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Barbecue

True mastery of barbecue comes from knowing what's happening, why it’s happening, what factors go into achieving specific results, and how we can affect and control those things...and that’s where this section of the site comes in.

Below we look at things from what the BBQ stall is and how we can charge through it, to what the smoke ring is and how to get one. We look at why and how we inject meat, to the reasons for spritzing and mopping foods on the barbecue.

You should head on over here for smoker reviews and buying guides, but for everything else ‘low n slow,’ please browse below.

Overhead shot of pulled pork being shredded with forks.
Pulled Pork

How Much Pulled Pork Per Person — A Simple to Use Calculator and Serving Sizes Guide

I’m not saying that cooking meat outdoors is stressful. But there’s more than enough occupying your mind between prepping the meat, getting your cooker to temperature, and monitoring the whole show. You don’t also want to worry if you cooked enough meat! Keep reading as I share with you the secrets to having enough pulled pork for everyone.

Close up of a pork butt, showing the money muscle, sitting on a wooden chopping board.
Pulled Pork

What is Money Muscle? The Secret, Finest Part of the Pork Butt

The ‘money muscle’ is a hidden gem in the butt of pork that competition cooks have known about for years. It is tender, delicious, and arguably the very best bit. Learn where it is, how to get at it, and how to carve it out in this guide.

A well rubbed pork shoulder with a dark crust sitting in a smoker.
Pulled Pork

Pork Butt vs Pork Shoulder — What’s the Differences Between Them?

Pork butt and pork shoulder come from very nearby places on the pig and can be used somewhat interchangeably. But they are different cuts. In this guide, we compare these two cuts, discussing where they come from, differences between them, and how to use each to get the best from them.

A lamb leg spinning over a wtaer pan, being brushed with a herb brush.
BBQ Theory

The Essential Guide to Using Water Pans — Why, When and How

What benefits to a smoking session does a water pan bring? Some smokers are specifically designed to use them, so they must add something good…right? Yes and no. They have their time and place. Learn below why we use them, and when you should and shouldn’t.

Three racks of ribs in a rack, being smoked in a charcoal smoker.
Ribs

Best Woods for Smoking Ribs, What I Use, and What Others Use

There are about two dozen main varieties of hardwoods people use to smoke ribs. We’ve gone ahead and short-listed eight you absolutely need to try, broken them down into two categories of heavy and lighter smoke, then show what many experts choose to use.

2 chunks of smoking wood on a bed of charcoal.
Brisket

Best Woods for Smoking Brisket, What I Use, and What Others Use

Burning different woods creates different aromas and flavors, meaning you should consider the smoke you use as another food ingredient like any other. Not all wood smokes are suited to every meat, so choose and pair them carefully. With that in mind, here are the best flavor woods to pair with brisket.

Whole smoked turkey with potatoes and grapes on a serving plate.
BBQ Guides

Best Wood for Smoking Turkey — Choose Mild, Strong or Colorful

Part of the challenge of smoking a great turkey is choosing the best wood to use. You don’t want the perfect moistness and texture ruined by an acrid and bitter smoke taste! So here’s how to enjoy a smoked turkey triumph by picking the best wood for the job.

Two large pork butts smoking on a kamado grill.
Pulled Pork

Best Wood for Smoking Pulled Pork, What I and What Others Use

Avoiding all the obvious cracks about a smoking butt (except that one), we’re here to help you choose the best wood for smoking pulled pork. We’ve whittled it down to four top contenders, a few others worth considering, before ending with a discussion of what the experts use.

Some slowly smoldering hickory wood chunks sat on charcoal.
BBQ Guides

Best Woods for Smoking Meat and Seafood

When it comes to smoking meat, your choice of wood is as crucial as the meat itself. In this guide, we'll explore the top woods that can transform your BBQ from ordinary to extraordinary, each adding its own unique flavor and aroma to your favorite cuts. We look at each wood in turn to see what others, as well tell you which is the best for pork, beef, poultry, and more.

