Want to become a master of grilling? Just like any other skill, you need to read good cookbooks to get the right knowledge, along with the right tools and secrets from the world’s best. In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to become a grill master.
From finding the perfect grill, to understanding the intricate nature of grilling different meats, you’ll have all you need to get started. AS a bonus, you’ll also learn the secrets of some of the world’s most famous grillmasters so you can take a leaf or two out of their playbooks on your road to becoming a grill master.
- Health Benefits of Grilling
- BBQ Basics: Different Grilling Methods
- How To Choose The Right Grill For You
- BBQ Tools 101: Everything You Need
- Alternative Uses For Your Grill
- The Complete Guide to Meat Basics
- Which cut is right for you?
- The Best Meat Cuts for Grilling
- Meat Prep for Grilling
- Which Spices Go With What Meat?
- How to Store Meat?
- How to Cook Meat Perfectly Every Single Time
- How to Rest Meat and Why it’s Important
- World-Famous BBQ Joints And Their Signature Techniques
Health Benefits of Grilling
It’s no surprise that grilling is a multi-billion dollar industry in the US. As well as being the perfect summertime activity, it comes with some great benefits you may not have considered.
1. You Eat Less Fat
When you fry up a burger in a pan on your stove-top, the fat pools and becomes reabsorbed by the meat. When grilling, the excess fat drips off through the grates meaning you consume less fat. This means grilling is a much healthier cooking method for the whole family.
2. You Use Less Butter and Oil
Nothing tastes better than a beautifully grilled steak or some juicy grilled veggies. This cooking technique requires far less oil, butter and other condiments, meaning your food is healthier and contains fewer calories.
3. Meat Retains More Nutrients
When you cook a cut of meat on the grill, it retains more nutrients than cooking traditionally on a stove-top. This includes riboflavin and thiamine, both of which are important nutrients in a healthy diet. Not to mention you reduce the use of non-stick frying pans which contain a host of chemicals.
4. You Save Energy
Cooking a large family meal traditionally on your stove-stop has been shown to raise room temperature by up to 4 degrees, meaning you crank up the air conditioning more during the summer. Grilling outside improves air quality in your home and lowers energy bills.
5. You Cook Faster
Grilling your food over a open fire is a much more efficient mode of cooking. The temperature is higher than your stove top and the grill surface absorbs high temperatures much more rapidly than ovens. So you can save yourself time by opting for grilling your next family meal on the grill.
BBQ Basics: Different Grilling Methods
Now you’re sold on the benefits of grilling and are raring to get going, let’s take a look at the different methods you can use to stoke up your grill.
You’ll want to use charcoal if you’re looking to get that unique seared charcoal flavour many refer to as ‘char-boiled’.
Either charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal are used as fuel on a charcoal grill. The fuel can be lit directly, however the safer, easier method is to use a charcoal chimney.
To get your charcoal grill going, stack coals in a pyramid in the middle of the grill. This maximises air-flow to give a more efficient burn with less smoke. It’s important to note that charcoal burns hotter than wood or gas, making it harder to control the heat when grilling.
Different Types of Charcoal
Lump charcoal is made by burning trees or logs in a kiln. It’s pure wood without any binders or accelerants which makes it a popular choice. It gives a hot, clean burn and doesn’t give off acrid smoke like briquettes do. The downside is lump charcoal doesn’t burn evenly, meaning it’s hotter when you begin and gets cooler. You need to refuel more often to keep the heat consistent.
Unlike lump charcoal, briquettes are designed to burn evenly and steadily to avoid the need to continually refuel. Briquettes are traditionally made from wood scraps, sawdust, coal dust, borax, and petroleum binders. Because of this, they emit an acrid smoke when first lit.
This is Japan’s super-premium lump charcoal. It’s used in yakitori parlors across Japan as well as in the United States. It burns clean and hot, producing no charcoal flavor.
Although charcoal grilling gives that signature smoky flavour, nothing beats the convenience of gas grilling. It’s as simple as turning it on, letting it pre-heat for 10 minutes, and starting to cook.
