Pulled Pork. Brisket. Links. Ribs.
Just looking at these words almost makes me weep. BBQ recipes are guarded secrets. BBQ cooking is a religion. BBQ cooking is a way of life. OK, that's a bit much, but the religion part's not. To serious aficionados BBQ and their BBQ recipes can be fighting words.
Despite what much of the country believes, BBQ is not a verb. BBQ is a noun. What many people do on the weekend and at the ballpark is grilling. It is not BBQ. BBQ is all about low and slow- low cooking temperatures, for a long period of time using hardwoods to provide heat and smoke for flavoring. ...
Like jazz music, BBQ is a true American "invention". It has roots from elsewhere: Germany, the Caribbean, Mexico, Africa etc. but as we know it it is a pure American culinary art form.
In addition, BBQ and BBQ recipes are extremely regional. You will find drastic differences in the 'cue from Texas as the 'cue in North Carolina. Hell, in the Carolinas, if you drive to the next county they'll be different. Just like an Italian form Emiglia Romagna will debate what makes a great ragu, folks from different parts of the country will debate what makes great BBQ.
Seriously, something that can make brother turn against brother has got to be good.
And, BBQ is the great equalizer: pull into a run-down BBQ shack, in the middle of nowhere, with sweet blue smoke trailing out of the chimney and you'll likely find an S-class Mercedes, next to a light green AMC Gremlin, next to a shiny new 3/4 ton Ford F-150.
BBQ knows no class structure. It is equal opportunity good.
Another fascinating thing about BBQ and great BBQ recipes is that in almost all cases the meat used is cheap and tough. It takes an art and skill to render something like brisket, that you could resole your shoes with, gloriously tender and flavorful. Anybody can take a piece of tenderloin or foie gras and make it great, but not pork shoulder.Amen. What's that? (I think I hear the fire box calling.)