If you’re a child of the 1960s 70s or 80s, you probably grew up watching your father or mother proudly cooking on a home made barbecue. A steel plate wedged between a series of bricks and Besser blocks was all that was needed, along with a fire of nuclear proportions, so hot that the hairs on your legs would singe off, just from trying to turn a snag.
If you were lucky, your family might have graduated from the brick pit to the infamous three or four burner LPG flat top barbecue. That was truly living! Most early gassers had two speeds, on and off and barbecue was all about scorched chops, carbonised beef sausages and steaks that were consistently cooked to a point somewhere between well done and inedible. I still clearly remember my grandmother buying scotch fillet steaks from the butcher and then proudly sending my grandfather back to cook them some more because they were still showing some pink and were underdone.
Things have certainly changed since those days and low and slow barbecue is taking off at a rapid rate across Australia. Low and slow barbecue is the exact opposite of my dad’s cooks in the 70s and involves cooking your chosen cut of meat for an extended period of time (8-12 hours) at smokey, delicious low temperatures (225-270F, 107-130C).
Believe it or not, the low and slow process actually involves cooking a piece of meat past the point of well done, even past the point my grandmother found palatable, until the collagens and connective tissue inside the meat begin to break down. This creates a tasty and succulent piece of meat guaranteed to impress your mates, family wife and even grandmother!
Low and slow cooking has been around for hundreds and hundreds of years, but the barbecue style we refer to originated in the south of the USA back in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Very often, farm workers would given the worst cuts of meat from a beast, after the landowners had taken what they considered to be the prime cuts. In order to make these tough, working muscles, more tender and tasty, people started slow cooking them. As time progressed, barbecue became an increasingly entrenched tradition. The rest is history as barbecue has now become a quintessential, mainstream food across much of the US.
I like to think that barbecue in Australia follows these original footsteps and with many of the popular barbecue cuts, such as brisket, pork shoulder and butt as well as the very Australian lamb shoulder usually available for less than $10 per kilo. Whilst none of these would typically be considered choice cuts, with the addition of a blend of herbs and spices in the form of a dry rub, they can be turned into something very special. Once you’ve eaten good barbecue for the first time you won’t forget it in a hurry.
Over the coming weeks and months, we will be releasing a range of recipes and articles dedicated to low and slow barbecuing. Our aim is not to give away our competition recipes and secrets (do we have any?), or to make sure that you’re competition ready, but we do want to compile a range of articles and recipes for low and slow barbecue with the aim of helping out those people starting out. We are very happy to tailor content to suit, so feel free to contact us via the Contact page or find us on Facebook @doctorcuebbq and let us know what you’d like to see or hear.
Complete BBQ tragic and committed collector of BBQs, particularly Webers. Even known to talk BBQ recipes in his sleep, AJ’s years of cooking triumphs and failures have left him completely convinced that BBQ is overthought.