A photo grid of 16 different types of smoking chunks.
BBQ Guides

Smoking Wood Identification — Detailed Visual Guide With Photos

This comprehensive guide will take you on a visual journey, helping you to identify various smoking woods by their unique grain patterns, bark textures, and other defining features. From the deep, warm tones of hickory to the smooth, subtle texture of maple, you'll learn to recognize the different woods you smoke with and never get them mixed up again.

A stack of pine wood logs, with a
BBQ Guides

Woods Not to Use for Smoking — Avoid These at All Costs!

Do you think all wood is suitable for grilling? Then it's time to reconsider. Many wood types can ruin your smoked meats and even potentially make you ill. So today, we look at the different woods you must never use for smoking and why. From the hazardous fumes of treated lumber to the overpowering aromas of certain hardwoods, learn which woods to avoid.

BBQ Guides

Smoking Wood Chart, with Flavor Profiles and Food Pairing Advice

Successful barbecue lies not only in the meat, sauce, or rub, but also in the type of wood smoke used. Our chart for smoking wood is the result of years of experience and testing. It's become the roadmap that guides me to the correct flavors to use for all my smoking endeavors.

A BBQ smoked brisket half wrapped in foil, steaming after being opened.
Brisket

When to Wrap Brisket, How and What With — If At All!

Should you wrap brisket when smoking? And if you’re going to wrap your brisket mid-cook, at which point should you do so? And what do you base this on? Time? Temperature? How it looks? Find out in our comprehensive guide to wrapping brisket.

Smoking times and temperatures graphic as a featured image.
BBQ Theory

Smoking Times and Temperatures Chart — With BBQ Cooking Tips

A meat smoking times and temperatures chart for all the popular cuts of beef, pork, lamb, poultry and seafood. We show the range of temperatures to set your smoker and the target internal temp of all the different cuts of meat. Bookmark this page to use as a reference again and again!

Thin blue smoke coming out of the top vent of a Weber Smokey Mountain cooker, in front of a wooden fence.
BBQ Guides

How to Get Thin Blue Smoke — Plus What it is, and Why You Want it

Not all smoke is created equal when it comes to smoking meat. And there’s plenty more to it than just setting the wood on fire, then hoping for the best. If you want to experience the best in home smoking, you’ll need to master this critical skill — making thin blue smoke.

A silver smoker box on the grates of a portable gas grill.
BBQ Guides

How to Use a Smoker Box — Add Smoky Flavor on a Standard Grill

Did you choose a gas grill for convenience? No room for more than one piece of equipment in your outdoor space? Smoking food may seem like an unachievable dream to you. Not anymore! Discover how to use a smoker box to take your backyard grilling game to the next level.

spare ribs vs St Louis ribs, one photo each, side by side.
Ribs

Spare Ribs Vs. St. Louis Ribs — Differences and How to Smoke Them

The difference between spare and St Louis ribs is minimal. They're close to the same thing and are mostly treated the same during cooking. Learn all about these two cuts and the subtle differences between them here, where we answer all your burning questions on these two pork rib types.

A smoked brisket flat next to some burnt ends in two photos side by side.
Brisket

Brisket Point Vs Flat — What’s the Difference? Which is Best?

The brisket is two muscles joined, commonly called the point and the flat, that when bought together are described as a whole packer brisket. What is the difference between these two halves? Why choose one over the other? Which do most think is best? Let's find out.

A selection of large joints of meat and sausages.
BBQ Theory

The Best Meats to Smoke — From Beef to Pork, Lamb, Chicken and More

If you’re looking for a list of the best meats to smoke, you’re in the right place. Below is a long list of delicious cuts of beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and game that, when smoked, become incredibly delicious. Best of all? They’re typically cheaper cuts that shine when treated to low n slow.

All three sizes of Kamado Joe smokers side by side in front of a wooden paneled fence.
BBQ Guides

How to Use a Kamado Grill: My Advice after 7 Years of Using Them

Kamado grills are the Swiss army knife of outdoor cookers that can do it all. You can smoke, grill, roast, bake and sear your way to fantastic food — if you know how to use one properly. And that’s where this detailed step-by-step guide with illustrations comes in.

Wood chips being added into an electric smoker via side opening.
BBQ Theory

How Often to Add Wood Chips to an Electric Smoker?