The trick with gas grills is keeping the lid closed. If you continuously open the lid to check on the meat, you’ll lose heat and the food will take longer to cook. Limit the amount you open the lid to get the best sear on your meat when gas grilling. Grilling outside while your family is having a relax time around your propane fit.
When it comes to grilling with a charcoal grill or an offset smoker, nothing quite beats the incredible flavors produced by smoking wood. Any food lover will tell you that true wood smoke adds an unparalleled flavor to your food.
Pay attention to the quality of the wood you source for smoking. Whether you use oak, hickory, applywoord or any other type to smoke meats, it’s important it’s properly aged to produce the best quality smoke possible.
Of all the grilling fuels, nothing quite beats the flavours you can get from wood. With many different types of wood available, we’ll cover some of the most popular to choose from below.
Oak is one the most popular choices for smoke grilling. If you’re new to using wood as fuel, this is a good place to start. It gives a milder flavour that doesn’t overpower.
Best meats to smoke: lamb, beef, brisket, sausages
Hickory is a versatile choice which works with many cuts of meats. However, too much can give meats a slightly more bitter flavour.
Best meats to smoke: ribs, pork shoulders, red meat and poultry
Maple gives a wonderfully subtle smokey flavor. This is a good one to use for a sweeter, lighter flavour.
Best meats to smoke: poultry, pork, game foul
Applewood is sweet, giving a mild flavor. Apple smoke takes time to flavour meats so requires several hours of smoking to make the most of it.
Best Meat to Smoke: chicken, wild foul, pork
Cherry is sweet and fruity. It gives a mild flavour so is usually best mixed with other hardwoods such as hickory.
Best Meat to Smoke: chicken, turkey, ham
How To Choose The Right Grill For You
There are several important factors to consider when choosing a grill and below we’ll explore those factors.
BBQ grills come in all shapes and sizes and you can easily spend a few hundred or even enter the thousands realm. But splashing out on the most expensive doesn’t always equate to better quality food. You can make quality dishes on affordable grills.
If you’re just starting out, our best recommendation for an affordable grill is this one here.
Size of Grill
Bigger is better, right? Not necessarily. Size depends on the quantity of food you are cooking and won’t affect the quality of it.
If you cook for a large crowd on a semi-regular basis you want to look at a grill with around 800 sq inches of cooking space. For for a group of friends a grill in the region of 490 sq inches will do fine and if you are only catering for smaller families or are stuck for space, smaller grills in the 350 or less sq inch cooking area will suffice.
Here are GrillBabyGrill we offer different sizes of grills and smokers.
Types of Grill
Gas barbecue grill
Fast, functional and perfect if you already have a natural gas line at your property – you’ll have consistent grills with no need to stress about running out of fuel. If you’re looking for convenience and a fast way to grill, this is a good option for you.
Read More: The Best Outdoor Gas Griddles for Aspiring Grill Masters.
Because propane grills are great for grilling on the go, the portable models are popular with tailgates and camping. In contrast, the built-in gas grills are great for areas short on space like the porch or the yard.
These grills will start fast but the tanks will need refilling. They often have handy legs attached as well. Some newer models can also be converted using a kit to run on natural gas which is a bonus.
Many people still prefer to cook on hot coals like in Kamado Egg Grills as they believe the food tastes better and gives it a more authentic feel. The added bonus with charcoal grills is that they are generally cheaper than gas ones.
What they gain in authentic feel, they lack in speed. Charcoal grills require more preparation time and take longer to heat up. They are not a good option for a quick weeknight dinner.
You can use chimneys and fuel accelerators to speed them up, however. It is advisable to get one with a removable grate in order to insert fuel without disturbing food. This also makes cleaning easier. See our complete charcoal grill reviews.
These are great if you live in an apartment, particularly one that prohibits open flames. The price is often reasonable, coming in somewhere between a charcoal and gas grill. The drawbacks are they are generally smaller than other grills and require a power source, (i.e electricity).
It is important to note that some grillers value versatility with their grill that is why some manufacturers offer combo grills. Some well-known brands in this field are weber, Oklahoma Joe, and Dyna Glo grills which provide great deals with many features.
