BBQ 101


BBQ 101 – 10 Important Facts about Grilling – Chef Paul Kirk

In a recent issue of the KCBS Bullsheet Chef Paul Kirk contributed a great article titled “10 Important Facts about Grilling The 10 Important Facts for B.B.Q.” We thought we’d share that article with you.

10 Important Facts about Grilling
The 10 Important Facts for B.B.Q.

By Chef Paul Kirk

1. BE ORGANIZED. Have everything you need for grilling on hand and at grill side before you start grilling.

2. GAUGE YOUR FUEL. There’s nothing worse than running out of charcoal or gas in the middle of grilling. When using charcoal, light enough to form a bed of glowing coals 3 inches larger on all sides than the surface area of the food you’re planning to cook. (A 22 1/2 inch grill needs one chimney’s worth of coals). When cooking on a gas grill, make sure the tank is at least one-third full.

3. PREHEAT THE GRILL TO THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE. Rember: Grilling is a high-heat cooking method. In order to achieve the seared crust, charcoal flavor, and handsome grill marks associated with masterpiece grill man ship, you must cook over a high heat. How high? At least 500 degrees F. Although it is worth repeating: When using charcoal, let it burn until it is covered with a thin coat of gray ash. Hold your hand about 6 inches above the grate. After 3 seconds, the force of the heat should force you to snatch your hand away. When using a gas grill, preheat to high (at least 500 degrees F); this takes 10 to 15 minutes. When indirect grilling, preheat the grill to 350 degrees.

4. KEEP IT CLEAN. There’s nothing less appetizing than grilling on dirty old burnt bits of food stuck to the grate. Besides, the food will stick to a dirty grate. Clean the grate twice: once after you’ve preheated the grill and again when you’ve finished cooking. The first cleaning will remove any bits of food you may have missed after your last grilling session. Use the edge of a metal spatula to scrape off large bits of food, a stiff wire brush to finish scrubbing the grate.

5. KEEP IT LUBRICATED. Oil the grate just before placing the food on top, if necessary (some foods don’t require that the grates be oiled). Spray it with oil (away from the flames), use a folded paper towel soaked in oil, or rub it with a piece of fatty bacon, beef fat, or chicken skin.

6. TURN, DON’T STAB. The proper way to turn meat on a grill is with tongs or a spatula. Never stab the meat with a carving fork – unless you want to drain the flavor-rich juices ont0 the coals.

7. KNOW WHEN TO BASTE. Oil-and-vinegar-, citrus-, and yogurt- based bastes and marinades can be brushed on the meat throughout the cooking time. (If you baste with a marinade that you used for raw meat or seafood, do not apply it without first bringing it to a boil.) When using a sugar-based barbecue sauce, apply it toward the end of the cooking time. The sugar in these sauces burns easily and should not be exposed to prolonged heat.

8. KEEP IT COVERED. When cooking larger cuts of meat and poultry, such as a whole chicken, leg of lamb, or prime rib, use the indirect method of grilling or barbecuing. Keep the grill tightly covered and resist the temptation to peek. Every time you lift the lid, you add 5 to 10 minutes to the cooking time.

9. GIVE IT A REST. Beef, steak, chicken – almost anything you grill-will taste better if you let it stand on the cutting board for a few minutes before serving. This allows the meat juices, which have been driven to the center of a roast or steak by the searing heat, to return to the surface. The result is a juicier, tastier piece of meat.

10. NEVER DESERT YOUR POST. Grilling is an easy cooking method, but it demands constant attention. Once you put something on the grill (especially when using the direct method), stay with it until it’s cooked. This is not the time to answer the phone, make the salad dressing, or mix up a batch of your famous mojitos. Above all, have fun. Remember that grilling isn’t brain surgery. And that’s the gospel!


Must Have BBQ Tools – Tools of the BBQ Trade Revisited – Part II

Pork Barrel BBQ Tools of the Trade: Rib Rack

Here Part II on our series of the most important BBQ tools:

Rib Rack – We love to cook ribs – they are easy to cook, and with a little bit of Pork Barrel BBQ’s All American Spice Rub – they are guaranteed to be a big success at the party. A major part of grilling or cooking is space management. We’ve talked about a lot of important tools on this blog – if you bbq a lot, epecially bbq ribs on your bbq smoker or grill – a rib rack is a key tool of the trade. Read more.

Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker – We have a number of events and BBQ competitions coming up this summer and needed to increase our capacity to cook a lot of great BBQ!  What is really amazing about the Smokey Mountain Cooker (we got two of the 22.5 inch models) is that it can hold 12 slabs of ribs, 4-8 pork shoulders, 3-6 briskets, and even 4 turkeys!  Read more.  And even more here.


Must Have BBQ Tools – Tools of the BBQ Trade Revisited – Part I

The great thing about BBQ and grilling is that you don’t need too many BBQ tools to be successful. If you have a BBQ grill and a fuel source you pretty much have all you need to take a few ingredients and turn them into a delicious meal.  Here’s Part I of a collection of some of our favorite posts on the essential tools of BBQ – think of it as a list of the Top BBQ Tools!

