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I am a barbecue fanatic.

I have 3 different smokers at home for all kinds of barbecuing. On more than a few occasions, I’ve stayed up all night to smoke a brisket. (Experience has taught me to alert the neighbors to avoid late-night visits from the fire department.) I’ve traveled, from New York to Memphis, 3 times to compete in a kosher BBQ competition and I’ve been invited to be a judge at two other kosher barbecue competitions. I even designed my back-porch around my outdoor cooking equipment.

Barbecue is one of my favorite methods of cooking, and I’d like to introduce you to it.  Before we go any further, let’s get our terms straight.  While you might have made “a barbecue” for your friends and family, you were most likely grilling and not barbecuing.

What’s the difference?

Grilling is cooking food directly over high heat. If there’s a chance that the food might burn, you’re grilling. I have nothing against grilling - but we’re talking about the art of barbecue. Barbecuing is done with low heat, lots of wood smoke and is never done directly over the heat source. If you’d like, think of it as “smoke roasting.” The cooking temperatures shouldn’t exceed 225°F, so barbecue is not a fast cooking method. The mantra of any barbecue aficionado is “low and slow.” Really s-l-o-w. Some cuts of meat can take as many as 16 hours to finish!

Why would anyone wait 16 hours for their main dish?  When you taste it, you’ll know.

What kind of equipment do you need to get started?

There are a number of choices available at your local hardware mega-store. Each has pros and cons, but with practice, they can all provide good results. Click here to help you choose the best BBQ Smoker for your needs.

herb mop

What is an herb mop? A sauce mop helps glaze your meat during a BBQ. Create your own mop by using fresh herbs, kitchen twine and a twig. It is fun to make and adds an herbaceous flavor profile to your sauce. Take a bunch of herbs (rosemary or thyme for example), attach it to a twig or stick, tie the twine around the herbs, dip the herb mop in sauce, and sauce your meat, chicken or fish as it sizzles over the grill.

Now, that you have your smoker, you are ready to get started.  Begin with easier recipes such as Beer Can Chicken, you can work your way up to the more involved recipes, such as Barbecued Brisket.