I have written about BBQ before and used these introductory paragraphs that follow. As an introduction to barbecued food, I don’t think it will get any better than this, especially having the permission of the author to paraphrase his original text. I hope you enjoy this introduction to grilled meats, and the documentation of the introductory class on barbecued foods that follows.
There have been other influences from Asia (Tandoor ovens) and Japan (Kamado urns), both ceramic cooking ovens heated by an open flame. In the middle ages spit roasting was widely used in Europe, but the explorations of the “New World” by Spain really brought barbecue to the United States. The introduction of pigs into the “New World” in addition to Native Indian migration brought barbecue, originally called barbacoa through a misunderstanding of Native Indian language by the Spaniards, into North America. Further colonization by the Spanish and Indians brought barbecue into the Gulf States and the lower Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Migration up the Mississippi River brought this technology northward. Smokehouses and pit barbecues started to proliferate, the latter becoming a popular social gathering in the middle to late 19th century.
The home barbecue cook really took off with the mass marketing of charcoal by the Kingsford Company in the early part of the 20th century. In the middle of the 20th century, portable barbecues like Hibachis and Weber kettle grills started to be mass marketed bringing portable charcoal barbecue to the home cook. Gas barbecues followed, and the rest is history! For those interested in a more complete accounting of the history of barbecue, go Here.
A companion and I recently attended an introductory class on barbecue taught by Dana Hillis (Dana), proprietor of Big Papa’s Country Kitchen (BP). Dana also has a catering business and frequents many of the farmer’s markets locally. The classroom was held in Dana’s storage facility/garage that he had built. Dana is by trade a general contractor.
In terms of grills, there were a number of different setups. There were kettle, ceramic and barrel grills, all used for different purposes. For a more complete description, go Here. Smokers were also used, and here is a bit of Information on them.
John Sweeney, a pit master for Michigan that was involved with Dana in BBQ, used a propane powered lawn and leaf burner to light the charcoal. When I asked him why he used the equivalent of a flamethrower to do this he answered, “it gets the job done.” There was no ambiguity there!
We made a number of foods on the BBQ, including meats, sides and desserts. One of the first things made was chicken wings, and there were cooked on a rack known as a Chicken Flipper on Meadow Creek grills. This is a rack that holds the wings, or anything else for that matter, similar to a fish basket for the grill. Later, slices of marinated pork loin were also cooked.
It was funny, John had said if you are a BBQ cook, there was no need to smoke. I think he was right!
We also learned how to put racks of ribs on a Weber rotisserie. I would never have thought of this before this class.
Here was the end result, a beautiful presentation with flavor to match. The work of a true BBQ champion.
One of the highlights of the class was how to make what Dana called a “fatty”, weaved bacon stuffed with cheese, vegetables and meats.
Here is the initial weave of bacon.
The “fatty” was amazing and I can tell you that you will not find this on a commercial BBQ truck anywhere!
There were also alternative preparations of ribs, in addition to sides and desserts.
As we queued up for the fruits of Dana’s labors, we were treated to sides such as BBQ onion casserole and cole slaw with pickles, ranch dressing and siracha.
Dutch oven cooking was explained by the amount of coals needed on the top and bottom of the oven in relation to the size of the oven and the temperature needed. Really good, and simple stuff.
We ended up with a couple desserts. I thought the pineapple upside down cake exceptional. All from a BBQ Dutch oven.
It’s a wrap for another post on Forks.
Big Papa’s Country Kitchen
2731 2nd St. NE.
Naples, FL 34120
Big Papa’s Country Kitchen Website