Charcoal Chimney

Charcoal Chimney –  Besides your BBQ grill, the single most important BBQ tool you need to be a successful pit-master is a charcoal chimney!  What’s a charcoal chimney you ask?  A charcoal chimney lets you quickly light your charcoal without having to use any lighter fluid.  Ensuring from the start that your BBQ food won’t taste like lighter fluid is a good thing!  Read more.

Meat Thermometer – Many of the best BBQ Pit Masters can tell when the meat on their smoker is done just by sight and touch.  For those of us that don’t have BBQ ESP we have to rely on a meat thermometer.  When cooking a pork shoulder, brisket or chicken a meat thermometer is an essential tool for the BBQ backyard griller.  Read more.

The Tools of the BBQ Trade - Hardwood Lump CharcoalHardwood Lump Charcoal – Lump charcoal is the end product of the process of burning chunks of hardwood in the absence of oxygen. It is almost like your sticking a piece of oak or hickory in the grill so it is the most natural and pure form of charcoal you can buy. We think lump charcoal gives BBQ a much better flavor than BBQ briquettes and it lights easy, burns hotter, and produces far less ash than briquettes.  Read more.


Awesome Modified Weber (FrankenWeber) BBQ Grill Pizza Oven – Franken Weber by Pizza Hacker

Check out this amazing modified Weber Grill Pizza Oven (known as the FrankenWeber or Franken Weber) created by Pizza Hacker – you can visit him at

This crazy awesome Franken Weber 22 inch Weber grill reaches temperature of over 1000 degrees F and cooks some sweet pizza pie.

FrankenWeber Pizza Oven by PizzaHacker
Also be sure to check out the great Franken Weber modified Weber grill video here:


Pork Barrel BBQ CEO’s Mom Gets a Weber Genesis 300 Series Gas BBQ Grill

While on vacation at his parents house in Florida, Pork Barrel BBQ CEO’s Mom asked for a new grill. We picked her up a Weber Genesis 300 Series Gas Grill – here’s a video on the easy set-up of this cool gas grill. Want more on bbq grills and bbq smokers?
Visit or Also be sure to visit Weber at

Know Your Pork – Heritage Breeds of Pigs

We’re pretty crazy about Pork at Pork Barrel BBQ and we thought it might be interesting to give you a quick run down on some of the breeds of heritage pork that is available today.

Berkshire – The most popular breed of heritage pork is the Berkshire from England. The Berkshire is known for its sweet and well marbled flesh.

Duroc – A local favorite in the eastern United States, the Duroc provides juicy and full flavored meat.

Ossabaw – The Ossabaw is a feral bread of hog that comes from Ossabaw Island, Georgia. The bonus with this hog, whose meat is a bit gamy in flavor, is that it is packed with monounsaturated fat.

Red Wattle – The Red Wattle is a rare pig that comes from the South Pacific island of New Caledonia. This hog has a good meat to fat ratio that makes it great for curred meats and salumi (and who doesn’t like good salumi?).

Tamworth – The Tamworth, another heritage breed from England, is also great for curred meats and sausages. Maybe most importantly, this breed is said to make the best bacon of any hog variety.

You probably won’t find these variates in your local grocery store or butcher shops, but thanks to the Internet you can order them online.  In Washington, DC be sure to visit our friends at Wagshals – they sale Ibirico Pork  (the only place in the United States to do so).

Check out the following websites for more information and to order these and other heritage breeds of pork.
Flying Pigs Farm –
Heritage Foods USA –
Heritage Pork –
Preferred Meats –

Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker – First Smoking Session

Setting up the new Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker was a lot of fun, but we knew the real fun wouldn’t start until we were able put some meat in the smoker and invite friends over to taste the end product.  We had heard and read all kinds of great reviews about the Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker, but being from the Show-Me State we decided it was time for the smoker to “Show Us” what it was made of and that is exactly what it did over the Memorial Day weekend.
At 8:00 a.m. on Sunday I started the charcoal and began to settle in for a long day of smoking. I started the process by filling my Weber Charcoal Chimney up with Cowboy Hardwood Charcoal and let the coals get nice and hot.
Once the coals were fired up and ready to go I dumped them in to the bottom of the smoker.
Next, I poured the remainder of the bag of charcoal onto the lit coals – this provided enough fuel for about 7 hours of smoking.
After all of the charcoal was on the smoker I placed 7 good sized chunks of Hickory onto the coals for smoking. I normally like to do a mix of hickory and oak, but I was out of oak today so I just used hickory.
After all of the fuel was in the smoker and ready to go I placed the body of the smoker on the base and installed the water pan. I filled the water pan with 6 cans of Bud Light.
While the charcoal in the chimney was lighting I rubbed a pork shoulder (on both sides) with extra virgin olive oil and Pork Barrel BBQ’s All American Spice Rub – the best all-purpose dry rub around.
At 8:30 a.m. the coals were ready, the hickory was on and the water pan was filled with beer and we were ready to start smoking. I placed the first grill rack into the smoker and placed the pork shoulder onto it. 
I like to smoke my meats at a temperature of 250 degrees. 
While the pork shoulder was beginning to smoke I applied extra virgin olive oil and Pork Barrel BBQ’s All American Spice Rub dry rub to a brisket in the same fashion as I had done with the pork shoulder. 
At 10:00 a.m. I placed the brisket in to the smoker on the same rack as the pork shoulder. The picture below is of the brisket just being put onto the grill rack and the pork shoulder after 1.5 hours inside the smoker. 
While the pork shoulder and brisket were smoking I cleaned two racks of ribs – make sure you take the membrane off of the ribs before you cook them!!! I applied extra virgin olive oil and Pork Barrel BBQ’s All American Spice Rub dry rub to the ribs and let them set for about 30 minutes. 
At 11:30 a.m. I placed the second grill rack in to the smoker and placed my rib rack on the grill. I then placed my two racks of ribs in the rib rack. 
Finally, I prepared a whole chicken in the same fashion as the other meats (extra virgin olive oil and Pork Barrel BBQ’s All American Spice Rub dry rub). The chicken went on the grill at 2:30 p.m. 
The below picture is at 6:30 p.m. just before pulling all of the meat off of the smoker. The chicken had been in the smoker for 4 hours, the ribs for 7 hours, the brisket for 8.5 hours and the pork shoulder for 10 hours.   
Here is the final product – ribs and pulled pork!! 
More of the final product – chicken and brisket (notice the nice smoke ring on the brisket). 
Heath and the final meal – smoked pulled pork, smoked brisket, smoked ribs, smoked turkey, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, salad and some nice bread – a great meal that was shared with some great friends!!

After our first use of the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker I must say that the smoker lived up to the reviews – she worked like a charm. We can’t wait to get our two Smokey Mountain Cooker’s out on the Competitive BBQ circuit this year!

We’ll keep you posted on all of her stories as she produces some of the best BBQ you’ll ever have.Don’t forget to visit us on the web at!!


The Tools of the BBQ Trade – Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker Assembly


Pork Barrel BBQ recently acquired two Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smokers. Over the Memorial Day Weekend I put one together and tried it out for the first time.  The following post hits on the highlights of assembling the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker.

The Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker comes in a large box and is relatively easy to assemble. It took me about 25 minutes to go from an unopened box to a smoker that was ready for cooking.

The first step in the assembly of the smoker is to attach the three legs to the heat shield that goes under the smoker – this is a heat shield and not an ash catch.

Next you attach the bottom of the smoker to the three legs and heat shield.

After you’ve installed the legs to the bottom of the smoker install the charcoal grate and ring.

 Next put the body of the smoker onto the base of the smoker.

Next you install four brackets to the inside of the base and place the water bowl inside the base.

Next put the first of the two grill grates into the smoker.

The final step is putting the second grill grate into the smoker.

Place the lid onto the smoker and you have a finished product!

The Finished Product with its protective cover!

We have heard nothing but great things about the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker and can’t wait to try ours out. Check back soon for a post on how the maiden smoking with our new grills went.


The Tools of the BBQ Trade – Pig Grill

We are always on the look out for interesting BBQ gadgets, dry rubs, bbq sauces, grills and smokers. A loyal supporter of Pork Barrel BBQ sent us this picture from a hardware store in Midland, TX of a pig grill (and in the background you can see a bull grill).  We have to admit that this has been placed on the Pork Barrel BBQ wish list, but we aren’t quite prepared to drop the $1,599.00 necessary to put this beauty in your backyard.

If you find any interesting BBQ gadgets, dry rubs, bbq sauces, grills, smokers or anything else related to barbecue that you think would make a good post on this site email us the details at


The Tools of the BBQ Trade – Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

It’s a big day for Pork Barrel BBQ – we just acquired two Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smokers! Check it out!

We have a number of events and BBQ competitions coming up this summer and needed to increase our capacity to cook a lot of great BBQ!  What is really amazing about the Smokey Mountain Cooker (we got two of the 22.5 inch models) is that it can hold 12 slabs of ribs, 4-8 pork shoulders, 3-6 briskets, and even 4 turkeys!  I smoke a lot of BBQ on my Chargriller, but to be honest it takes a lot of work keeping it fired at the correct temperature.  With the Smokey Mountain Cooker I can fire up a pile of lump charcoal and wood chunks in the bottom and come back 10-12 hours later and to a well maintained and perfect temperature – you can’t beat that.

We came to the decision to buy this particular smoker thanks to The Virtual Weber Bullet website.  What a great website it is too –  it’s really one of the best BBQ sites I have found. Thanks to the folks at The Virtual Weber Bullet site for helping us make a great decision – we’ll keep you posted on our smoking success!  Be sure to follow the Pork Barrel BBQ website for more information on our products.