Traditional Barbecue Tools for the Outdoor Chef
by Sterling Vernon
BBQ is the area of culinary focus that is often peculiarly masculine, for whatever reason. It is that way in my house despite our generally egalitarian approach to nearly everything. My wife is perfectly capable of using the grill, but she prefers to allow that domain to be under my care alone. Meghan Casserly focused on this subject for Forbes in 2010. She found a few factors that appeared to be in play: outdoor cooking is usually done over an open fire lending it an air of danger, men (and boys) enjoy a social cooking environment just like being in the kitchen – but outdoors, and cleanup is usually minimal. I’ve noticed that these are certainly all true factors for me. But there is also a sense of occasion and an outcome that just can’t be created in the kitchen. The charred, smoky flavor of good barbecue cooked over real wood coals is very hard to do indoors. Tending those coals to keep the heat “low and slow” is a pleasantly mindless task that becomes a bit like meditation time for me.
In a world that demands near constant energy and attention, barbecue is one of the rare activities that rewards stunning patience that some might characterize as borderline dereliction of other duties. I do have friends who have taken barbecue to new heights. When someone tells you they have “the egg” (a Kamado grill – derived from a 3,000 year old Chinese clay cooking device that has an egg-shape and great heat- and moisture-retention capabilities), you know they are serious. Another sure sign of ambition is a pellet smoker that uses computer algorithms to predicatively feed in the perfect amount of tiny wood pieces to maintain optimally low-temperature, smoky cooking goodness. Whether you fall toward the “light some sticks on fire and put food on there” end of the spectrum or closer to “artificial intelligence is giving me the best rosy ring BBQ ever”, grilling with style is always a worthy goal.
The Jelly Queen: Jellies and Rubs all sourced from local, organic and sustainable farms in Texas.