I am a proud barbecue enthusiast! I am addicted to grilled dishes and barbecue food. Growing up in Dallas in Texas, I was introduced to barbecue early on in my childhood when we used to have family picnics in our own backyard. I remember my dad throwing a dozen hot dogs and hamburgers on the nonstick grill mat, happily singing ‘One piece at a time’ or ‘Rhinestone cowboy’ at the top of his tuneless voice while we children gathered around him with our paper plates, waiting for the first hot dog to get off the grill. Oh I really missed those times!
For many people, barbecue is synonymous with a large slab of meat tossed directly over a flame. Well, that is not barbecue over a long shot. That is grilling. Real barbecue is the stuff you get in the South like in Texas or may be even in other places like Oklahoma or St. Louis.
Real, authentic barbecue is when you cook meat slowly, patiently near a low, smoky fire. Meat is not placed directly over, but in close proximity to the smoke box. Remember the strikingly beautiful marks on meat that look like railway tracks? They are made like that because you put the piece of meat at one end, while the grill is placed away on the other end. In an arrangement like that, meat takes a lot more time to cook I agree (ribs usually take 6 hours while an entire brisket will take as long as 18 hours!), but the end result will be worth it I promise. Meat, when leisurely and unhurriedly barbecued in this manner, it literally falls off the bone and melts in your mouth! It is unbelievably, devastatingly much more sumptuous and delicious!
For me, barbecue stands for quality time spent with friends and family. My experience of barbecue coincides with fun, laughter and lively conversations. Even now, all grown up and moved out of Dallas, I miss those family gatherings and homemade barbecues dearly in New York. When I go back to Texas, especially in summer, I try to enact the old barbecue experience in a new way. With the help of my siblings and cousins, I set up a nice, low fire in the middle of my father’s ranch. In the afternoon sun, we choose a shady spot under the trees, set up our picnic tables and benches and listen to some good old music on an old-fashioned tape recorder. I put on a non stick grill mat on one side for grilling hot dogs and hamburgers and corns (we have children with us – my own and those of my siblings).