Day 19: Remembering Our Loved Ones

Hello friends,

So much has been at play this month. We started out the month by launching our current giveaway (Free BBQ Sauce). We began blogging like crazy. (Check it out) We have been demoing at some stores and contests. Memphis in May International BBQ Contest was last weekend. (I got to see some familiar faces there in the BBQ world). All of these things have kept us super busy, but you guys have kept us motivated. We love BBQ and to see that you do too makes us very passionate!
We want to show our appreciation of your support, and do so in remembrance of our father who accomplished so much in the world of BBQ. Dad loved cooking in general, and he loved people. Click here to learn about who our father was.
Alongside our father, we also want to take this time to remember all the men and woman who have died for our rights in this country. We are here because of their ultimate sacrifices, and it is important to remember that, and not take everything for granted.
While you are cooking out on Memorial Day, enjoying some wonderful BBQ, or chowing down on some grilled burgers and hotdogs, remember what the day is about.

Thanks for your continued support!

Michael Quessenberry

Coupons:

‘JIMFTW20’ FOR 20% OFF OUR ORIGINAL RECIPE BBQ SAUCE
‘THEBRAVE’ FOR 10% OFF EVERYTHING IN THE STORE EXCEPT COMBOS

Day 18: 5 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Product Demonstration Booth

Over the past three years it has been apparent to us that your presentation game must be on-point if you want to boost sales in local and regional grocery stores and specialty shops. As we’ve grown over that time, we’ve begun to see other local barbecue sauce companies take notice and follow our lead. Going from coolers and the ever so familiar off-white, light pink, and greige (gray-beige) crockpots with the little flowers on the side to mirror finish serving dishes shows just how important it is for barbecue sauce startups to stay relevant, appetizing, and approachable. Without anymore delay, here are five things you can do today to stay relevant in your local grocery stores and marketplaces.

 

5. Boast the Benefits, Don’t Baffle With Bullshit

Early on in our demonstrations at grocery stores there were two idealogies about how to best approach potential customers to try the product. As it turns out, most customers are smarter than the average bear and can smell bullshit a mile away. Who knew? You can boast and brag visually using trophies and/or banners without constantly reminding the customer how good you really think you are. No one likes a braggart and they especially don’t like one that initially approaches them with a loud and abrasive claim regardless of merit. Rather than asking the customer if they’ve heard about your recent accolades or publications, ask them if they’d like to try a free sample of the goods. That is what you’re there to do after all; sell your products.

 

Pro-tip: set up a table with a trophy or two (if you have them) but don’t focus on the trophies. Focus on the customer and the sample.

Let the products speak for themselves. No one’s ever heard of “Meatwave Magazine.”

 

4. Interact on a Personal Level.

So many of your customers will remember you and unfortunately you may not remember all of them. It’s a tough line to walk because you don’t want to offend anyone, but you have to interact on a personal level that engages. Talk with the customer as they’re trying the product. Ask them what they like or dislike most about your product while they’re tasting it. You’ll create a level of respect and integrity with them and it will help you create lasting bonds with your customers. It also serves well for feedback. Customers that are comfortable will be candidly honest with you.

Pro-tip: Check the contents of the customer’s cart. See some kind of meat? Offer the right product for it. Start a conversation and then offer a sample.

Thank you for coming by our demonstration today. Let us know how we did. If you are on Facebook, be sure to search for us and like our page. You can leave feedback there as well.

3. Conserve But Don’t Go Skimpy on Samples.

When’s the last time you ate a cracker with barbecue sauce on it and thought to yourself, “I really need to get a pack of saltines to go with this sauce. It is soooo good! I can’t wait to get home and drizzle this on some crunchy crackers!” I would venture a guess that you probably haven’t ever knocked down the grocery store door to get to some crackers when you’re thinking about barbecue. Your customers aren’t thinking that either. Serve them up some pulled pork cooked and served with your products. Get the taste in their mouth and the sale will follow.

Pro-tip: Use restaurant squeeze bottles with nozzles for accurate and conserved application of the sauces.