Pellet Grills and Smokers
This is a popular type of set-it-and-forget device. The intelligent design allows for baking, braising, grilling, warming everything from meat and vegetables to potatoes and fruits, and even preparing your dessert after the main meal. This remarkable versatility enables you to cook a complete three-course dinner on the one grill, which is ideal for relaxing around the cooker while chatting with your guests.
Material & Durability
The outside of the grill will generally be a case of personal preference. Many prefer to go for a stainless steel look, but they are not all created equally and you get what you pay for, with the more expensive grills being often more rust and tarnish resistant. Cost will also be comparative to grill size.
Take a look at our reviews for the best stainless steel grills here.
You can get grills with a porcelain coating and these can be more cost effective. They won’t show scratches and fingerprints as easily as a stainless steel one will either which is bonus. The coating might be prone to peeling and, further down the line, rust if not carefully looked after however.
If rust is a worry porcelain over cast aluminium might be worth a try as they are lightweight and far harder to rust. Painted steel is one to avoid however as they really peel easily and therefore rusting.
Grates, burners and igniter
These sections undergo the most wear and tear and so play an important role in grill quality. Grill grates made from stainless steel are preferable as they can take the wear and tear of grilling a lot. Watch out for chipping and rust though.
For heating, consider an electric igniter. Look for a high warranty on your burners as these are the most frequently replaced parts of a BBQ grill. More expensive grills will often offer 1 year to 10 years or more on the warranty.
No matter the grill you opt for there is a chance you will customise it with your own accessories. Different tools will help you expand the dishes you can cook on there such as rib cookers, pizza stones or fish grills.
In the next section, we’ll look at some of the essential tools you’ll need to grill with ease.
BBQ Tools 101: Everything You Need
So you’ve found your grill and you’re ready to go, now, what tools do you need to make the most of your grill?
This is essential and will depend on which grill you’ve opted for, but without it you’ll be going nowhere.
This eliminates the need for lighter fluid or accelerants. The metal tube will light your coals with just a few sheets of newspaper. The larger the model the quicker and easier this process will be.
Long-handled stainless steel tongs with insulated handles are the perfect tool to move meat around a grill. They offer sturdiness, gripping power and wont pierce the meat, losing juice and flavour.
These are a must for flipping burgers and sliding under tender meat or fish that may break using tongs. A good spatula will have an offset handle to allow ease of flipping. Silicon or metal spatulas work best.
Long-handled basting brush
Everyone wants the best flavour and to apply BBQ sauces and seasonings, this works great. Heat resistant silicone bristles work best.
Long-handled stiff-wire grill brush
This is necessary for cleaning the grate after use.
Useful to have on hand incase grease build up ignites – better safe than sorry.
This will protect delicate foods from incineration and lock heat and flavour in. Great for baked potatoes and sweetcorn.
Everyone has their own unique way to tell if meat is cooked, but the only reliable way to make sure it is cooked and harmful bacteria has been destroyed is to use meat thermometer or smoker thermometer.
Instant-read thermometers are best for grilling. They give you a quick reading once they are inserted with an easily readable gauge. To get an accurate reading insert the thermometer into the side of meat about one to two inches towards the centre.
Alternative Uses For Your Grill
To make pizza, you need a medium heat, around 400 degrees on one side of the grill. Place the pizza onto the other side of the grill and rotate halfway through cooking to ensure even cooking. Your pizza is finished when the base is cooked and cheese melted. It will take roughly about twenty minutes. But if you prefer you can get the best outdoor pizza oven instead.
Keeping Your Grill Clean
If you own a charcoal grill and use it a lot you should deep clean it at least twice during the grilling season. This is to stop ash and carbon build up and prevents rust on the grill plates.
What You’ll Need:
- Grill brush or coarse cleaning brush
- Aluminum foil
- Paper or plastic bags
- Bristle brush or putty knife
- Fork (optional)
The Complete Guide to Meat Basics
Now you’ve got to grips with the grill and how to use it, let’s dive into what you’ll be grilling – the meat.
When you’re looking at steaks, the higher the fat marbling density the more flavourful and ultimately expensive they are. Filet mignon, also known as Chateaubriand or tenderloin, T-bone, New York Strip, porterhouse, flap or skirt steak and rib-eye steaks all contain this fatty marbling.
