By Rebecca Fending
Barbecue and summer go hand in hand no matter where you’re from. From simple cheeseburgers to perfecting your unique blend of spices for a dry rub, gathering around the grill is the quintessential American summer activity. Are you looking to master your barbecue parties? Here are some tools and tips to make your house the place to be this year.
Tools to Make You a Barbecue Boss
Everyone knows that the right tools make the job easier- it’s no different when it comes to the grill. Not only are these tools great for yourself, but they can be great gift ideas for Father’s Day, Dad’s birthday or even Christmas. These gadgets will make you fall in love with barbecuing once and for all.
- BBQ Clamp Organizer: It’s no surprise that barbecuing gets messy. From greasy or saucy fingers to the danger of having your clean tools clatter to the ground, this accessory helps cut down on the frustration of outdoor cooking. Make your barbecue easy with the BBQ Clamp Organizer. With a paper towel roll holder, shelf for spices and sauces and hangers for his barbecue utensils, this adjustable organizer makes grilling a breeze.
- 3-In-1 Chef’s Grill Basket and Skillet with Removable Handle: Grilling anything smaller than a slab of meat can be especially hard, whether it’s the danger of it falling through the grate to a fiery demise or the risk of it charring too quickly. From vegetables to fresh shrimp, this durable Grill Basket is the solution to keep from stressing. Not only is it great for the grill, but it can also be used as in a skillet or deep fryer, as well. The non-stick material ensures that you get an even, hassle-free cook every time.
- Stainless-Steel BBQ Tool Kit: Possibly the only negative to barbecue season is having to find all of your barbecue tools from years past. The tongs are in the drawer, the spatula might be in the garage, did we decide to keep the skewers in the cabinet? Put an end to the goose chase this year by investing in a Stainless-Steel BBQ Tool Kit. With a convenient carrying case that houses each tool in its own nook, you can put the desperate search and repurchasing of the same tools every year to an end!
What sauce should I be using?
If you’re anything like me, you might have known that there were different styles of barbecue sauces, but you had no idea which grilled or smoked meats went best with each sauce. Here’s a simplified rundown of what the different kinds of sauces are:
- Tomato-based: Common in many of the southern states. Often a thick pour with a sweet touch. May be available in a spicy hot version.
- Vinegar-based: Primarily found in eastern North Carolina. Traditionally used with whole hog barbecue. Thin and peppery.
- Mustard-based: Born and raised in South Carolina. Still tomato-based to a point, but with the unmistakable tang of mustard, and often a bit sweet.
- White: This mayo-based sauce has roots firmly planted in northern Alabama but is becoming more and more popular outside those borders. Best with smoked chicken.
- Lexington style: May be lesser known nationally, but de rigueur in and around the Lexington, North Carolina area. This one is actually ketchup-based. (No condiment left behind).
Within each of these different categorized sauces are subcategories and varieties centered around other Southern cities and tastes (e.g. smokey, bourbon, Memphis-style etc.). However, no matter how you customize your sauce, the base it what matters.
Vinegar-based sauces go best with pork because of the thinner texture. This way the pork doesn’t become completely saturated with heavy sauce, as it would with vinegar’s thicker cousin, tomato. Tomato is best with beef because of the typically tougher, more sturdy fibers of the meat.
An easy way to think about the right pairings is by putting light with light: a lighter base, whether in viscosity or color (vinegar, mustard or mayo) is best when used with a lighter meat such as pork or chicken. A darker base, such as a tomato or ketchup base is perfect with beef.
Ready, Set, Start Your… Grills!
Now that you’ve got a basic understanding of what sauces to use with which meats, set up your new barbecue gadgets and get to grilling. Even though it’s Florida and it may seem like it’s eternally summer, there’s no time to waste when it comes to a good barbecue.