Wednesday, May 9, 2012

When you need BBQ done PDQ

Recently I went to a catered affair where they served Barbecue Sandwiches.  In fact, that is the very sandwich pictured above.  You can just imagine the stares I got as I whipped out my camera phone and lined up the shot.  One person even asked, "Pray tell, good sir, why dost thou capture this fine sandwich in a photo?"  (Ok, so they may have said this a lot different and with a couple of expletives, but the effect was the same.) 

This, in my untrained opinion, is SOUTHERN Barbecue.  Neighbor Bubba, aka Lord of All Things Barbecue, (not to be confused with brother Bubba, the retired schoolteacher, "Programs! Programs! Get your programs rat-cheer! Can't tell your Bubbas without a program! Sorry, I digress..) tells me that there are several types of barbecue identified by their region.  These include South Carolina, North Carolina, and Memphis just covering the South (There are always others, he says, but not worth mentioning.)  Then you got Kansas City Style, Texas Style and maybe even Western (which covers everything else west of the Mississippi that is not Texas.)

There are mainly two ways in which the meat gets the spice, wet and dry.  Wet uses a sauce and Dry uses a spice rub which is adhered to the outside of the meat before cooking.  Bubba uses a dry rub mixture which he combines under strict secrecy.  And most who use a dry rub, or smoking, also have a sauce much like the aforementioned sandwich, which is squirted on before eating. 

It is no secret on this blog that I am from the West. Colorado to be specific.  I grew up with Barbecue Sauce from a jar (yes, it's a sin, let's not get out the torches and pitchforks just yet) and the sauce was put on the meat as it cooked, giving it a sticky sweet and yet spicy coating. This falls into the Texas or Western style Barbecue and mmmmm my mouth is watering as I write this just thinking about the barbecue I ate growing up.   

But, let's return to the prior plastic plate o' pulled pork properly pictured (alliteration - Brother Bubba the retired English teacher will probably swoon.)  This, to my western eyes is Southern Barbecue. (Yes, neighbor Bubba will most likely hit me with a bag of briquettes, but I don't care!)  In this case, it means a plate of roasted pork which is then pulled off the bone and piled onto a bun. (They also had roasted and pulled turkey that day, but that seemed just wrong.)

The Sauce, a thin spicy mixture, is then poured (or in this case squirted out of a plastic bottle) all over the top of the meat.  I have a hard time with this kind of barbecue. First is, of course, that it is not the barbecue of my youth and my memory glands are complaining that "This is not barbecue...this is just meat and sauce."   My young brain wants sauce cooked on the meat!  But if my youth crazed brain would just step back, it would see that the two are not that much different.  All that is missing is the carmelization of sauce during cooking. I ate the aforementioned sandwich, even though the memory glands were not happy.  And, yes, it was a tasty dish. And yes, I got a lot of stink eye from those around me wondering what I might be up to next.

Unbeknownst to neighbor Bubba  I will most likely continue to cook my barbecue meats with the sauce slathered on it, hoping for that caramelized-and-almost-black-n-crunchy and oh-so-tasty coating that beckons from my youth.  Bubba (both of them) will just have to put up with it.  

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