Most electric smokers have a small wood chip capacity, so you need to top them up regularly. But how often? Should you even smoke through the whole cook? Can you have too much smoke? OR should you smoke the entire cook? We answer all these questions and more below.

me sitting with my arm resting on my new Masterbuilt electric smoker.
BBQ Guides

How to Season an Electric Smoker — In Just a Few Simple Steps

Before using your electric smoker for the first time, you should burn off the residues leftover from manufacturing, as well as coat the insides with a thin film oil that after heating helps to protect it and ensure a longer life. Here’s how in our new smoker seasoning guide.

BBQ mop sauce being smeared all over a porchetta on a grill.
BBQ Theory

BBQ Mop Sauce — What is it? What Does it Do? Plus 4 Favorite Recipes

You often see pitmasters mopping their meats partway through cooking. But why? What are the benefits? Is it recommended for all cooks, or only for certain meats, or during the use of specific BBQ methods? Let’s find out, and look at some of our favorite mop sauce recipes.

Close up of nice, moist beef ribs with a smoke ring and peppery rub crust.
Recipes

Smoked Beef Ribs Recipe — BIG, Rich, Moist and Tender Short Ribs

Beef ribs are one of my all-time favorite meats to BBQ! Similar taste to brisket, easier to cook and ready in half the time, while also being cheaper to buy. What’s not to like? So here’s how I turn these ‘brisket on a stick’ behemoths into a wonderful beefy treat.

A smoked and sliced wagyu brisket on a cutting board.
Brisket

What is Wagyu Beef? What Makes it so Special and so Loved?

Wagyu beef is widely regarded as the best in the world, and it’s certainly up there with the most expensive! Epic marbling and flavor, it’s a luxury and a treat. Combine that with the king of low n slow smoked meats to get Wagyu brisket? Now we’re talking epic!

Close up of some smoked beef short ribs on a wooden chopping board.
Ribs

Types of Beef Ribs — Their Differences and What to Tell Your Butcher

Beef ribs have a real caveman element about them, are unctuous, flavor-packed, and are always real crowd-pleasers. But did you know there are different types, that are very different in size and how you would cook and present them? Learn all about these BBQ’ers favorites in this guide.

Close up of a pork butt, fat side up, on a wooden chopping board with a kitchen knife in.
Pulled Pork

Pork Butt Fat Side up or Down? We Settle this Once and for All!

There’s a lot of disagreement on cooking pork butts fat side up or down. We put the debate to rest by discussing the pros and cons of each way, as well as flipping part way through, and whether your type of smoker affects things. Have a read and make your own mind up.

Close up of brisket with a deep BBQ bark, some of it sliced.
BBQ Theory

What is BBQ Bark? Why Do You Want it? How Can You Get it?

BBQ bark is a wonderfully tasty, desirable, chewy crust that forms on meat after hours of low n slow smoking. So it’s something we really want to aim for, and we can plan and do things to help make it happen. Learn how to get the best bark in the following guide.

Close up of brisket burnt ends.
Brisket

How to Make Burnt Ends — Melt in Your Mouth, Cubed Brisket Candy

Burnt ends are the point end of the brisket, cubed, sprinkled with sugar, then coated in sauce and returned to the smoker until they become melt-in-your-mouth, beefy candy bites. There are many methods and recipes you can follow to produce your own. Here’s our take on them, which we’re sure you’ll love.

Brisket on a smoker.
BBQ Theory

The Stall — What is it? Why Does it Happen? How to Beat it

Learn all about the stall in BBQ, the science behind it, why you shouldn’t hate it, and how to get around it if you so desire. In a short reads time, you will know EXACTLY what’s happening and be guided through wrapping at the right time to cut down on cooking time dramatically.

Close up of the membrane of pork ribs being removed by being pulled off gripped with paper towel.
Ribs

How to Remove the Membrane from Ribs — And Why You Should do it!

Rib membrane is tough and chewy, even after a long smoke when the meat is tender, and it spoils the presentation of the final cooked product. Some people like it, most don’t, so let’s get rid of it. Here’s how to remove rib membrane before cooking, in a few simple steps.