Save the crackers for a last ditch effort if you’ve run out of meat.

2. Vegans, Vegetarians, and Hipsters OH MY!

We never wish to alienate anyone during a demo, but as the old saying goes, you can’t please everyone. Now that being said, some folks are spending time and money on crackers, kale, jack fruit, and other substitutes for meat. We encourage all people to try our products and for the most part are fairly friendly to special dietary needs, but we never lose sight of our industry and that is barbecue; smoked, flavorful, and delicious meats with a sweet and tangy flavor profile. When you start chasing niche markets while losing sight of your bread and butter customers it becomes a slippery slope that can be hard to overcome. We welcome all people to use our products, but it is difficult for us to begin tracking all of the dietary needs and fads as they come and go. Expect pulled pork, sauce, and rub at our demos.

Pro-tip: Avoid confrontation with PETA and other activists by offering fruit as an alternative. If that doesn’t work, refer to the store manager for assistance.

A quick upgrade is to offer a fruit such as an apple slice instead of crackers. It is juicy and accents barbecue seasons and sauces quite well for those who won’t eat meat.

1. Presentation is 9/10 of The Law

No one wants to eat BBQ from your grandma’s crockpot and they especially don’t want to eat it from your tailgating cooler. While these are great for tailgating and making things portable, you’re here to make a first impression that lasts. We were guilty of using aluminum pans in coolers to keep the meat somewhat warm, but after you open the lid a few times the heat is gone and the condensation starts to dry out the meat.

 

The logical solution is to get a warm dish that will keep the meat moist, warm, and tender. So get a crockpot right? Well that can work, and it does in a pinch, but what if you’re outside or yards away from a power outlet? What if your crockpot looks like something that should be on “The Antiques Roadshow?” What if you have bright orange extension cords looking like a construction site? Are you sending the right visual message? Probably not. Ditch the crockpot for a professional chafing dish with portable fuel burners, some silver flatware, and while you’re at it, throw in a fitted table cloth with your logo on it. We’ve seen other demo booths follow in our footsteps to give a professional “you got your shit together” look with a simple fitted table cloth and some silver flatware.

Pro-tip: Chafing dishes are an expensive but necessary tool that will give your game some much appreciated next-level respect from customers. It will speak for itself. People can’t help but look into it like a mirror. If you’re serious about your groundgame in local grocery stores, you’ll buy a chafing dish right now and keep the crockpot in your kitchen.

Day 17: So… We Found Another World Championship That Dad Won? Who Knew?

Upon doing a ton of research lately on the history and origins of 1980’s pioneering barbecue championships, we found out a few things that even we didn’t know about Dad’s past wins. Unfortunately back in the late 80’s or maybe early 90’s, Dad’s trophies were on display at a buddy’s restaurant and it burned completely to the ground. It included several top place wins at Memphis in May as well as other contests around the mid-south. (I’ll do more research on that later to establish the what, when, and where of the restaurant). All of our lives, we were told that Dad was a two-time champion, receiving top honors of the 3rd and 5th International Cooking Competition in Lisdoonvarna, Ireland. While this is a true statement it seems that we all, including my mother, let one slip through the cracks that was a much more recent victory, and from Memphis in May to boot.

 

Through research online, it became apparent that Dad won the World Championship in Ribs either in 1993 or 1994 at Memphis in May. The book, “Down Home Cooking” by Reader’s Digest (ISBN 0-89577-646-4) lists a recipe and excerpt from an interview with Dad called “Arkansas Slabs of Ribs” which states “Jim Quessenberry, grand prize winner in the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, slowly smokes pork ribs on a barbecue for several hours. For faster cooking, roast them in the oven then finish them on the grill.”

EDIT: To my knowledge, Dad’s biggest win at MIM was a 2nd place win in whole-hog sometime in the 1980’s, but this sheds new light on a trophy that may have been lost to time and or a fire. According to my mother, Dad won Grand Prize in a ham cooking contest and this may have been what the article alluded to without expressly mentioning ribs. I have seen one website claiming that Memphis in May was won by Apple City Smokers in 1994 with ribs, but another team took shoulders in 1993 which could lead to the possibility that there was a place win in 1993. One thing’s for certain, he won a category in Memphis in May with top honors and that’s a feat in and of itself.

