How big is BBQ and what changes are taking place?
There are many BBQ Associations throughout this country and indeed, the world. At the 2014 Kansas City Barbeque Society’s (KCBS) American Royal competition, there were association teams entered from countries like Australia, Germany, Austria, Belgium and Canada.
Though the KCBS is one of the largest organizations, there are many in the United States. The National Barbecue Association, the Mid Atlantic Barbecue Association and the World Barbecue Association are just a few of the others.
These organizations sponsor events nearly every week across the country. The competition is stiff and the cooks are getting brave with their recipes in that they are infusing more heat in the meat! While for many years the sweet savory flavor of BBQ was the preferred presentation of chicken, ribs, pork and brisket, methods used now are including sweat heat for the judges to try. And it is becoming accepted and in some regions, preferred.
But, when you talk about BBQ cooks adding heat to their recipes, it is important to distinguish what kind of heat. Specific hot sauces are used in some BBQ sauces and injections. Chile pepper seasonings are being used in secret rubs and pepper spreads (or pepper jellies) are widely used as a glaze in competition.
The cooks in the BBQ world do not subscribe to adding heat to their recipes just for heat’s sake. There has to be a delicate balance of sweet, heat and savory flavor to “trip the trigger” of BBQ judges in every region of this country. If a cook adds too much heat, judges cannot distinguish between flavor, heat and savory. If the heat is added, with little attention to flavor, the competition team is quickly penalized for their half-hearted effort.
Amateur cooks will most certainly need to seek advice from experts which can include BBQ cooks, BBQ judges, TV BBQ shows, various association members and the personnel at local BBQ specialty stores.
The advice may be comprised of methods to use, products to use and what to use with the different kinds of meats used in competition.
Products can be purchased in some big box stores and chain stores, specialty stores offer an alternative that should be pursued. The personnel at these specialty stores can give great advice on the most popular rubs, sauces and injections being used in the BBQ world. They will know what is selling and what is not. They will also have practical experience as they use many of the products they sell. These stores and their personnel should be used as a resource for the barbeque novice and the experts.
To be sure, the heat is on in the BBQ world. Do some research, buy what works, and you too will be able to produce some BBQ that even the most stringent judge will be happy to give you the perfect score.