|Barbecue Any Old Time: Blues From The Pit 1927-1942 (Old Hat Records)|
'Que to most southerners.
Two of the most well used words in any southerner’s vocabulary are grilling and barbecue.We southerners take extra pride in accomplishing good techniques and recipes for Outdoor Cooking and it is here, in our outdoor cooking arena where we like to shine the brightest. Outdoor cooking is a cherished cultural icon in the south, one we protect, one we guard with honor and one we preserve for our future generations. Doing so is a more than a means in preparing food, it is a celebration regardless of race or class in passing along our legacy of Southern food traditions. To many, the terms grilling and barbecue are means of preparation as in "the grilling of steaks" or "to barbecue a whole hog" but in the south, the terms are much more meaningful expressions of an over-all idea of outdoor cooking. The term grilling can mean many things, one for example as in "time to put on your grilling face" while barbecue is more of a traditional rite and conveys an idea as in "let's get to the barbecue before it's all gone."
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In the south, Outdoor Cooking reflects our persona and image of our fondness for its cookery, the personality and character of our South, our family ways and the regional identity of our food. While there is a distinct and very varied difference between grilling and barbecue, both are unique to the South. Basically, grilling is done over an open fire or flame and the cooking time is short, much less than the time it takes to barbecue. The sear of the hot grate, the sizzling of the drip from the juices onto the fire makes for one heck of a good, grilled seasoned taste. Done with pride using a honed sop, a family rub recipe and a secret 'pit master' BBQ sauce will make all the difference in grilled foods. Cooking off-heat, slow and long where the food is removed from the heat source and is cooked indirectly, where the foodstuff is ever so slowly basked in smoky flavors from hardwood embers: that is the way of cooking barbecue. While there are barbecue joints all over America, it is our South where true pit masters have honed the skill and techniques and practiced for generations the tradition of slow cooking.
Time consuming, hot, sweaty and inconvenient, to grill correctly and to prepare barbecue is an effort of incredible persistence and that is what makes our Outdoor Cooking a Southern icon and a cuisine that many have tried, and will continue, to emulate. It is in the Outdoor Cooking section that I offer my attempts, my lessons and recipes while enjoying cooking outside.