Lean cuts are noticeably free of fat and are often labeled as loin, sirloin or round. Flat-iron steak is a lean cut that is tender, full of flavor, and relatively cheap compared to other cuts.
Meat texture and color
Red meat can be cooked to varying levels, below is a handy guide:
Which cut is right for you?
With dozens of different options available, it can be overwhelming knowing which meat to choose to grill. Below is our easy guide showing you the different cuts of meat and the benefits of each. To have the perfect cuts, you need to have perfect knives.
Different Cuts of Beef
Beef brisket comes from the chest area between the shoulders of the cow, it has fat marbled through it which makes it very flavourful. As a result of the fat and sinews, it usually needs to be slow cooked to get the best results.
Chuck comes from the shoulders and is usually sold ready diced. It can be tough if not cooked correctly, but is one of the most economical cuts and widely available ones.
Fillet is regarded as the best of the best. It is a prime cut and is tender and tasty, but comes with a price tag. It usually contains very little fat as well, meaning there is less cooking time required to make a stunning meal.
This is from the lower belly and is favoured in France for its meaty flavour and chewy texture. It can however be very tough if not cooked well. Cooking it rare or slow cooking it is advisable to counter this. It also takes on marinades really well.
Rib-eye is one of the most popular steaks on the market. It is a tender cut and has lots of fatty marbling to increase the flavour profile of the steak. The eye of fat at its centre needs rendering down so needs a longer cook.
A classic cut that is traditionally not as tender as other cuts but still full of flavour. It can be tougher than other prime steaks but can be cooked quickly and lends itself to all degrees of cooking. It can be diced to use as skewers and takes marinades well too.
Often used to make salt beef, corned beef or roasted whole, silverside can be sliced into minute steaks and is often quite a lean cut of meat with little marbling.
In terms of taste and texture the sirloin rests between the rump and fillet. It has a good balance of fat and tenderness. It can also be bought as a roasting joint.
Skirt can be found near the onglet and shares many of the same characteristics. It is also full of flavour yet requires care in cooking with a tough membrane that needs removing before cooking. It requires flash grilling or slow cooking in fluid.
One of the few cuts always served on the bone, it combines sirloin and fillet steak – a perfect combo of flavour and texture.
Similar to silverside, it is usually a roasting joint and has a layer of fat attached to it that bastes and flavours the meat during cooking. The meat itself is usually fat free and can be cooked rare or pink.
Different Cuts of Lamb
It takes a while to tenderise lamb shoulder and is better for stewing or slow cooking. To get the most out of the flavour of this cut it should be cooked on the bone. The meat should fall apart once cooked using a fork.
Lamb chops or cutlets are the most expensive cuts of lamb, but are the most flavourful and tender. You really get what you pay for here. They are great for grilling and can be left together as a rack of lamb.
These are similar to T-bone steaks, they combine loin and fillet and are also great for grilling.
Lean, tender and full of flavour, rump is a versatile cut of meat but be careful not to overcook it as it can become tough if left to dry out.
Similar to the shoulder it is full of flavour if left on the bone and great for roasting or grilling. It is a lean muscle however so be careful not to overcook it as it dries out quickly.
There is a lot of collagen in the shank and when cooked slowly it gives the meat an almost melting texture. Best for slow cooking and stewing.
This is a cheap cut but available in butchers or supermarkets. It’s versatile in that it can be slow cooked or grilled like a steak. It will need the bones separated prior to grilling, however.
Different Cuts of Pork
A versatile meat that can be minced, slow cooked or filleted from the top to create steaks to grill. Slow roasted it will flake and fall apart.
A classic roasting joint when paired with apple sauce. It can be cooked on the bone in one peice or deboned stuffed and rolled. The skin on this cut will go crispy when cooked and provides crackling.
This is a long thin muscle of pork. It can be cooked whole or cut into medallions and grilled. It is the leanest of all cuts and therefore the healthiest choice.
Rib chops are perfect for grilling – when kept together they can make an impressive rib roast.