Day 16: Five Stories about Jim Quessenberry That Will Inspire You.

There are moments in life that refine a person and then there are actions that define a person. As Jim’s oldest boy, I’d like to share with you five of the most influential and inspirational deeds that Dad did to better the world.

5. No-Till Farmer of the Year

When I was a kid Dad had a handful of big shiny gold and silver belt buckles that were placed on plaques hanging from the fireplace mantle. I was always fascinated with them and I never could understand why he never wore them. I didn’t realize they were trophies for a very niche type of farming where you use less fuel, less herbicide, and less fertilizer while refraining from burning off your fields and polluting the air. The No-Till farming practice was started as a way to save on costs while also minimizing the impact of large scale agriculture on the environment. In the mid to late 1980’s, Jim’s farm was recognized on several occasions by the state of Arkansas as one of the best in the state and he was awarded No-Till Farmer of the year in consecutive years by then governor, Bill Clinton. Dad was a pioneer and champion for the natural state before it was cool to be organic and environmentally friendly.

 

4. Justice of the Peace

As a kid I was the ring-bearer in about a thousand weddings. My brother and I were often stand-ins for rehearsals and practice. When people wanted to get hitched they showed up at our house with a marriage license and a fistful of cash ready to ride off into the sunset as husband and wife. As a Justice of the Peace for 3 consecutive terms, Dad was given the privilege of being able to perform wedding ceremonies indefinitely. At some point he got so many requests to perform the ceremonies that he ended up doing them for no cost. It was one of the things he liked best about his public service and it made many good memories, and maybe a few not so good memories for some of the ones that barely made it down the road before getting an annulment. Neverthless, he enjoyed doing what he could in our community to keep the peace and make people happy.

 

3. Neighborhood Parents

Several of my friends considered Dad to be their second Dad. He had a heart as big as his appetite and would allow friends of mine to seek refuge where they might not have a good environment in their own homes. Of course you had to “earn your keep” which meant making barbecue sauce, cutting the grass, or just having to listen to the endless supply of corny jokes. My friends as well as Michael’s friends all have several unique stories and memories from being one of Jim’s extra kids. Dad and Mom both would go out of their way to help children. Mom usually provided transportation in her Chevy Astro Van to and from ballgames, FFA events, birthday parties, and school trips. She made sure everyone had shoes, clothes, and food too.

 

2. Wizard of Worldly Wisdom

Dad was a walking Farmer’s Almanac. He had pretty much memorized all of the phases of the moon, knew when the best time to view the northern lights was if applicable, knew more than anyone needs to know about 13 and 17 year locusts, could measure the distance of lightning strikes from our location by counting the time it took to hear the thunder, knew when all the major celestial events would occur and where to get the best view, could navigate by the position of the stars, and knew every constellation in the sky. Most of this knowledge came from an actual almanac but all of it was committed to his memory and would be delivered to anyone willing to listen. He was a farmer after all, so movements of the heavens were something very important to him. He read our horoscopes to us after we read the Sunday comics and he loved to teach us to read. One of his favorite past times was telling old ghost stories while we stayed up all night catching catfish.

 

1. Philosopher of Barbecue (Jim Quessenberry, Ph.B.)

Like many of his colleagues in the pioneering world of championship barbecue, Jim had a few nicknames. He went by “Killer,” “The Arkansas Trav’ler,” “Jimbo,” “Big Jim,” and “Jim Quessenberry, Ph.B.” The latter of those was given to him by hall of famer Ardie “Remus Powers, Ph.B.” Davis. Earning a nickname in the BBQ world is a prestiguious achievement backed by many of the best pitmasters in the world. Some of the best known names of the time were Remus Powers, Ph. B, Billy Bones, Silky “The King of the Irish” O’Sullivan, and Smokey Hale to name a few. Many people wanted to interview Dad and get to know his views on the world, cooking, and life in general. As a go to for many jokes, long adventurous stories, and basic advice on getting the fullest from life, Jim became known as Jim Quessenberry, Ph.B. This was a title bestowed upon him by the original “Doctor of Barbecue” Ardie “Remus Powers, Ph.B” Davis. Throughout Jim’s barbecue career, he was a philosopher of not just barbecue, but life to its fullest.

