If you want to make great barbecue—the kind that entices guests from 20 feet away with its incredible, mouthwatering aroma—you need to ask a pitmaster how to do it right.
So we did. To discover the secrets behind the pits that are often passed down across generations, we talked with experts from three capitals of BBQ: North Carolina, Texas and Kansas City, Missouri. Then we asked them to simplify things a little bit, for home cooking.
Jump Straight to a Recipe
Roasting a whole hog might be a bit much the first time out, but many of the same rules apply to smaller cuts that become luscious pulled pork, saucy ribs or meltingly tender brisket. We cajoled some recipes that are better suited for backyard barbecuers of all skill levels who are more interested in a lazy weekend than all-out pit competition. We also got some beverage pairings to enjoy while you wait for the meat to finish.
“It’s a low-stress thing—it just takes some time,” says Elliott Moss, partner and pitmaster at Buxton Hall Barbecue in Asheville, North Carolina. He’s prepared wood-smoked meats, vegetables and even grains for family gatherings, parties and beer dinners at local breweries.
Perhaps his best barbecue advice?
“Just have some good company.”