Here, to help you with your seasonal grilling debut, tips from five pitmasters from across America, all of whom are headlining NYC's Big Apple Barbecue Block Party on June 11-12.
Earlier this week, on The Feast NY, John Stage, co-founder of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, listed a dozen tips and tricks to get us started. Below, seven more from competitive pitmasters Jimmy Hagood (from Charleston, SC), Leslie Roark Scott (from Yazoo City, MS), Chris Lilley (from Decatur, AL), and Ed Mitchell (from Raleigh, NC).
No. 1"Don't use briquettes, use lump charcoal. If you're going to be cooking for a long time and using briquettes your stuff will taste like lighter fluid even if you don't use ligher fluid."
No. 2 "If you're using a smoker that has a water pan, add an injection of the marinade into the pan. Then even the steam will be flavored."
No. 3 "Don't use too much wood or else your meat will taste like a telephone pole. Only use wood for the first hour to two hours of your cooking process."
No. 4 "Keep the grill closed. The more you open it the more the natural moisture from the meat is released from the cooking chamber. The moister the environment, the moister the meat."
No. 5 "Make sure you have a two zone fire. Cook your thin cuts directly, and your larger cuts away from the fire with indirect heat."
No. 6 "Take the meat off the grill when it's almost done—first wrap it with saran wrap, then tightly with aluminum foil, then set it back on top of the grill for about 15 minutes or so and let it simmer. It'll tenderize in its own juices, and be fall-off-the-bone good."
No. 7 "Brine and soak the wood you are using as you do with the meat itself, so it too will radiate the flavors. Your meat will be out of sight."
12 More Grilling Tips From Dinosaur Bar-B-Que's John Stage