Although there aren’t any call booths or a Tardis’ like Dr. Who, for Dr. Q there are plenty of blue port-a-johns (Turdis) at Memphis in May that look like a Tardis and Ardie has the scoop on the magic behind one of Jim’s best pranks ever. Be sure to grab a copy of “America’s Best BBQ” by Ardie himself. While you’re at it, be sure to grab a jar or two of barbecue sauce.

Book

Sauce

Day 15: Five Things You Should Know About Charcoal

We’ve all had our experiments with wood, charcoal, and even gas when cooking outdoors, but did you know that charcoal was originally used for several other reasons including art, medicine, makeup, and metallurgy?

Image By DryPot – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12649706

Charcoal in Art

Charcoal has been used as a pigment for ages to represent the color black. From the earliest paintings and inscriptions to modern art, charcoal is a favorite among a long lineage of expressionists and artists alike. Furthermore, charcoal is microscopically absorbant and can be used as a pigment for dyes used to create black and grey fabrics.

Charcoal in Medicine

Charcoal is one of a few age old home remedies for dietary and digestive issues. For centuries people of the ancient world all the way to today have used charcoal to settle stomach aches and other digestive issues. It is so popular that charcoal is still used today in pill form to address and treat ailments.

 

Charcoal in Metallurgy

Charcoal is a fairly clean burning fuel when compared to wood and other organic rich fuel sources. That’s because charcoal has been through a process called pyrolysis, which is like fire anaerobics for trees. That means that wood or other vegetation like Bamboo, is heated to high temperatures with the absence of oxygen which consumes the organic matter and water and dries out the vegetation forming a charred black carbon substance we call charcoal. Since the wood has been burned once, the main byproduct, smoke, is cut in half leaving a combustible substance that puts out way less smoke. When you have less smoke, you can forge and weld metals with fewer impurities which allows for a better quality metal. Charcoal has fueled blacksmith forges from the early beginnings of the bronze, iron, and industrial ages throughout today.

Charcoal in Cosmetics

Like the dyes and paints mentioned before, charcoal can be ground into a microscopic powder pigment and used in a wide variety cosmetic products because it is absorbed very well by the skin and has staying power. Maybe she’s born with it? Maybe it’s Royal Oak?

Charcoal in Cooking

Naturally charcoal is a fuel of choice for many barbecue enthusiasts, and it’s American as Ellsworth B. A. Zwoyer… Yep that’s right, charcoal as we know it in the briquet form was invented by Zwoyer in 1897 in Pennsylvania. So 6 years before the Wright Brothers were jumping off of sand dunes with a giant kite, Zwoyer was getting a patent on charcoal, literally one of the most abundant and widely used fuels in the world, because he made it into nice consistent square briquets. And you thought Steve Jobs was a visionary. LOL. This guy reinvented reburning wood and patented it.

It doesn’t stop there though, Henry Ford got into the game and changed it FOREVER. Henry Ford needed a way to recycle and reuse wood byproducts and horsefeed used in his automobile factories so he took the charcoal briquet idea and ran with it. He began producing charcoal and selling it which founded a little company called Kingsford.

So what does all this have to do with Jim Quessenberry BBQ? Well for one you won’t be seeing us using any of Hank Hill’s propane and propane accessories, but furthermore, we prefer to cook most everything with charcoal for a smooth, longlasting, and well controlled fire. I prefer Kingsford, but Royal Oak will do in a pinch. I suppose that makes me a Ford man afterall.

