Let’s start with a simple and extremely important fact:
Barbeque is not a verb.
Barbeque is a kind of food. Barbeque is a style of cooking. Barbeque can even be – in the loosest possible sense of the word – an event, but that is pushing it. You eat barbeque. You cook barbeque. You can – if you want to flirt with the edge of cretinville – have people “over for a barbeque” but the proper usage here would be to have people “over for barbeque”.
One thing you do not do is “barbeque” something. You don’t barbeque steaks, or barbeque burgers. You grill them. And while grilling can result in some tasty food, that food is not barbeque.
And this distinction is important – barbeque is a food of love, and investment in time and fire and smoke and passion that gives results like no other, deep rich flavours and textures that make you put your food down after the first bite and stare at it on the plate and say “Damn, is that ever good.” Which I am going to bet is not something you have ever done with a hot dog.
The cornerstone of all of this is the somewhat annoying (and ironic) inverse relationship between the tenderness of a cut of meat and the flavour it contains. The harder it is to cut and chew, the bigger and deeper the flavour of the meat. The only cure for the toughness in the tastiest cuts of meat is time and smoke – “low and slow” is the key, with extended cooking times over low-temperature wood and charcoal fires. The combination of slow heat and the penetrating smoke has the power to deliver a magic combination of taste and tenderness that you just can’t get in any other way.
Unfortunately, barbeque is virtually unknown in The Great White North. When Canadians say barbeque they are actually talking about grilling, and they are slaves to direct heat. Worse, my countryfolk almost universally cook with propane or natural gas, meaning that whatever effort they did put into scorching their food is destroyed by that nasty benzene tang that comes from artificial fire.
All of which is a long and roundabout way of saying that this site is here to try and bring some of the traditions of real barbeque to my fellow Canadians – and anyone else who may stumble by. Recipe ideas, preparation techniques,, discussions of how to build a fire and what to build it in, and what to do when a fire is out of the question – poke around and see if there is something that catches your eye. And come hungry.