BBQ Large Pieces of Meat

BBQ Large Pieces of Meat

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    BBQ Large Pieces of Meat

    Traditionally, preparing BBQ in the South is a time for comradeship with friends and associates. Being invited to the preparation of the BBQ is one of the best forms flattery where friends are concerned. It is generally accompanied with lots of beer along with reliving past times together through telling of tall tales. Spring and Fall are the most popular times for BBQ outings, although many go right through the hot summer months.

    Things You May Need

    • Meat Thermometer

    • Oven Thermometer (even for the outdoor grill or smoker)

    • Basting Mop or Brush

    • Have the preparation crew bring lounge chairs for napping now and then

    Indoor or Outdoor?

    The outdoor grill or smoker is the best choice if you can control the temperature, otherwise you are much better off cooking your large meat BBQ in the oven. Temperature control is the most important factor when BBQing a large piece of meat. It should always be cooked low & slow with little variance in temperature for a minimum of 8-12 hours, up to 18 hours for a piece of meat over 8 pounds.

    The best BBQ is cooked on a large outdoor grill (better known as a whole pig cooker) about 4-5 feet wide. The fire would use dry hickory wood on one end and place the meat all the way at the other end (the meat should never be directly over the heat source). A fresh (green) cut piece of hickory wood would be added to the coals about every couple of hours. This would create smoke and flavor the meat.

    The building of the fire should begin 16-18 hours before the serving time. Traditionally, this begins about sundown the previous day for a noon serving the following day.

    Best Choices of Meat

    The choice of meat is regionally oriented; In the South BBQ is pork; In Texas BBQ is beef brisket, and other areas have their own favorites. The best large pieces of meat (in order of preference) for this type of BBQ are 4 pounds or greater of:

    • Pork Boston Butt (shoulder)

    • Beef or Bison Brisket

    • Beef or Bison Bone-In Chuck Shoulder Roast (Clod)

    • Same above cuts from Goat or Lamb

    • Leg of Lamb or Goat

    • Whole Chickens or Turkeys

    Selecting the Meat

    Pork, beef, and leg of lamb can be found in most supermarkets, for bison, goat, and other cuts of lamb you will have to go to the Internet. Where you have a choice, pick a piece of meat that has a substantial layer of fat on at least one side. Fat is the best basting source for tender and moist BBQ.

    Meat Preparation

    Do not trim excess fat from the meat. Score the fat in a cross-hatch pattern about 3/4″ to 1″ squares. Try to cut into the red meat as little as possible.


    For maximum moisture of the meat, it should be brined for a minimum of 24 hours, 48 hours is the optimum in the refrigerator. The meat should be brined in a mixture of a gallon of water as follows:

    • ¼ cup of salt (sea salt preferred)

    • 2 tablespoons of black pepper

    Nothing else, the other spices will be included in the rub.

    Forget Being Macho

    All us men like to be macho and cook outdoors and drink a lot of beer, but the best BBQ can actually be cooked in your oven. Especially if you have an exhaust fan in you kitchen that exhaust to the outdoors so that you can add wet wood chips in your oven. If you do not have an exhaust fan that exhaust to the outdoors then add liquid smoke to your BBQ rub (see below). Why is the oven best? Temperature control!

    Wet Rub

    Wet rub is better than a dry rub in that it adheres to the meat better and gets into the cracks and crevices. First, let me say that most of the heat in the rub is only on the outside of the meat. So the wimps can still make the rub recipe and just not eat the outside meat (actually where the flavor is). Make the following in a blender or food processor:

    • 1 can (7 ounces) of Chipotle Peppers in Adobe Sauce

    • ¾ Cup Brown Sugar (light or dark)

    • 3 Tablespoons Kosher Salt

    • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper

    • 1 Teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

    • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder

    • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder

    • ¼ cup vinegar

    • ¼ cup Worcestershire Sauce

    • 1 Tablespoon of Liquid Smoke (if oven cooking without external exhaust)

    Blend while adding olive oil until the mixture is loose (runny) and can be easily poured from the blender or food processor. Add at least ¼ cup of olive oil. The above is for a 4 pound piece of meat, make more for larger cuts of meat.

    Rub this mixture on the entire piece of meat. Be sure to get plenty of rub on the top of the meat and in the cracks of the cross-hatch fat. To the remaining rub add one cup of hot water and mix well. Use this for basting the meat about every 2-3 hours during the cooking process.


    The bacteria on meat is on the external surface of the meat. Pre-heat your oven, outdoor grill, or smoker to about 400 degrees. Place the meat in it (fat side up) at this temperature for about 30 minutes to kill the external bacteria (otherwise they may grow and produce a rotten piece of meat cooked at low temperature). With the fat side being up, it will baste your meat and keep it more moist. Reduce the heat to 175 degrees and cook for 10-12 hours or more for a large piece of meat. If cooking in your oven place the meat on a roasting rack and keep about 1/2″ of water in the roasting pan to catch the drippings. The drippings will be used to make a BBQ sauce later. After about 8 hours of cooking begin testing the internal temperature of the meat with a meat thermometer. It should be cooked until the internal temperature is 175 degrees Fahrenheit. You should then be able to remove a serving portion with food tongs, if not continue the cooking process.

    BBQ Sauce

    If cooking in your oven, pour off the drippings from the roasting pan into a bowl and place in the refrigerator until the fat on the top becomes solid (or use a fat separator and pour off everything but the fat). Skim off the solidified fat and discard.

    Place the remaining drippings in a pot and add a small bottle of your favorite store bought BBQ sauce and simmer for about 20-30 minutes or just forget the store bought BBQ sauce and use the dripping straight-up as your BBQ sauce (my preference).

    If cooking outdoors in a smoker or grill, use your favorite BBQ sauce and have plenty of hot sauce available.

    Accompaniments & Serving

    BBQ is generally served with the following:

    • Baked Beans

    • Cole Slaw

    • Potato Salad

    • Corn on the cob (boiled or grilled)

    • Grilled Pork Sausage

    • White Bread (sliced white bread, Italian or French Bread, etc.)

    DO NOT chop up the meat. It only serves to have the juices run off and make the meat dry. Let everyone make their accompaniment plate and then move to the grill or table and remove their meat with food tongs. Most people like the outside meat and the burnt ends of brisket.

    Start a Tradition

    Gathering with family, friends and associates can be one of the best traditions you can start. There is no better way than a good slow cooked moist BBQ that is falling off the bone tender. Enjoy!

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