 

Tell you what, why don’t you grab a bottle or two of the good stuff in our shop and share some of your charcoal grilling techniques with us. We’d love to hear your stories.

Day 14: 4 Things You Had No Clue About When It Comes to Apples and Apple Wood

 

Apple Wood Flavors Are Very Similar to The Pome

Apple wood provides a fruity and delightful hint of flavor when used to smoke ribs, chicken, porkchops, or other white meats. It is a goto for many competitors in the competitive world of barbecue. Unlike Hickory which I wrote about earlier, Apple trees and the apples themselves have a ton of wildly varying symbols and meanings throughout mythology, religion, and folklore. The Pome (fruit) of the Apple is associated with many healing recipes and other remedies.

Apples Have Strange Religious and Mythical Powers

The Apple Was Eve’s gift to Adam from the tree of knowledge. Apparently women have unfortunately experienced the gender gap in pay and education since the beginning of time. Eve gave Adam the fruit and well we all know what happened after that. Or do we? Apparently the Apple tree was also the tree of eternal life in the Garden of Eden so I mean, what gives? Talk about a tough test of religious faith.

Apple Blossoms Are Associated with Beauty

The Apple blossom is a symbol of beauty in ancient China. It is used often to depict natural beauty in nature and adorned on gowns and robes for the most beautiful women in China. At least it wasn’t the forbidden fruit that ruined humanity forever right?

Apple Trees Are Sacred in Many Ancient Religions

Apple trees were sacred to the Druidic and Celtic people as well as the Brythonic people of ancient Europe. The tree was often associated with many health benefits as well as immortality and eternity. This makes Apple probably one of the most iconic trees and symbols throughout the ancient world. So far it’s immortality, sin, beauty, and knowledge. I am stoked about apple wood. Get it? Stoked?

BONUS: Apple Wines and Apple Pomes Have Healing Power

Apple wine is an old recipe for healing and ridding the body of illness. I mean don’t go out and get drunk on Apple wine and think you’re going to cure the common cold or cancer, but antioxidants in apples are known to help with many ailments and are solely responsible for the old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Baked apples have often been used to sooth sore throats and apple juice is a common treatment for other ailments related to the body.

In Retrospect, I Love Apples and Apple Wood

When cooking with Apple wood it is often times recommended to mix it with a mild hardwood. I prefer to blend my smoke between Apple and Hickory for a sweet smoky flavor. Apple when used by itself for too long or with a lot of smoke can be overpowering and provide a bitter taste. Use it with a water pan to get a fruity steam/smoke mix that allows your meat to stay moist will attracting a hint of sweet fruity flavor. I prefer to use Apple shavings or Apple wood chips rather than large logs so that I can control the amount of Apple smoke used for cooking and smoke flavoring. Apple works best with a lower temperature around 225 fahrenheit for longer cooking times. I recommend pairing with an apple cider vinegar baste while cooking chicken or pork. It gives you a little acidity to break down the meat and permeate with flavor. Top it off with a mixture of Sauce Beautiful and your vinegar baste and you’ve got a glaze that will delight the senses.

Day 12: Five Common Myths About Internal Temperatures.

What does anyone know about cooking to temp these days? That’s a tough question depending on the crowd. There are lots of myths and facts around cook temperatures that you should know.

Pork Doesn’t Have to Be 165 Degrees

Most if not all poultry should never be consumed prior to reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Most people are familiar with this as Poultry is often a carrier of Salmonella and when undercooked can lead to extreme illness or even death, but Pork is a different story. Pork on the other hand has a minimum safe temperature of 145 degrees. Pork that is reheated needs only 140 degrees.

Safe Temperatures aren’t always “Done” Temperatures

A big misconception is that the safe temperatures are when the meat is done. This is technically true when avoiding food-borne illnesses but is often lacking in tenderness if the temperature has just arrived. For instance, we cook our Boston Butts to an internal temperature of 190 degrees before allowing them to rest and continue retaining warmth in a cooler. At 190 the bone will slide right out and the pork is at maximum tenderness and moisture. This is just before it rests and we pull and serve.

