How To BBQ Like A Real Man

So you think you can barbecue, junior? Finally ready to take on your old man and assume your rightful place at the grill? Got dang, I've seen sides of beef with more fight in 'em than you.

Of course, your British cut it differently.

Just The Facts

  1. Barbecue is not the sauce, it's what the sauce goes on. So what the hell do we call this sauce?
  2. Smoked pork ribs will have a pinkish color but are not undercooked. If a local restaurant must explain this, you don't live in a barbecue state.
  3. There are severe penalties for improper barbecuing in the state of Texas, one of which is having to stay in Texas.


The history of cooking can be neatly divided into four periods:

  • Pleistocene -- Food was raw and sometimes not even food. It was very common to eat rocks, or a finely ground meal called sand.
  • Neopaleoneolithic - While not technically food, tree struck by lightning becomes first cooked meal for wandering hominids. Later used as coals to keep warm, until Thogg accidentally is put hims foot in moving hot flower. Foot of Thogg is come delicious smells now. The people eat. Triggers next period.

Is it still cannibalism if they're unbearably annoying?

  • Golden Age - Cooking discovered; BBQ developed as sole foodstuff. Period ends with invention of sliced bread.
  • Modern era - Go ask your mother how she's doing in the kitchen and bring me back a beer


These are the basic methods of barbecue:

It's like staring at God's heart.

It's like staring into God's heart

  • Coals - This is what you use. Like your father, dammit!
  • Propane - A lot of people like propane because you get instantaneous heat, can adjust the temperature, and don't suck in crumbly fistfuls of smoke residue while you cook. Propane is a clean-burning gas, so you only taste what you're cooking, not the give-off from coals. These people are nuts. The cancer is what makes barbecue delicious.

It...was..worth it....

Mmmm, just picture that grilled up cajun-style with some corn-on-the-cob

Propane has its place, but of course, prop-heads have to go and get contentious, touting their superior choice. They're basically the Mac users of grilling.

You knew this picture was coming.

A good man, but tragically flawed

  • Wood - Oh man, if only. Usually you'd have a brick or stone setup in the backyard for this. The heat's less consistent, because basically coals are what you get after some guy at Kingsford has already used wood and brought the leftovers in to work. The advantage of wood is it can flavor the food according to the type of tree. So, say, if you used poplar, cedar, or maple, you'd get a steak that tasted like a cabinet, a CEO's desk, or Mrs. Butterworth's kisses respectively. Rotisserie over open wood flame is a good way to do it, if that unfeeling bitch Butterworth hasn't left you too heartbroken to eat. (Edna! Come back to what's right! You can't deny what we had was real!)
  • Oven/Stove - Occasionally the gods mock us and it becomes necessary to cook indoors (like, say, during a hurricane). Put some salt in a cast-iron skillet or (if you must) teflon and turn the heat all the way up. When the salt starts crackling and jumping, it's time to put the steak on. Sear it 10-30 seconds on either side, then throw it in the broiler or stove on fairly high heat. It might be a little more grey than outdoors, but if you watch it, you'll still cook it to God's perfection (medium rare). If the blood comes up, you've overdone the beef and now you have to eat that rubbery steak they serve in Greek diners. Smooth move, Socrates.
  • Foreman Grill - What are you, in college? Fuck that shit.

Show some goddamned respect.

This animal died for you. Where's the respect? We're not making panini here.


First, start drinking. It's important you get a buzz prior to playing with fire.

Prepare your meat with a dry rub of spices. You may also want to marinade a bit so the meat doesn't dry up like an eighty-year-old nun. The amount of spices necessary is inverse to how likely the animal could accidentally kill you. Chicken wants a bucket of flavor (cripes, have you ever tried unspiced chicken? You'll puke.) whereas pork treads between a little and quite a bit. Steak needs almost none. Presumably velociraptor comes off the bone tasting like a steak milkshake swirled with melted butter.

Some people like to tenderize their meat by pounding it with a studded hammer between sheets of wax paper. Whatever gets you off, man.

While the meat's perfumating, prep the rest of your barbecue. You've got a bucket full of hot coals there. What are you going to do, let that heat go to waste, son? Sure, and you probably let the car idle and run the faucet for ten minutes before you get in, just like your mother. What are you, made of money? The cave men never did this back when only way to get kindling was to gnaw down a tree yourself. Several generations committed themselves to the 22-year process of collecting timber, at which point the mammoths were extinct and there was nothing good to eat anyway.

Man, can you imagine how good mammoth must taste? Plus, they were probably jerks, so you don't have to feel as guilty as you would for eating real elephant.

Ray Romano is probably delicious too, come to think of it.

Look at that bastard begging you to eat him

Anyway, one good thing to make is shish-ka-bobs, which are metal sticks loaded with vegetables and meat cooking unevenly, so you flip them, at which point everything falls into the fire. Or you can use wooden sticks soaked in water, which will hold the meat better, right until they dry out in spite of your considerate efforts and break in two. So it's really up to you how you choose to waste time and money.

Prepare your coals by dousing them in butane, lighting a match and running like hell. Once the fluid has burned off, the coals will be extinguished. Repeat until they turn bright red below their ashy exterior. Coals are the meth heads of the barbecue world.

You can also use a chimney smoker for your coals, which has the effect of reaching that white-hot, sweet spot faster, but they won't last as long. People like these because they don't require you to smooth the process with fluid. Wow, using a smoker is like taking someone's virginity, but with more blood.

Actually less messy than taking someone's virginity

Just like behind your cousin's shed.


Sear both sides, trapping in the juices. This is completely fictitious, but at least your meat gets a nice tan. The real reason to sear is to mix up the flavor, lending that delicious crispity, crackly, caramely goodness to the outside. The inside of the steak's going to taste insulated anyway, no sense in the outside tasting like the inside.

Move the steak off the direct heat and close the grill to trap it in there with enough smoke to asphyxiate a horse. Especially if you're grilling horse, you ungrateful madman.

Then stand around sipping beers with your dad while he gives you awkward but loving advice on how to avoid knocking a girl up. Here's a good way for you two to start:

"Son, I know you're having fun with the 'hotties' but make sure YOUR hot-hottie and HER hot-hottie don't actually touch. Be careful, son. I love you."*

Check on the steak every five minutes. Tell the old bastid you love him too.

Withdraw the steak once it reaches medium-rare (brown outside and sweating like a fat kid dancing with the cheer captain). Toast to life.

And to Pop

Yep, like that.

Brendan McGinley once drove 700 miles just to get some real Texas barbecue.

*actual quote.