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Barbeque is Superb with Oregon and Washington Wines

by Michael Sherwood

The Ten Commandments of Grilling

Kansas City Ribs - Chipotle Pork Roast - Basil Grilled Tuna

People often say the words 'barbecue wines' in a dismissive fashion, like they are nothing but cheap plonk. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, you may want to pull out your finest wines for your favorite grilled food.

For some folks, grilled and barbecued food is the best tasting food possible. I've seen people from Bend to Lake Chelan in January, huddled in the snow with ribs slowly cooking on the porch. Myself, I've been to know to stand out in a spring hailstorm or the fall rains tending to a slab of ribs or salmon on a plank. The complexity of flavors from charred meat added by grilling and smoking is enticing and almost primordial in nature. Its no surprise that barbecue guru Steven Raichlen attributes the birth of civilization to this type of cooking. Grilling is as old as mankind and while Neanderthals weren't quaffing hearty red wine around the campfire, the Babylonians may have been and the French gentlemen of the Renaissance era certainly were.

Use of the words 'barbecue wines' as a pejorative term no doubt comes from the fact that back yard barbecues are often casual events. While this is often the case, to the barbecue aficionado, outdoor grilling is often serious business.

The casual setting aside, wine is no doubt the ultimate barbecue beverage. "What's so great about wine is it pairs with anything that you want to throw on the grill - from burgers to barbecued chicken sandwiches to leg of lamb," said barbecue lover Dirk Jacobs of Forest Grove, Oregon. "Think of wine like you would a condiment. Wine works like a spice, helping to enhance the flavors of your grilled food. Give me a wine and I will grill something up to match with it."

Rule Number One: There are No Rules

Don't stress about what wine goes with what grilled food, just remember if you like white wine; choose white, if you like red; choose red. Even if the cook is serious, the rest of us are there to have a good time in a casual relaxed atmosphere of someone's backyard. Paired with the right food who's to say that a luscious Chardonnay or a crisp Pinot Gris isn't just perfect.

For those of us who think only red wines go with barbecue, you are not all wrong. When you think of the flavors brought on by grilling meat you think big, bold, and quaffable. Any red wine for this type of fare should have all three qualities. They should be big wines - full bodied, with forward fruit flavor, spice, and pepper along with good acidity. Finally they should be quaffable - smooth, delicious, easy to drink, gulpable.

Wines for barbecue should be able to support the succulence of the meat brought out by the slow cooking and not be overwhelmed by or compete with the piquancy and sweetness of the sauce. An overly tannic, tightly wound bruiser is probably not the best choice, hence the pejorative. Casual wines with no pretense may be the norm for a barbecue but don't hesitate to pull out wines with pedigree either. Both will shine around the grill, guaranteed.

The 10 Commandments of Grilling

(According to barbecue guru Steven Raichlen in his book Barbecue Bible)

Have everything you need for grilling - the food, marinade, basting sauce, seasonings, and equipment - on hand and at grillside before you start grilling.

There's nothing worse than running out of charcoal or gas in the middle of grilling. When using charcoal, light enough to form a bed of glowing coals 3 inches larger on all sides than the surface area of the food you're planning to cook. (A 221/2-inch grill needs one chimney's worth of coals.) When cooking on a gas grill, make sure the tank is at least one-third full.

Remember: Grilling is a high-heat cooking method. In order to achieve the seared crust, charcoal flavor, and handsome grill marks associated with masterpiece grillmanship, you must cook over a high heat. How high? At least 500°F. Although I detail this elsewhere, it is worth repeating: When using charcoal, let it burn until it is covered with a thin coat of gray ash. Hold your hand about 6 inches above the grate. After 3 seconds, the force of the heat should force you to snatch your hand away. When using a gas grill, preheat to high (at least 500°F); this takes 10 to 15 minutes. When indirect grilling, preheat the grill to 350°F.

There's nothing less appetizing than grilling on dirty old burnt bits of food stuck to the grate. Besides, the food will stick to a dirty grate. Clean the grate twice: once after you've preheated the grill and again when you've finished cooking. The first cleaning will remove any bits of food you may have missed after your last grilling session. Use the edge of a metal spatula to scrape off large bits of food, a stiff wire brush to finish scrubbing the grate.

Oil the grate just before placing the food on top, if necessary (some foods don't require that the grates be oiled). Spray it with oil (away from the flames or you might flame up badly), use a folded paper towel soaked in oil, or rub it with a piece of fatty bacon, beef fat, or chicken skin.

The proper way to turn meat on a grill is with tongs or a spatula. Never stab the meat with a carving fork - unless you want to drain the flavor-rich juices onto the coals.

Oil-and-vinegar-, citrus-, and yogurt-based bastes and marinades can be brushed on the meat throughout the cooking time. (If you baste with a marinade that you used for raw meat or seafood, do not apply it during the last 3 minutes of cooking.) When using a sugar-based barbecue sauce, apply it toward the end of the cooking time. The sugar in these sauces burns easily and should not be exposed to prolonged heat.