Chicken Cooked Medium Rare?

No. Just no. This is dangerous and can kill you. Never ever for any circumstance think this is a good idea. Yes there are lots of dumbass people sharing images of “medium rare” chicken on Instagram but this is absolutely careless and dangerous. Never ever do this.

Pink Meat Is Always Undercooked

This is not always a simple yes or no, but for steaks, burgers, and even pork chops, this can be misleading, especially when you’re slow-cooking with smoke. Because smoked meats can turn pink with the permeated smoke in the meat, some people think the pink meat is raw when it is in fact cooked. Just don’t do this with chicken.

Last but Not Least, Rest Times Allow Meat to Cool

In most cases this is simply not true. Resting is a technique that actually allows the warming center of the meat to continue increasing temperature for a few minutes while the outside cools. This is done with steaks, pork loins, and more to reach a desired temperature thus creating an ideal first cut or bite that is cooked evenly and is very juicy.

Day 11: Why Are We Celebrating? Giveaway Announcement

I am nearing the end of this day as I write this, but I wanted to share with you guys why we are celebrating today. If you have read the blog the last few days, you know today is our late father’s birthday, but it is also the go live date of when we took JimQuessenberry.com live in 2016! I’m not going to try to follow Lee’s last blog post because it was really good. So, without further adieu…

We are celebrating by offering a new giveaway! Click Here for Details!

Day 9: National BBQ Month

Sample Plate of BBQ

Today starts one of my favorite months, the month of May. I love May because it is when the weather starts to warm up, and the BBQ grills start to come out. May is a month where the skies can be sunny and the temperature is neither too cold nor too hot. I say that, but I do live in Arkansas where the weather can change drastically on the day. I remember a few years back, in May, on the East side of the state, it was in the high 60s to low 70s, and in the West side of the state it was actually snowing. “Classic Arkansas”. But generally speaking, May is perfect for BBQing and has been consequently named National BBQ Month.

Classic Arkansas
Classic Arkansas

As for me the beginning of May brings back fond memories because 1.) It meant the school year was nearing it’s end, and summer was in grasp. 2.) My friend, Brad’s pool was about to open up. 3.) The Memphis in May BBQ Contest is about to happen. As kids, Lee and I used to ride around the streets of Cherry Valley, AR on our bicycles with the other kids from our neighborhood. We often times would end up at a friend’s house doing summer activities such as: swimming in a horse trough or creating a huge slip and slide using a water hose, a roll of foam rubber, and some baby oil or dish soap. But, the one day that I always looked forward to was Mother’s day, for the obvious reason… yes… I love my mother. Also, it just so happens to be the day that my friend Brad Benefield’s parent’s open their pool. That has remained a staple for summer time fun for me, even til this day. Brad and his wife Natausha often invite me, our friend Seth, and Seth’s wife Eli to come swim at his parent’s pool once it opens. What used to be just fun in the summer has become a tradition we refer to as Pool-B-Q. Brad’s mother Cindy grills up some burgers, hot links, hot dogs, and sometimes chicken. We typically slather ALL THE THINGS up in some Sauce Beautiful and completely disregard the don’t swim after you eat rule.

During the middle of the Month is when The Memphis in May BBQ Contest begins. This was my father’s favorite contest. He liked it for many reasons. One reason of course being it’s proximity to where we lived, only about 50 mins away, but dad was also fond of Memphis itself. Memphis is a cool town, with it’s strong roots in Blues, Rock, and BBQ. Dad loved music, food, and people, and what better venue than Memphis in May BBQ Festival to be around all of those things? I’m not certain if dad attended the first MIM contest, but I know that he did attend the second one in the late 70s, and all the competitors were under one tent in the Orpheum parking lot. A lot has changed since then. Dad competed there until the mid 90s, receiving a handful of trophies, but what proved to be more significant were the friends he had made in the competition BBQ scene. He made friends with many people who are big names in competition BBQ these days such as Ardie Davis, Carolyn Wells, the late Silky Sullivan, and the late Billy Bones to name a few. Like him, a lot of those friends were defining what we know today as American BBQ, and Competition BBQ.

