Big-Time Barbecue



What to do

...with a kettle

Put all your charcoal and wood chips or pellets to one side and a drip pan on the other. Place the meat over the drip pan, and when you cover the grill, make sure the vent is above the food so that the smoke will be drawn over it. This will allow you to cook the meat at 250°F.

Tools…with gas

Turn on only one of the grill’s burners, and put some wood—either in an aluminum foil packet or a cast-iron smoke box—above the flame. (Many higher-end gas grills have a built-in smoke box for wood.) Then place the meat on the other side of the grill.

Prep the Meat

Marinade? No.
“Cooking will do the tenderizing if you keep the temperature down.”

Baste? No.
“It doesn’t accomplish anything. Most cooks, I believe, do it as an excuse to peek.”

Barbecue sauce? Rarely.
Ray thinks its high sugar content causes it to burn and give food a charred flavor. “To me, barbecue sauce is a condiment to be served on the side.”

Spice rub? Yes!
If Dr. BBQ’s got a secret, it’s this: a spice rub of three parts sugar (turbinado sugar won’t burn as easily as others) and two parts salt, with a little granulated onion and garlic powder, chili powder, and a subtle mix of other dried herbs. He’ll help the mixture stick to the meat by adding a bit of apple juice (the barbecue cook’s equivalent of chicken stock) and creating a “schmear.”

Inject? Sure.
To get flavor all the way into the cut, he’ll use a food-grade syringe. “If you inject it, the flavor’s along for the ride, as opposed to marinating, where the flavor mostly just stays in the dish.”