When cooking larger cuts of meat and poultry, such as a whole chicken, leg of lamb, or prime rib, use the indirect method of grilling or barbecuing. Keep the grill tightly covered and resist the temptation to peek. Every time you lift the lid, you add 5 to 10 minutes to the cooking time.

Beef, steak, chicken - almost anything you grill-will taste better if you let it stand on the cutting board for a few minutes before serving. This allows the meat juices, which have been driven to the center of a roast or steak by the searing heat, to return to the surface. The result is a juicier, tastier piece of meat.

Grilling is an easy cooking method, but it demands constant attention. Once you put something on the grill (especially when using the direct method), stay with it until it's cooked. This is not the time to answer the phone, make the salad dressing, or mix up a batch of your famous mojitos. Above all, have fun.

The next time you fire up the grill or are invited over to someone's house for a backyard barbecue, don't pull out your most inexpensive wine figuring "It's only a barbecue". Not that a Rosé or a Lemberger wouldn't do just fine at your friends shindig. Consider pulling out one of your trophy wines instead and blow your friends away. Grilled ribs, burgers or any of the recipes below are just what that wine needs. You were looking for an excuse to open up that wine you were hording or that killer wine you just bought - this weekend's grill-fest is just that opportunity.

Barbecue and Grilling Recipes

BBQ Chicken Breast Sandwich with Chipotle Lime Mayonnaise

Nothing could be faster than grilling a couple of chicken breasts over coals or a gas grill. This quick and easy recipe would pair will with a Rosé, a Pinot noir and even a Chardonnay.

Here's what you need:
4 boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons of ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Chipotle Lime Mayonnaise:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 chipotle peppers (minced)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons lime juice (or juice from one lime)
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Combine and mix ingredients for Chipolte Lime Mayonnaise in medium size bowl, hours or even days before. Canned chipotle peppers (in adobo sauce) can be found in the ethnic food aisle of your grocery store.

Here's what you do:
1) Mix the Chipotle mayonnaise ingredients and let them meld together in the refrigerator.
2) Combine and mix olive oil, coriander, salt and pepper together in medium size bowl. Rub chicken breasts with the oil, coriander, salt and pepper mixture. You can marinate these in a plastic food bag or 30 minutes to 2 hours, or you can simply pop them on the grill after you've done the rub. The longer marinate time simply allows the flavors to better absorb into the chicken.
3) Over medium fire, grill chicken breasts for six minutes on each side.
4) We like to grill the buns briefly before serving. If there is room on the grill, toast them for 30 seconds or simply pop them under the broiler for a moment to brown the undersides.
5) Moments before the chicken is done spread chipotle lime mayonnaise onto sandwich bread. Put a layer of fresh lettuce on each slice of bread. When chicken breasts are finished, place them on Kaiser rolls and add an extra dab of the spiced mayonnaise to the top of the grilled breasts.

Notes: Makes 4 sandwiches. Test if chicken is done by pressing your finger against the cooking breast. If it gives and is soft, it still needs some time. When it turns firm, it's done. Don't over cook but then, you don't want to under cook it either. You can prepare spiced mayo hours to days ahead of time.

Source: Inspired by a recipe from The Back Eddy Restaurant in Westport, MA.

Kansas City Ribs

The battle for slow cooked barbecue supremacy is duked out between St. Louis, Kansas City, Texas, and North Carolina. There are adherents to each style with some favoring beef, other pork, others brisket and all with with sauces ranging from vinegary, mustardy to tomatoy to peppery. Regional pride aside, the ribs from Kansas City and the sweet tomato based sauces used there tend to be the national favorite.

Chris O'Hara in his book Ribs states, "Kansas City is the crossroads of barbecue, a place where American barbecue styles melded together. The combination of transplanted Southerners and Texans, and more beef than you can shake a stick at produced a barbecue culture of its own. Both KC Masterpiece and Bull's Eye bottled sauces came out of Kansas City, which is testimony to its appeal. The style of classic Kansas City sauce varies according to which part of Kansas City you're from. Generally, it is a thick, tomato-laden, tangy and sweet sauce. Homemade is better, of course. The recipe (below) is the best of all worlds: you have a great classic dry rub and a fantastic sauce for dipping. This recipe calls for beef ribs (acknowledging Kansas City's Midwestern beef heritage - although most KC restaurants serve the traditional baby back ribs), but you can substitute whatever kind of ribs you like. The author prefers to dry-rub the ribs first, baste some barbecue sauce on for the last 20 minutes of cooking, and then use the sauce for dipping while eating. However, feel free to thin down the (thick) sauce to use as a mop during cooking."

Here's what you need:
A large racks of beef ribs OR 3 large racks of baby back ribs [Get as many pounds as you want to 'cue]
2 large freezer food storage bags that seal.