Ardie Davis and I
Ardie Davis and I

 

What this May brings us besides fond memories, is opportunity. We plan to vend at a several events this year to grow our business, and I have a secret for you guys. We have another giveaway to announce in two days. Details to come… We chose May 3rd because it is dad’s birthday, and also the 2 year anniversary of taking www.jimquessenberry.com live. Keep the smokers rolling and beers flowing my friends.

Day 8: 5 Ways To Improve Your Indirect Heat Cooking Skills On A Small Grill.

So, you wanna improve your skills on cooking indirectly, but you don’t have a fancy offset smoker, no worries. There are a couple of tools and tricks you can use to get the desired results of indirect heat.

#1: Charcoal Basket and Drip Pan:

I often use this method on my Weber kettle grill. The basic idea here is to partition your fire to one side of the kettle using a charcoal basket. Then place a foil pan or sheet fashioned into a pan on the charcoal grate at the other side of the kettle. This will not only catch the drippings of the meat above, but it will also shield direct heat from hitting the meat by providing a buffer between it and the burning charcoal. This method is great for slow cooking ribs without a true smoker. Water can be added to the pan to make the cook chamber atmosphere more humid to aid in keeping the meat moist while cooking.

#2 Build a Brick Wall:

Let’s say you don’t have a charcoal basket for your kettle grill, or you have a different type of grill. No worries the same idea can be applied by setting the coals up at one side of the grill, and building a wall up to the cooking grate with bricks. The wall will provide the buffer between the meat and fire that is desired, and also once the bricks are warm, they will provide consistent heat as it slowly permeates through.

#3: Ring of Charcoal or The Snake Method:

This method is some what new to my bag of tricks, but i have found it to be very useful when I want to smoke a Boston Butt, but don’t want to break out the huge smoker or don’t wanna spend lots of money on tons of charcoal to smoke one butt on a larger smoker. If you have a small smoker you won’t need this method, but again if you have a Weber kettle grill or even a cheap burger and hotdog cooking tailgater, you can use this method and put some delicious slow smoke on a Boston butt or turkey or any thing that can fit in your small grill. So here is how you set it up. Take charcoal brickets and neatly stack them around the perimeter of the charcoal grate where it meets the side of the kettle. Leave space between the start and end of the ring so you don’t accidentally burn both ways at the same time. Start your fire on one end and it will slowly burn around the perimeter for many hours, at a nice low and slow pace. You can also sprinkle your favorite wood chips over the ring of charcoal to keep a steady regimen of smokey goodness cooking into the meat. I like to start my fire so that it burns clockwise, it helps indicate what hour of cooking I’m in. After you start your fire. place the cooking grate over it and place your meat in the center of the cooking surface. I like to place Boston Butts it in an aluminum pan, but leave the pan uncovered. It lets the Butt get the flavorful smoke, stay moist because it cooks in it’s own juices, and it acts as a buffer between the fire and the meat.

#4 The Stack Add-On:

There are a few different extensions you can add on to Weber kettles that move the cooking surface higher above the coals for a slower cook. In this type of situation the coals are still under the cooking surface, but not close enough to flame kiss a steak. If you are like me you like the idea of having the versatility of an add-on like that, but never think to buy one. I think it’s funner to create indirect heat using the methods mentioned above.

#5 Electric Smoker:

If you have access to electricity this is one of the easiest and consistent ways of smoking and using indirect heat. The heat is provided from a heating element much like an electric oven, and the smoke is typically created by feeding wood pellets or pucks via an auger or conveyor into the heating element creating smoke. These smokers are nice to have when cooking at home, but are generally not permitted in BBQ contests, as they make things way to easy and consistent. Taking the skill out of it.

I hope you enjoyed this article, as you can see the basic idea is to move the food away from direct heat to slow down your cooking process, and add that wonderful flavor we all love. Come back tomorrow for more BBQ tips, tricks, and stories!

-Michael Q