The Meatwave: Barbecue & Grilling Recipes, Reviews, Tips, and Tricks

Barbecue

Thu Jun 11, 2015

Kingsford Invitational 2015

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Kingsford Invitational 2015

Back at the beginning of May, I had the honor of joining my Kingsford family for the 2015 Kingsford Invitational set against the beautiful skyline of lower Manhattan. For those not familiar with the event, think of it as the most elite of all barbecue cook-offs. Unlike a normal competition, where just about anybody can sign up, the Kingsford Invitational invites only the top team from five of the most prestigious events in barbecue. This year that brought in the grand champions of Memphis in May (Big Bob Gibson), Houston Livestock and Rodeo (Bar-B-Que Commanders), the American Royal (Cool Smoke), Blue Ridge BBQ Festival (Warren County Pork Choppers), BBQ Pitmasters TV show (Rescue Smokers), and one wild card team made up of some of the most well regarded NYC pitmasters from Hometown, Mighty Quinn's, and Ducks Eatery (dubbing themselves The Dirty Water Dogs). Altogether the competition spanned three unforgettable days of great food and great friends.

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Tue Jun 2, 2015

Memphis-Style Dry Ribs

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Memphis Dry-rubbed Ribs

Back in the day, I'd call pretty much any rib I didn't slather with sauce, "dry ribs." Not only were they indeed dry, but they looked and tasted like the dry ribs I've always been served at restaurants. It wasn't until I had some excellent dry ribs at Peg Leg Porker, down in Nashville, that I understood just what I'd been missing. So I got to talking to pitmaster Carey Bringle about what sets his ribs apart from the crowd.

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Tue May 26, 2015

Smoky Pulled Barbecue Chicken

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Pulled Chicken

Pulled pork is a wondrous thing. Made from pork shoulder, it's slowly smoked until the intramuscular fat and connective tissue renders and softens, leaving nothing but tender, juicy meat that can be shredded easily by hand. The process takes a good twelve to fourteen hours at a low temperature of 225°F, during which time the meat picks up a smoky flavor while developing an intensely flavored exterior bark. It's one of the classics of the barbecue cannon, which raises the question: Why does pulled barbecue chicken fail to reach a similar level of renown?

If my own experience is any indication, the answer is that pulled chicken, as tender and juicy as it can be, almost always lacks the right balance between meat, seasoning, and smoke. It tends to be so inundated with sauce that any trace of chicken flavor is completely drowned out. It's also often devoid of smokiness, unless the barbecue sauce contains liquid smoke (an ingredient I detest for its overpoweringly acrid flavor).

But just because most pulled chicken fails to reach the heights of pulled pork doesn't mean it shouldn't still taste great. I decided that it was time to figure out how to make really good pulled chicken. And with a little barbecue know-how, I was able to come up with a recipe that's outdone any pulled chicken I've ever encountered before.

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Tue Dec 16, 2014

Coke and Pineapple Glazed Ham

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Coke and Pineapple Glazed City Ham

I'm a ham fiend, but this sweet swine is usually relegated to a once-a-year occasion, when it takes center stage at my in-laws Christmas party. In that one night, I bask in the ecstasy of the cured and smoked meat, stuffing myself well beyond reason.

While I'm pretty well versed in ham consumption, when I was plotting to prepare one myself last fall, I realized that my experience cooking it was limited to a single prior attempt. Although it's a seemingly simple prospect—hell, the thing is already cooked—I learned that the devil is in the details and decided to do a test run, which led to this amazing Coke-and pineapple-glazed ham.

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Tue Oct 21, 2014

Smoked Lamb Barbacoa

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Meatzcaleria

It's a sad truth that cooking purely for myself and the wife has fallen the wayside in my life. Between increasing demand from my nine-to-five and developing and writing recipes regularly for two food blogs, a majority of my free time is spoken for. Those nights I'm not cooking for the blogs, I'm usually more keen on getting delivery or quickly grabbing something out in order to give me the most time for photo editing, writing, content entry, and/or sleep (I have remember to work that last one into my schedule too). So over the past couple years as I've been cooking less and less for myself, I've collected a growing number of recipes I've really wanted to try out, but never found the time for. One of those was this beef barbacoa.

Constantly in the back of my mind as something I must try, I finally decided the best way to give it a go would be to rework it into a recipe I could also use as a blog post. This manifested itself as smoked lamb barbacoa, which I contend is probably equally, if not more, delicious as the inspiration point.

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