While bacon is the pork flavor of the day, BBQ is the only true gospel which many of us backyard-smokers follow. The practice of barbecuing is almost a religious experience; successful barbeque is, after all, as much about the discipline to fight off the temptation to crack open the smoker and take a peek as it is in having faith in one’s preparation. It’s not easy, though it sure sounds easy, right? Build a fire, add some wood chips, throw in some meat, then forget it while you watch the game and drink some beers? (I’ll recommend wines for pairing with barbeque, but the proper beverage for actually barbecuing is beer, of course.) Well, it’s not easy and that’s why people plan barbeque pilgrimages. Why else did I go down to San Antonio, after all? That's a joke ... or is it?
Anyway. While the recipes in America’s Best BBQ -- and there are 100 absolutely mouthwatering ones to choose from -- are a great guide to the 'que, what really caught my attention in this book was the list of sources. Each recipe comes from a great American Barbeque joint, of which I seem to have visited exactly three. But the best part is that each source is listed with address, phone number, and anecdote, all ready for the best laid plans of fine men and women everywhere. Do you hear a road trip for North Carolina or Tennessee in the works? Damn right you do!
Meet the AuthorsArdie A. Davis founded the Diddy-Wa-Diddy National Barbecue Sauce Contest on his backyard patio in 1984; three years later the contest became the American Royal International Barbecue Sauce, Rub & Baste Contest. In 2008, he was a featured judge at the 20th Annual Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue in Lynchburg. Paul Kirk, inductee into the Kansas City Barbecue Society Hall of Flame, has won over 475 cooking and barbecue awards, including the prestigious American Royal Open.
Buy America's Best BBQ: 100 Recipes from America's Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses, and Restaurants
Wine PairingsOk, so it’s time for a wine recommendation, and while these dishes are somewhat wine-friendly, they really do taste better with beer! Ha! Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let me just make one simple recommendation for barbeque: Petite Sirah.
I love Petite with spicy, smoky ‘cue. It’s got the rich fruit of Zinfandel with a peppery edge, and frequently lighter body, perfect for cutting through grease and spice. A nice alternate would be the powerful, rich, and frequently smoky wines of the Ribera del Duero.
Click here to download the full recipe as a PDF. Serves 4 to 8
2 tablespoons white cane sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
2 tablespoons Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1½ teaspoons chili powder
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
2 (2½-pound) slabs spareribs
In a small bowl, combine the sugars, paprika, seasoned salt, chili powder, cumin, onion, white pepper, and black pepper and blend well. You can do this ahead of time, cover, and store in a cool, dark place until ready to use.
To prepare the ribs, remove the membrane from the back of the slab and trim any excess fat. Season the slabs all over with all of the rub. Cover and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Cook the ribs using the indirect method at 275°F. Jeff says that cooking the ribs at the higher temperature does two things: it renders the fat better, and you get more flavorful ribs. Cook the ribs for 5 to 6 hours, turning them every 2 hours.
The ribs are done when you can easily tear or pull two ribs apart.