This is a really meaty chop that can be found on or off the bone. It is cheap but delicious and full of flavour and texture. It is also versatile and great for grilling.
The leg is usually roasted whole but can be deboned and cut into escalopes that are great for grilling. They are quite low in fat and can also be cured into ham.
Belly pork is fatty but really tender and best when slowly roasted. It also makes streaky bacon. It is high in fat but a versatile cut of pork.
Different Cuts of Chicken
Easily the most popular cut of chicken, breast is lean and takes marinades well. It can be cut and skewered and is perfect for grilling.
Wings are the cheapest cut but they are great to barbeque. Cooked on the bone, they hold marinades well and are great grilled, smoked or roasted. Their skin will crisp on the grill and contain more fat giving more flavour than breast.
Like wings, they come on the bone, hold flavours well and taste amazing when grilled.
These are perhaps the tastiest part of the chicken as they are tender and juicy. They can come bone in or bone out and are darker and firmer than other chicken meats. They need slightly longer to cook but hold flavour well and are great for kebabs.
Whole legs are great on the grill and can be basted for extra flavour. The skin will go crispy while the meat stays tender and juicy.
The Best Meat Cuts for Grilling
Now you know all the different cuts available, let’s take a look at the best options for your grill.
Of all the meats available, beef is the most popular choice for grilling, possibly just because there are so many options of cut available. For a really moist, juicy burger, a patty of equal parts chuck and sirloin will give great results. For steaks, T-bones, new york strip, and porterhouse cuts give the best results on the grill due to the marbling. For larger cuts better suited to roasting, indirect cooking on your grill can get great results.
Like chicken, pork needs to be cooked right the way through to be safe. Marinated pork chops are a barbeque staple and work excellently on a grill. For tenderloin, a rotisserie oven can impart flavour and keep moisture in. Larger pieces of pork can also be cooked indirectly on the grill for tasty results.
Thighs and breasts are the best choice for direct grilling. By marinating them ahead of time you can keep the meat moist and the skin flavourful. They should be cooked thoroughly to make sure there is no pink in them. To grill a whole chicken, it might be worth considering a rotisserie, this turns the chicken to ensure thorough cooking without the meat becoming dry.
Meat Prep for Grilling
There’s more to becoming a grill master than simply slapping a cut of meat on the grill. You need to know how to prep your meat to really make the most of the flavours. In this section, we’ll cover everything you need to serve up the tastiest meal using your grill.
Essential Sauces, Spices & Rubs
No grilling season would be complete without some great rubs and marinades, (you can also check our meat injectors reviews). Here are some of the best:
Grilling wouldn’t be complete without a BBQ sauce and while there are many to choose from, you can’t go wrong with a sweet and tangy sauce. It can be made and kept for several weeks and used as a sauce or marinade. Perfect on sausages or burgers.
Chimichurri is packed with intense flavours and full of colour. It is made using a pile of fresh herbs including coriander/cilantro, red wine vinegar, garlic, shallots and olive oil. This simple dressing hails from Argentina, where it’s a regular partner with steak.
Roasted Tomatillo Sauce
Blended together with tangy tomatillos, poblano pepper, and a pop of garlic, this is a great burger accompaniment that’s just the right balance of sweet, smoky, and spicy.
Spiced Honey Dijon Sauce
Great as a marinade or sauce and combining the sweetness of honey with the tanginess and heat of dijon mustard, this sauce is perfect with chicken or pork.
A great balance of sweet, salty and sour flavours, it pairs well with most meats and will give the meat an intense flavour when grilled.
This smoky, spiced dry rub incorporates crushed cacao nibs for a twist of deep, rich flavor. It’s a popular choice for all cuts of steak as well as an option for pork tenderloin.
Pulled Pork Rub
This spice rub consists of a variety of components from the spice cabinet. While it was originally intended for pulled pork, it is versatile enough to be used for any cut you’re grilling.
Read More: Best BBQ Rubs.
Which Spices Go With What Meat?
With dozens of spices adorning supermarket shelves, it can be overwhelming knowing which spices work best with which meats. Get started with the simple recommendations below and you can’t go wrong.
