From the west, where beef is best, comes Rudy Mikeska's Barbecue cook up beef brisket.
To Texans, where cattle is the "cash crop," barbecue is immediately understood as beef. You can get pork and chicken, but you must ask for it specifically.
The type of pit and fire can vary, but there's one thing most Texans agree on — the sauce rides shot-gun. It is never rubbed on the meat; it's always served on the side.
Rudy Mikeska's All-Purpose Seasoning
1 pound salt
4 ounces chili powder
3 ounces black pepper, coarsely ground
4 ounces black pepper, finely ground
2 ounces crushed red pepper
2 ounces garlic powder
Mix all ingredients together and place in an airtight container. Rub on beef, pork, chicken, lamb generously and marinate 1 to 5 days, refrigerated, before cooking.
In the Midwest, where roads of the four corners cross, is Gates Bar-B-Q with its pork ribs.
From the very beginning, the African-American community in Kansas City encouraged barbecue and approached it in an entrepreneurial way.
Ollie W. Gates is president of the company that makes the region's famous sauces, and he is the person who turned his father's single restaurant into a brand name recognized throughout the Midwest.
Cooking Procedure for Ribs
Place pork ribs, preferable 2 to 3 pounds on counter or block. Trim all fat and score between each bone. Marinate, medium strength,using Gates Original Seasoning, shaking off excess. Let stand until it starts to turn into liquid (approximately 15-minutes). Place ribs front side or face down on a hot fire. Barbecue until golden brown, then turn over. Move away from fire slightly. Continue the barbecue process for 45 minutes to an hour or until tender.
Makes about 2 cups
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons red pepper
1 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoons ground celery
In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, salt, paprika, red pepper, cumin and ground celery. Store in a tightly sealed jar.
Makes about 3 Quarts
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
2 tablespoons celery seed
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground red pepper
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoons chili powder
2 quarts catsup
2 cups apple vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1 teaspoon lemon juice
- In a small bow, mix together sugar, salt, celery seed, cumin, red pepper, garlic powder and chili powder. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine catsup, vinegar, liquid smoke and lemon juice. Add dry ingredients and mix until very well blended. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Sauce may be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Serves 18 to 20
6 slabs of 2 1/2 to 2-pound pork spare ribs with skirt
2 cups rib seasoning
3 quarts barbecue sauce
- Prepare and preheat grill. Ollie Gates uses hickory chips and wood blocks to flavor the smoke. He recommends indirect heat. But if you're using a standard charcoal grill, arrange coals to one side. Grill is ready when temperature reaches 230 to 250 degrees.
- Trim ribs and blot with paper towels, then sprinkle on both sides with rib seasoning. Marinate for 15 minutes.
- Arrange slabs on grill rack, starting close to the fire so that the ribs cook fast in the beginning and then move the meat away from the fire so that it continues to cook slowly. Continue cooking the slabs, 1 hour for the first pound and a half-an-hour more for each additional pound (approximately two hours). Ribs are done when you can gently pull them apart with gloved hands.
- In a saucepan, warm barbecue sauce. Transfer ribs to a cutting board and allow to cool, slightly. Cut between individual ribs and serve with barbecue sauce.
Serves 18 to 20
2 55-ounce cans baked beans
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
3 tablespoons rib seasoning (see above)
3/4 cup barbecue sauce (see above)
l teaspoon liquid smoke
- In a cast-iron pot, combine beans, brown sugar, molasses, rib seasoning, barbecue sauce and liquid smoke.
- Cook on the grill, stirring occasionally, until hardened "crust" forms on top of beans (approximately 20 minutes)
- For added flavor, Ollie Gates adds brisket trimmings and pit drippings from the restaurant's barbecue pit. Alternatively, you can add any barbecued meat scraps and drippings.
And from the South-Atlantic, where squeal is the meal, we had Bill Ellis' barbecue cook chopped barbecue pork.
In the case of our guest who makes Eastern-style barbecue, you will find his meat served in a vinegar-based sauce. When it comes to traditional roasting, fatter hogs are hung closer to the fire because they self-baste as the fat renders; because they are fatter, they are most often rubbed with dry seasonings (very little if any wet sauce is used at all).