Friday 19 June 2020
#eat / drink #restaurants #best x y
The best X smoked BBQ. Where to eat American smoked meat (in Rome and in Italy).
Every American who wants to define himself as such will not be able to avoid lighting a fire and putting himself in front of a grill: for national holidays, for sporting events, for birthdays and anniversaries, on Sundays ... in short, every occasion is good.
For us Europeans, BBQ is about lighting the embers, letting them get to a fair temperature and cooking the meat as quickly as possible, without too many condiments.
The American BBQ instead is based on very different concepts:
- cooking is slow and at low temperature (low & slow)
- there must be smoke
- the meat is often marinated with abundant spices
- the sauces cannot be missing
In the States, steak or simply grilled hamburgers do not fall into the "barbecue" category. To be more realistic, we should use the term "smoker", which involves operation with wood (or pellets, chips, chunks, as long as it is wood) and is sealable, to make the smoke stop.
It seems that the cooking method derives from Caribbean cuisine; some Indian tribes used trellises suspended on still fresh embers, in order to keep food away from the insects present in the ground, while the smoke pushed away the flying insects and contributed to the conservation of the food.
Perhaps it was the Spanish conquistadors who spread the technique, calling it "barbacoa", variation of the term "babracot" used by the indigenous Taino population of Haiti. Others believe that the term derives from the French "de la barbe à la queue"
to indicate the cooking of an entire animal, from beard to tail. Still others believe it derives from the initials B.Q. placed above a bar at the entrance of a Texan ranch (bar B.Q.).
There are several "styles" of BBQ cooking, which vary by moving along the so-called "barbecue belt": Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Texas.
They can change:
- the types of meat;
- the types of wood (oak, beech, maple, walnut, cherry, apple tree ...);
- the type of marinade;
- the mixture of spices and flavors, called "rub", with which the meat is covered before or after marinating; they are always based on salt and sugar (which caramel forming a crust, the "bark") but there is no limit to the addition of pepper, paprika, garlic, onion, chilli pepper, cumin, ...;
- sauces in which, often exaggerating, meat is drowned after cooking; a bit like us with tiramisù, every American thinks he has created the recipe for the "perfect bbq sauce", which he jealously guards;
- the cooking time, which varies from a few hours to a full day
- the contribution of the smoked component, which in some cuts of meat determines, in addition to the taste, also the thickness of the "smoke ring"; a pink ring, just below the surface, which allows you to maintain tenderness and juiciness.
The ethnic influences of the various states have given rise to a varied amount of preparations:
- beef ribs
- pork ribs
- pulled pork
- pork belly
- chicken wings
and then pastrami, sausages, turkey, mutton, lamb, salmon ... in short, almost everything lends itself to being smoked.
There are plenty of side dishes:
- baked beans (stewed and sometimes smoked)
- potato salad
In addition, we also made a very short list of American bbq from the rest of Italy; for now we have found very few. Sicily shines with three appearances, one of which (Meat Different in Sciacca) recently opened.