When working with beef, you will want herbs and spices that have their own strong savoury flavours. Onion and garlic add a lot to the flavour to beef, whereas cinnamon would be a bad pairing as it’s sweet so not at all complimentary. Coriander and chilli flavours are also good partners.
Traditional herbs such as sage or rosemary are excellent with lamb, but more modern options like cinnamon and cumin are good too.
Poultry is one of the most versatile meats when it comes to pairing herbs and spices. Equally great with a sweet BBQ rub, a cooling lemon and herb dressing or a spicy peri-peri or curry marinade, it can be made into whatever you want it to be. Poultry is one of the easier types of meat to season because you really can’t pick something that doesn’t suit it. Choose your meat spices based on what the rest of your meal is going to taste like – this is your chance to experiment and create something truly fantastic.
Pork pairs well with sweet marinades – BBQ sauces being the favorite. But juniper berries can also be a great pairing for pork.
Depending on the fish, spices and seasonings can give them a lot of flavor. Many people worry about what to add to fish, but most seasonings go well with fish and enhance the flavor. Lemon and dill are traditional favourites if you’re looking for a classic taste.
As with everything you cook, taste as you go and decide for yourself when you are satisfied with the flavour. Remember, a little goes a long way with herbs and spices, so start small and build the flavour profile as you go.
How to Store Meat?
Uncooked cuts of beef can be frozen for 4-12 months, but ground beef no more than 3-4 months. Cooked beef can be stored in the freezer for 2-3 months only. If you need to keep meats in the fridge, then store the uncooked meats for 3-5 days maximum.
Similar to beef, the uncooked frozen roast can be stored for 4-12 months and chops for 4-6 months. If storing in the fridge, store uncooked pork for only 3-5 days, and cooked pork for 2-3 days.
Similar to beef, the uncooked frozen roast can be stored for 4-12 months and chops for 4-6 months. If storing in the fridge, store uncooked pork for only 3-5 days, and cooked pork for 2-3 days.
Lean fish like cod or catfish can be frozen for 6-8 months, fatty fish like salmon to be kept frozen for 2-3 months, shellfish and other seafood to be kept frozen for 3-6 months. If storing in the fridge, store raw seafood for 1-2 days, cooked fish for 3-4 days, and smoked fish for 14 days.
How to Cook Meat Perfectly Every Single Time
Many people assume that meat thermometers are only there for the end of cooking to make sure that the meat is properly cooked. However, by using these handy tools throughout grilling, and even consulting a cooking temperature chart, you can guarantee the perfect grill every time. Below is an easy guide showing you what temperatures each type of meat should reach for the best results.
Perfect temperature: 71 degrees Celsius
Burgers should be cooked on a high heat to sear the meat in and allow for a slightly pink, juicy centre. A pink burger will take around nine minutes, a well done one a little longer. The core temperature of a well-done burger is 71 degrees Celsius.
Perfect temperature: 60 degrees Celsius (rare)
Like burgers, use a high heat to sear the juices inside the meat. The core temperature of a rare steak should be between 57-60 degrees Celsius, while a medium steak should be around 65 degrees Celsius. Around 71 degrees Celsius will give you a well-done done steak. Cook on the high temperature for five minutes and then move to a lower heat until the meat reaches your desired temperature.
Perfect temperature: 65 degrees Celsius
Getting the perfectly grilled sausage requires a lot of attention and turning to achieve a safe temperature and a crispy outer texture. The ideal inner temperature when cooked through should be 65 degrees Celsius, and it should take no more than 20 minutes to reach this.
Perfect temperature: 73 degrees Celsius
You should cook chicken on a medium heat as you risk charring the outside while the inside is raw on a high heat. It can also affect the flavours by cooking on a high heat. It’s best to cook chicken last unless you can easily alter the temperature of your grill. Applied to a direct medium heat, a small chicken breast should take approximately 8 to 12 minutes to cook. The correct temperature for perfectly cooked chicken is 73 degrees Celsius.
How to Rest Meat and Why it’s Important
Because meat is a muscle made of proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals and lots of water just like ours, it needs to rest. When meat is cooked, the muscle fibres contract causing the meat to shrink (think balling your fist from an open palm). As the meat continues cooking it forces the water to the surface and between the fibres of the meat as the protein shrinks inside the meat. This can cause the meat to become tough and dry.
