Barbecue Season

Gourmet Backyard BBQ: It's Easier Than You Might Think

“Barbecue” is derived from the Caribbean word barabicu, meaning “sacred fire pit.” While many festive foods such as roast turkey, prime rib and baked ham are served on specific holidays, barbecue can be served any time that it’s nice enough to cook outside. Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day are all known as great BBQ days with friends and family. Barbecuing is certainly considered one of the great American pastimes.

The science of great barbecuing is actually quite simple: Start with a great cut of beef, pork, or poultry, coat with a dry rub, and then cook very slowly with live fire and smoke at a low temperature ranging from 190-275℉. This slow cooking method breaks down the molecular structure of the meats while rendering the fats, browning the outer crust, and creating a succulent, moist, and flavorful protein that’s finished with a great homemade BBQ sauce.

Whether you’re from the Carolinas, Texas, Kentucky, Kansas, Missouri, Alabama, Hawaii, New York, Tennessee, or the Florida Keys, each region has its own pit master pride in creating a unique style of barbecuing, sauces, and smoking. Particularly in the southern regions of the U.S., pit masters take barbecuing to the next level in barbecue competitions. Chefs compete for the bragging rights to be named the best by a panel of expert chef judges.    

How long do I barbecue/smoke? This depends on the mass of the protein you’re cooking and the temperature you’re cooking at. For barbecued ribs I like to rub with my dry rub, smoke for two hours at 225℉, then wrap in foil and return to the smoker for the times listed here. Then when you have one hour remaining, unwrap and coat with sauce and return to the smoker for the last hour until nicely caramelized. For pork butts, briskets, and shoulders, smoke for six hours and then wrap in foil for the remaining cooking time. Chickens are best marinated or brined and then coated with my dry rub directly in the smoker for their duration and sauced one hour prior to being done.

And what wood is best for smoking? My favorite is hickory, although I more often use apple wood because it’s more easily obtainable near my home in Carbondale. There are also many apple and peach farms in Paonia and Hotchkiss which sell their dead trees for smoking. Hickory chips and mesquite charcoal are readily available at most stores, and many other options can be found online.

Cooking Times

  • Baby back ribs (12-14 ounces per rack): Six hours at 225℉

  • Medium baby back ribs (16-20 ounces per): Seven hours at 225℉

  • Large ribs: St. Louis ribs, spare ribs, and beef ribs (21-32 ounces per): Eight hours at 225℉

  • Pork Butts and Shoulders (7-8 pounds) 10 hours at 225℉

  • Brisket (10-12 pounds): 10 hours or 200℉ internal temperature

  • Smoked whole chickens (3 pounds cut in half): 2 ½ hours at 225℉

  • Raw sausages: Italian, bratwurst, and chorizo: 1 ½ hours at 225℉

  • Cooked Sausages: Polish, andouille, kielbasa, and weijska: 45 minutes at 225℉  

Favorite Rubs & Sauces

Jimmy’s Dry BBQ Spice Rub

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup Spanish paprika

½ cup powdered garlic

½ cup kosher salt

¼ cup onion powder

¼ cup chili powder

¼ cup freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp coriander

Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

Traditional Barbecue Sauce

4 cups good ketchup

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup molasses 

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp fresh garlic, chopped

1 cup yellow onion, chopped

1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp dijon mustard

½ tbsp ground cumin

½ tbsp kosher salt

½ tbsp freshly ground black pepper

Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add these with remaining ingredients to a blender, and blend until smooth.

Papaya-Habanero BBQ Sauce 

3 cups good ketchup

1 ½ cups papaya cubes, seeds/skin removed

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

¼  cup molasses

½ cup dark brown sugar

½ cup apple cider vinegar

½ cup water

½ habanero, seeds removed

1 tbsp fresh garlic, chopped

½ tsp kosher salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Thai Barbecue Sauce

1 12-ounce bottle Mae Ploy brand Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

2 tbsp ABC brand Sweet Soy Sauce Kecap Manis 

3 green onions (green part only), chopped

1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

½ cup white sesame seeds (to finish)

Combine first four ingredients in a bar style blender, blend until smooth. Just prior to serving, sprinkle sesame seeds on top

Jamaican Jerk BBQ Rub

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup Spanish paprika

1 tbsp allspice

1 tbsp lemon pepper

1 tbsp kosher salt

½ tbsp garlic powder

½ tbsp onion powder

½ tbsp cinnamon

½ tbsp cayenne pepper

½ tbsp dry thyme

½ tbsp nutmeg

½ tbsp curry powder

Mix all and store in an airtight container. 

Jamaican Jerk BBQ Sauce

Ingredients (Step One)

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

½ habanero, seeds removed

Zest of lemon, lime and orange

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Ingredients (Step Two)

4 cups good ketchup

1 cup orange juice

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp molasses

½ tbsp allspice

¼ tbsp cinnamon

¼ tbsp nutmeg

½ tbsp kosher salt

½ tbsp lemon pepper

Lightly sauté the Step One ingredients in a saucepan until soft. Place these in a blender with Step Two ingredients and blend until smooth. 

Chef Jimmy Nadell is a two-time Culinary Arts Gold Medal Recipient and is the chef and owner of Bravo Fine Catering. He is the author of “Aspen Celebrity Cuisine,” the former Executive Chef at the Caribou Club, and is the president of the United States Chef Association. He has personally cheffed for such names as Heidi Klum, Robert DeNiro, Jon Bon Jovi, President Donald Trump, Ann Walton, Will Smith, Christie Brinkley, and the Crown Prince of Dubai Hamdam Bin Mohommed Al Maktoum. BravoFineCatering.com or 970.925.7400.

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