Summer is in full swing, and for many of us that means it's time to get outside and cook some meat. There's nothing more American than standing outside by the fire, breathing in the aroma and anticipating a delicious meal.
We're fans of grilled meat, but we're even bigger fans of real BBQ. And yes, there is a difference, as any pitmaster will tell you. Grilling is done fast, with the meat directly over a high heat source. Bar-b-cuing is done slowly, with the fire away from the meat, and the meat spending quality time in a relatively low-heat, smoky atmosphere, slowly cooking and absorbing the flavor from the smoke.
|Meat like this comes from a BBQ smoker, not a grill
(To us, grilling is like a good song, but real smoked BBQ is like a symphony. The great smokehouses of Texas become legendary, with people driving hundreds of miles and waiting in long lines to sample their delicacies.)
So you want to BBQ at home. The first step is to determine what you want to cook. We think the place to start is with beef brisket, and we're fond of the selection at HEB.
You also need the right equipment. You need a real smoker, not just a regular grill. A quick perusal of the local big-box retailers (Lowe's, Home Depot, and Walmart) turned up plenty of outdoor grills but not a single BBQ smoker. So we did what any smart food geek would do - we asked around, and everyone suggested that we search online.
We ran across a great source for BBQ equipment (and regular grills, too.) Called csgrills.com, they're a one-stop shop for grills, BBQ smokers, and accessories. Their prices are very competitive. And for novices, they've got some handy guides including this one telling how to choose the right smoker.
Browsing the website, I felt like a kid in a candy store. They have a vast selection of grills and smokers at a wide variety of price points. They offer free shipping, too.
And if you're looking for a great gift for your favorite Houston food blogger, these guys can help.