When you allow your meat to rest, this process can somewhat be reversed. As the fibres relax when they have been taken away from the heat source, the moisture that had been driven to the surface of the meat redistributes throughout the meat and some is reabsorbed by the proteins. Therefore when rested meat is cut it holds onto more of its natural juices. Most people perceptiveness of tenderness is driven by moisture content and meat is seen as more tender if it soft and moist.
So what’s the best way to rest meat without it getting cold? There are a couple of options:
Your meat only needs resting for 5-10 minutes if it’s a small cut like a steak (slightly longer if it’s larger such as a whole chicken).
World-Famous BBQ Joints And Their Signature Techniques
1. Franklin BBQ (Texas)
With a consistent two hour wait to get in, this restaurant knows what it is doing. The Franklin brisket (all-natural beef smoked for twelve to eighteen hours) comes out profoundly flavorful and moist with a rich, dark, salty-peppery crust and a rim of sublime, flawlessly rendered fat. This is part of Franklin’s secret – hormone-free, antibiotic-free beef – an uncommon thing in a barbecue grill. Franklin has a signature indirect-heat pit and is famous for using oak as his choice of wood.
2. Ibu Oka – Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
This small grill is immensely popular with tourists and locals alike. Whole hogs are seasoned with an beautiful mixture of chiles, lemongrass, ginger, galangal, and turmeric, then roasted over a wood fire on hand-turned log rotisserie spits. Once cooked, the hogs are carried across the street to an open-air restaurant where women wielding cleavers dole out servings of the crispy, spice-scented meat with fragrant rice and spicy long bean salad.
3. Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ – Kansas City
This place is famous for smoking meats over slow-smoldering white oak in the finest Kansas City style. Spice-rubbed slabs of ribs, briskets, and a house specialty – pulled pork. Order by the pound or pick up a combo-style sandwich such as the Okie Joe – piled with chopped beef and pork. In-keeping with America’s roadhouse tradition, this barbecue joint is house in a former gas station.
4. Buca Lapi – Florence, Italy
To visit Florence without eating a bistecca alla fiorentina would be like overlooking Michelangelo’s David. Fire regulations make it ever harder to find a restaurant that cooks this magnificent porterhouse steak the traditional way: on a gridiron over blazing hardwood charcoal. But Buca Lapi fights found a way to keep tradition alive in a barrel-vaulted basement. They are famous for their fire-charred T-bone as well as their increible veal chops served with sweet and sour onion sauce.
5. Fargo’s Pit BBQ
Unlike most smokehouses which have a direct line of site to the pit, Fargo’s opts to keep their exact smoking method completely underwraps. You won’t see the pit master at work, but the smell alone is enough to entice you in. Alan Caldwell even keeps his signature woodpile hidden, though we do know oak is a staple, it’s still unknown what the signature combo used in this grillhouse is.
And it’s no surprise why Caldwell wants to keep his methods so secret – the meat that comes from this place is incredible. The spareribs are huge and the seasoned pork acome away from the bone like butter.
6. Bodean’s BBQ, London
Andre Blais, founder of Bodean’s, wanted to bring the taste of his hometown Kansas City’s barbecue to the UK. Now, Londoners and people across the UK flock to Bodean’s for their authentic American BBQ. Their signature oak-burning smoke pit produces the best flavours in London. Some local favourites are the baby back ribs and BBQ chicken.
7. 17th Street Barbecue
Since the 1990s, Mike Mills’ cherry and applewood-smoked baby back ribs have been winning world championships. People travel across the country to the small town of Murphysboro, Illinois to try them. Mike even holds workshops for up-and-coming pitmasters to learn his secrets.
8. Beast Craft Barbecue
At Beast, David Sandusky uses hickory smoke to grill the finest proteins, from Duroc pork to Wagyu brisket. The most popular items on offer are rarer finds: a reverse seared pork steak and Brussels sprouts. This is another pitmaster who boasts awards and accolades for his creations and almost everything on his menu is recommended – because it all sells out fast.