Skip to Content

Simple Truths

This post may contain links from which I earn a commission. Please read my disclosure policy. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Note: I began this post at the end of the Summer of 2012 and found it waiting here to be finished and published. So here it is, the simple truths of BBQ:

As the summer draws to a close, we’ve come to a good time to reflect on what we’ve discovered during our “Summer BBQ Tour.”

While we don’t pretend to be experts on the subject of BBQ, we have had an opportunity to eat a lot of different BBQ in a very short time frame. In doing this, certain truths began to reveal themselves.

These truths may be unique to our palates or they may be universal; that is not for us to decide. What we can do, however, is share what we’ve learned along the way.

Here are the simple truths about BBQ as we see them:

1) BBQ was meant to be cooked over wood coals. Gas-cooked BBQ may be good, but it will never be exceptional. If you want exceptional BBQ, there is simply something superior to pork cooked over wood coals. It adds a flavor, an essence that the convenience of gas simply cannot provide. As the sign at Moose’s Famous BBQ says: “If you don’t smell smoke, the BBQ’s a joke.”

2) Great BBQ is not available on Monday. That is, if you want exceptional BBQ, you have to wait until Thursday (ok…sometimes Wednesday). Places that cook BBQ seven days a week do not generally make exceptional BBQ (and very likely use gas instead of wood). If you want great BBQ, look for it Wed/Thursday – Sat/Sunday.

3) BBQ was meant to be pulled not chopped. Chopping BBQ tends to make it “mushy” or “mealy” in texture. Pulled pork retains its texture and simply makes for a better product.

4) BBQ is better if it is not pre-sauced before it is put on your plate.  BBQ that sits in a sauce for an extended period of time tends to break down and become mushy, especially if it was chopped also.

5) Whole hog is better than pieces of pork. Real BBQ comes from a whole hog (cooked over wood coals).  Butts are fine for small-scale cooking (in the home) but BBQ joints that use the whole hog have a distinct flavor advantage.

These are a few of the things we have learned in our travels. What are some of the simple truths you’ve learned about BBQ?

Randy Hingson

Wednesday 10th of May 2023

Yes, you’re spot on. True “Carolina Pit Cooked Pork BBQ” has to be over seasoned oak, with a little bit of hickory thrown in to smooth out the flavor. Cooked, not over 250 degrees. Flipping the pig is not as common as it was. But when you think about that smoke going directly into that meat. The smoke had no place to go before it caressed those shoulders, hams and all that was in between. Yep, pulled pork is the way to go. I think this is why backyard pig pickings are so popular in the Carolina’s. Fresh cooked, juiced, pulled and enjoyed by all. You Nailed it Mr. Roller Thanks, Randy

James Roller

Friday 12th of May 2023

Thanks, Randy. Great minds...


Wednesday 7th of December 2022

Your "truths" are spot on !

James Roller

Wednesday 7th of December 2022

Birds of a feather, I see. Thanks, TC.

Richard Bissett

Wednesday 5th of October 2022

Atmosphere doesn’t improve the taste but it lends to the overall dining experience.😬

Richard Bissett

Wednesday 5th of October 2022

“Liquid smoke” is NOT a good taste!

David Robinson

Wednesday 5th of October 2022

Yes, a basic requirement is wood coals. I have learned that, although there is debate, preferred temperature falls between 250* and 300*. Also have learned that beef cuts, such as the chuck clod, require the lowest and slowest cook of any. Unfortunately, it is not suitable for the "backyard" because it's huge. However, a boneless chuck-eye roast mimics the flavor of a clod cooked by the pros in Texas.