The Beginner's Guide to BBQ

The Basics

Congratulations! If you are exploring the tasty world of BBQing and want to know where to start, you've come to the right place.

You're about to embark upon an adventure that is not only fun, but maybe even a little addicting. One thing's for sure, though: It's delicious! One of the most common misconceptions for beginners is that grilling is the same as BBQing, but that's not the case. Grilling uses high and direct heat for quick cooks (think burgers, hot dogs, and steak). BBQing, on the other hand, requires indirect, consistent, low heat and longer cook times. Many who barbecue also use different types of smoke wood for an additional layer of flavor on top of the charcoal smoke. Meat used for BBQing also tends to have a higher fat content, which provides tenderization and flavor over a long cook.

To help you get started into the hobby of BBQ, we've put together 7 easy essentials to help you on your journey.

"Low & Slow"

The key to delicious BBQ is the precise mix of time and temperature. Whereas grilling uses high and direct heat for quick cooks, traditional BBQing requires indirect, consistent low heat and longer cook times. It's commonly referred to as a "slow 'n' low."

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BBQ Cooker

Having a well-made cooker, grill, or smoker that uses charcoal or wood as its heat source is essential. Some popular styles are barrel and drum, offset, kamado, and bullet-style smokers. Be careful with the cheaper models of these as they aren't often air-tight, and unwanted oxygen airflow can cause undesirable temperature spikes.

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BBQ Guru's award-winning temperature control devices automatically and constantly control your cooker’s fire. In other words, they do the work for you. We carry an entire line of high-tech cooker accessories, including the DigiQ DX3, DynaQ and UltraQ. All of our temperature controls can be used on nearly every charcoal or wood-burning cooker.

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Don't be intimidated by cooking on charcoal! Believe it or not, the key ingredient to BBQing is confidence. When it comes to lighting a fire, we recommend using paraffin wax cubes, a chimney or a charcoal starter torch. To keep things as natural as possible, don't use lighter fluid.

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There are many dishes you can make with BBQ, but there are four that are the most popular and seen at many competitions: BBQ chicken, pulled pork, ribs, and brisket. It's important to keep even temperature throughout the cook, know what internal meat temperatures work best for the type of meat you’ve chosen, and make sure your meat retains moisture during the entire cook.

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Adding Flavor
to your Cook

After you've burnished your BBQ basics, try adding smoke woods like apple, hickory or cherry wood to your charcoal. Sauces and rubs are also a great way to achieve a variety of flavor profiles. Rubs are dry and usually applied to the meat before cooking. Sauces are wet and are typically applied toward the end of the cook for a sweet or savory caramelized crust.

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There are some BBQ accessories that simply make cooking "low and slow", easier, safer, cleaner, and a lot more fun. Knives, gloves, tongs, injectors are just a few of the many other items that are indispensable for the BBQ aficionado.

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