When I think of the Yankee foods of my childhood, I think of warm apple pie, crispy fried clam sandwiches, and of endless bowls of decadent, creamy clam chowdah. I most definitely do not think of barbecue. I’m not alone. Say “barbecue” to most New Englanders, and they’ll assume you mean grilled hotdogs and hamburgers. So, how exactly did two Yankees from Boston become world champions of BBQ, beating out pit masters from the BBQ belt of America — North Carolina, Memphis, and Kansas City? With 12 years of hard work, a can-do Yankee attitude, and a little help from friends.
In their new cookbook, Wicked Good Barbecue, co-authors, Andy Husbands and Chris Hart, winners of the revered Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue (the Oscars of BBQ competitions), share their secrets to making wicked good bbq. Are you ready?
It’s time and effort. Lots of each.
As they explain in their introduction, “We don’t want to scare anybody off, but most of these recipes are not the kind that can be whipped up an hour or so before they are to be served….” Instead, they wrote the book for people who want to be “challenged” — “the barbecue enthusiasts, food geeks, tailgaters, and anybody else who wants to impress the he** out of their family and friends and is willing to put in a little effort to do it.”
The ribs that won the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue
Actually, the recipes in this book require a lot of effort. But Husbands and Hart, along with writer, Andrea Pyenson, write in a charming avuncular style, and patiently walk you through the steps needed to make award-winning bbq. They give you tips on which cooking devices are right for you ranging from vertical smokers to gas grills to terra cotta flowerpots. They explain the different styles of barbecue, tell you how much money to spend on a marinade injector (so you’d better get over your fear of needles) and specify which types of wood chips infuse meat with the most flavor (apple, cherry and oak are among their favorites.)
Chapters 1 & 2 “The Basics of Barbecue” and “Taking Home the Prize” include some of the lengthiest, most hard-core recipes in the book such as “Wicked Pulled Pork,” a delicious labor of love requiring marinade injections for the pork (so you’d better get over your fear of needles) as well as homemade Spicy Lexington Red Slaw, North Carolina Creamy Vinegar Dressing and Bacon Bit Buns.
Speaking of that divine, salty slab meat, bacon lovers will become giddy over the Six-Day Bacon of the Gods recipe and whoot over the Fire-Cooked Cornbread with Bacon Jam and Honey Butter.
Wicked Pulled Pork. Yes, that’s bacon on the bun.
Pork aficionados craving a culinary challenge can tackle John Delpha’s intense, step-by-step recipe for Whole Hog, Porchetta Style, which starts with the purchase of a 30-pound dressed suckling pig, or make the boys’ D.I.Y. Corndogs with Spicy Mustard — you actually make your own hot dogs.
Cookbook Give-Away Time!
Now that I know you’re salivating for some wicked good bbq, it’s time o give away copies of the cookbook to three lucky Pork, Knife & Spoon readers.
To enter for a chance to win, share a grilling tip, technique, recipe, or favorite story in the comment section below. Deadline: Thursday, August 16.
If you tweet about it and mention @porkandknife, I’ll include that as another entry. Good luck!
Photos: Courtesy of Ken Goodman Photography.