue isn't bad, but it's not my favorite. I sometimes get in the mood for all the pork stuff though.

I do have to disagree about pork being better than beef though. Beef is so much meatier and IMO fits better with smokiness.

I like all barbecue in general though. I enjoy trying places wherever I travel. For instance, I'm currently in Kansas City and had some pretty good barbecue for lunch. I didn't really like what I had in Memphis though. I mean, it wasn't bad, but it was still OK. Just not great.

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Re: The Barbecue Thread

Postby Echo244 » Fri Aug 19, 2016 8:29 am UTC

OK, so, hoping this won't get me flamed, but... does anyone have any good suggestions for vegetarian barbecue options? A skewer of vegetables, cut into sizes that don't cook at the same rate, seems to be the standard approach. I've tried some people's attempt to barbecue Quorn and the like but it's not exactly successful, and often either you don't notice the difference in cooking method or it's overcooked in an attempt to develop the flavour. Halloumi can work, but it's not exactly picking up all the delicious flavours you can smell on everyone else's plates.

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Re: The Barbecue Thread

Postby doogly » Fri Aug 19, 2016 12:35 pm UTC

I'm in Somerville MA. I fill out my location details below the adorable icon!

Echo, don't worry, there is no flame in the barbecue thread. Only smoke.

So there is nothing wrong with wanting to eat plants, but you seem to have confusing grilling with barbecuing, and that is Trouble. Go back to worrying. And I can't think of any plants you can cook this way. I've heard of portobello mushrooms in the grill style going well, from people who like those guys? I do not like mushrooms though, so the passing mention is all I can offer on them.
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Re: The Barbecue Thread

Postby PAstrychef » Fri Aug 19, 2016 1:02 pm UTC

You might want to focus on building the sauce of your dreams, then it can embrace whatever you grill. There are some good veggie patty recipes out there depending on what you like. I'm very fond of the mushroom spinach almond one from the NY Times.
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Re: The Barbecue Thread

Postby Zohar » Fri Aug 19, 2016 1:15 pm UTC

Yeah, I would say your options range from big mushrooms on the simple side, to veggie patties on the complex side (though not too complex really). And yes, sauce is probably a good way to go.
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Re: The Barbecue Thread

Postby pogrmman » Fri Aug 19, 2016 3:00 pm UTC

doogly wrote:I'm in Somerville MA. I fill out my location details below the adorable icon!


I'm on mobile, so I didn't see it...

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Re: The Barbecue Thread

Postby Nath » Fri Aug 19, 2016 4:32 pm UTC

My gold standard barbecue meal was at Black's in Lockhart, TX. Naturally, it was brisket. I thought I liked barbecue before, but this was on a whole other level. Smokey, beefy, nice dark outer layer of bark, and so tender. There was sauce available, but my brisket was all gone before I even thought to reach for it. My only regret is not trying their beef rib as well. I had some good brisket in Austin too, but nothing quite as good as Black's (though I wasn't willing to wait in line in Franklin's-type-places, since it would have been faster to drive to Lockhart anyway).

Outside barbecue regions, pork is a safer bet than brisket, because it's easier to cook tender pork than brisket. But I tend to order more brisket anyway, in the hope that someone out there can capture some of that Texas goodness. At some point I'd like to head to the Carolinas and see if I can find the pork world's counterpart to Lockhart brisket.

As for vegetarian options, I don't know if it counts as barbecue (OK, it doesn't), but a pot of beans can benefit from the low and smokey treatment.

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Re: The Barbecue Thread

Postby pogrmman » Fri Aug 19, 2016 7:22 pm UTC

Nath wrote:My gold standard barbecue meal was at Black's in Lockhart, TX. Naturally, it was brisket. I thought I liked barbecue before, but this was on a whole other level. Smokey, beefy, nice dark outer layer of bark, and so tender. There was sauce available, but my brisket was all gone before I even thought to reach for it. My only regret is not trying their beef rib as well. I had some good brisket in Austin too, but nothing quite as good as Black's (though I wasn't willing to wait in line in Franklin's-type-places, since it would have been faster to drive to Lockhart anyway).

Outside barbecue regions, pork is a safer bet than brisket, because it's easier to cook tender pork than brisket. But I tend to order more brisket anyway, in the hope that someone out there can capture some of that Texas goodness. At some point I'd like to head to the Carolinas and see if I can find the pork world's counterpart to Lockhart brisket.


Black's is excellent. Their beef rib is also great.

I'd love to try great Carolinas barbecue too -- it would be fantastic to find the pork equivalent of brisket.

For vegetarian barbecue, I honestly don't know what to suggest. I like vegetarian food that doesn't try to be meat (like some Indian food) -- barbecue seems to be overdoing it. Sorry I can't help on that count...

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Re: The Barbecue Thread

Postby Neil_Boekend » Sat Aug 20, 2016 6:03 pm UTC

I often grill/char bell peppers and peel the skin off afterwards, or grill a corn cob, or make some home made burgers (receipe on request), or we'll fry potatoes with spiced butter in aluminium foil.
In addition to store bought vegetarian sausages or burgers or somesuch.
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Re: The Barbecue Thread

Postby thunk » Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:41 am UTC

Of course, we seem to be talking about two different things--one referring to smoking meat, the other to grilling it.

In the former category, I will have to second the recommendation of Black's. The Rudy's chain is...hit and miss, but there's one just down the road from my usual location.

In the latter category, my family grills somewhat frequently, and it usually turns out pretty okay.
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Re: The Barbecue Thread

Postby pogrmman » Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:07 am UTC

thunk wrote:The Rudy's chain is...hit and miss, but there's one just down the road from my usual location.


I agree that it's hit and miss, but they are all over the place and on average, are pretty good. It's nowhere near the best barbecue around, but it's not bad -- and it is always convenient.



In terms of grilling, garlic salt helps with everything. Vegetables? Add garlic salt before you grill. Steak? Add garlic salt before you grill. Pork? Add garlic salt before you grill.

All jokes aside, seasoning before you grill has a big effect (especially on meat!) -- in terms of veggies, I love grilled asparagus that has been previously marinated in a sherry vinegar/olive oil/garlic/dijon mustard/salt/pepper mix. The flavor gets into the asparagus.

For dessert, grilled pineapple with cinnamon is always good.


But, let's get back to the topic at hand: barbecue.

I know I shouldn't have trusted it, but I had some brisket here at my new school in Iowa. It was disappointing on many levels. It was dry, too smoky, and the sauce was way, way too sweet -- so it couldn't be used to improve the dryness. It was about the worst brisket I've ever had. What was I thinking trying the brisket of all the lunch options? I knew it wouldn't be good! I just had that tiny bit of hope...


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