In simplest terms, barbecuing is the art of cooking food slowly with wood smoke. The temperatures used are often as low as the desired internal temperature for the cooked meat. Typically, however, the smoking temperature is about 225°F. For larger cuts of meat, smoking times can be as long as 18 hours. Cooking meats in this manner leads to very tender and flavorful menu items created from originally tough and undesireable cuts.
Barbecuing must be done with indirect heat. The food is not placed over the fire (or, if it is, it is far above the fire). You can barbecue with gas grills, or using charcoal or wood. Electric pellet smokers are also popular. If you have a dedicated smoker or a Kalamazoo grill with a side-mounted smoker box, you should experience great results. Barbecue purists almost exclusively use southern hardwoods as the heat source.
When using barbecue sauces and rubs, the dry rub can be used throughout the cooking time, but sauce should only be added towards the end. Remember, barbecue sauce is not a marinade. Add the barbecue sauce at the end of cooking, and use higher heat to just begin to caramelize the sauce.
How to Cook Barbecue on a Kalamazoo Hybrid Grill
Kalamazoo offers an offset smoker for all of our freestanding grills. The side-mounted box transforms the grill into a wonderful smoker. A snuffed wood fire in the offset smoker delivers smoke and heat into the grill chamber where the food is cooked low and slow.
A Kalamazoo grill can, however, excel at barbecue techniques even without the offset smoker option. The large and deep firebox on a Kalamazoo Grill aids in the circulation of both heat and smoke while allowing the grill to maintain the lower temperatures needed for traditional American barbecue. There are three methods for low temperature smoking on a Kalamazoo grill.
Use the ignition burner set to LOW for the heat source. The ignition burner runs across the entire width of the firebox below the front of the Hybrid Fire Grilling Drawer. Place a foil packet with wet wood chips sealed inside in the drawer towards the front and the food on the grill grate or warming rack towards the rear. Keep the grill hood and air vents closed and maintain a hood thermometer temperature between 200ºF and 250ºF. Add a new foil smoking envelope every 45 minutes to maintain the smoke. The great thing about the design of a Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill is that you can open the drawer to add more wood chips without having to open the grill hood.
Use the far left or far right main burner set to LOW for the heat source and place the food on the opposite end of the grill, either on the grill grate or on the warming rack. Follow the same instructions as Option One above, but place the foil smoking envelopes in the Hybrid Fire Grilling Drawer above the edge of the active burner. You want to place it near the burner, but far enough away that the wood in the envelope does not combust.
Using the main burners below the hybrid grill drawer, start a charcoal fire (all-natural briquettes are a better option for this than lump charcoal because they will hold temperature longer) banked to one end of the grill. Turn off the burners once the charcoal fire is strong and then wait for the coals to die down and ash over. Slide open the drawer and place wet wood chips on top of the coals to generate smoke. The food should be placed at the opposite end of the grill. As with Options One and Two, you can slide open the drawer to add more wood chips without opening the grill hood. If the charcoal fire dies before your barbecue session is finished, you can simply fire up the burner below and set it to LOW to extend the cooking time.