Dry Rub (recipe yields 2 cups but keep indefinitely)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup paprika
1/4 cup Kosher salt
1/4 cup celery salt
3 tablespoons onion powder
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dried mustard powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Classic KC Barbecue Sauce (yields about 4 cups)
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon mild curry powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cup ketchup
3/4 cup dark unsulfured molasses
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot sauce

Serves 4-6

Here's what you do:
1) Mix all dry rub ingredients together. Store in a covered jar.
2) In a large bowl, mix sauce dry ingredients together well. Add ketchup, molasses, vinegar and Tabasco. Transfer mixture to a saucepan and heat over a medium flame until warm, stirring frequently. The idea is to make sure the dry ingredients melt into the sauce.
3) Buy your ribs and make your dry rub the day before you plan on cooking. To apply dry rub, sprinkle (rather than actually rub) the mixture on the meat - it should be moist enough so the rub sticks to the surface. A light coating is sufficient, but use as much as you like, as it tends to come off during handling and cooking. Seal your ribs in plastic bags and refrigerate overnight. You can also prepare your sauce that day and set it aside in the refrigerator.
4) This recipe calls for medium heat and medium cooking time to expedite the process, but you may have your own favorite cooking method. Here we recommend you set the temperature at roughly 250° F and cook the ribs with the lid closed on your smoker or barbecue grill. Adding some soaked mesquite or other hardwood chips is recommended, but not necessary. Cook the ribs for approximately 2 1/2 - 3 hours, or until the meat has shrunk back well from the bone. About 15 minutes before the ribs are done, add a generous coating of the barbecue sauce. Serve with the remaining sauce and a hearty red wine.
Note: With these ribs, sauce is added at the very end, otherwise the sugars will simply burn. In most places, sauces are served after the meat has been cooked. We've added the sauce slightly before the end of the cooking process, mainly to give the meat a nice moist coating without the sauce cooking off and giving a bitter burned taste.

Source: Christopher B. O'Hara - Ribs

Chipotle Pork Roast

Pork loin is a classic slow cook barbecue centerpiece. This one features the flavors of chipotle chilies, oregano and orange juice to make for one mouth watering meal.

Here's what you need:
1 boned center-cut pork loin (3 lb.), fat-trimmed
10 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups orange juice
1/3 cup canned chipotle chilies, including sauce
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves or dried oregano
1 tablespoon salad oil
Oregano sprigs (optional)
Orange wedges
Salt and pepper

Here's what you do:
1. Rinse pork; pat dry. Cut garlic into 1/2-inch slices. Cut 1/2-inch slits all over meat; insert garlic in them. Place meat in a 1-gallon heavy plastic food bag.
2. In a blender whirl orange juice, chilies with sauce, chopped oregano, and oil until smooth. Pour over pork, seal bag, and turn to coat. Set bag in a bowl. Chill at least 4 hours or up to 1 day, turning occasionally.
3. Prepare barbecue. If using charcoal briquettes, mound and ignite 60 briquettes on the fire grate of a barbecue with a lid. When briquettes are dotted with gray ash, in 15 to 20 minutes, push equal amounts to opposite sides of fire grate. Add 5 more briquettes now, and every 30 minutes of cooking, to each mound of coals. Push the coals to the side to indirect heating and set a drip pan under where the meat will rest.
If using a large gas barbecue, turn heat to high and close lid for 10 minutes. Adjust burners for indirect cooking (no heat down center) and keep on high.
Set a drip pan on fire grate between coals or burners. Set barbecue grill in place.
4. Lift pork from marinade and lay on grill, not over heat. Cover barbecue; open vents for charcoal. During the first hour, baste meat with marinade occasionally. Cook pork until a thermometer reaches 155° in center of thickest part, 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours. Discard remaining marinade.
5. Transfer pork to a platter, keep warm, and let rest about 10 minutes. Garnish with oregano sprigs and orange wedges. Cut meat into thin slices, squeeze juice from orange wedges over slices, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Prep is about 2 hours and then you marinate for 4 hours. You can marinate up to a day ahead of time if you like. This recipe serves 8-10 servings.

Source: Sunset Magazine July 1999

Basil-Grilled Tuna

Tuna is an excellent candidate for the grill. The firm meat means it won't flake off into the coals. You can really treat it just like a thick slab of beef in many ways. The basil-garlic mixture is an ideal marinade no matter what you are grilling and it works well here without overwhelming the tuna. Pull out a Riesling, a Chardonnay, a Pinot noir and a Merlot and see what one pairs the best with this dish. You might be surprised at the results.

Here's what you need:
4 tuna Steaks (3/4 to 1 inch thick; 6 to 8 ounces each)
1 bunch fresh basil, washed and stemmed
4 cloves garlic, cut in half
3 strips lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon (3 to 4 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Here's what you do:
1. Trim any skin or dark or bloody spots off the tuna. Rinse the tuna under cold running water and blot dry with paper towels. Arrange the steaks in a non-reactive baking dish.
2. Combine the basil, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Pour this mixture over the tuna and let marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 30 minutes to 2 hours, turning the tuna steaks several times.
3. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. If using a gas grill, place the wood chips, if desired, in the smoker box or in a tinfoil smoker pouch and preheat until you see smoke. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. If using a charcoal grill, toss the wood chips, if desired, on the coals. Drain the tuna steaks and arrange on the grill. Grill until cooked to taste, 2 to 3 minutes per side for rare, 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium, rotating the steaks 45 degrees after 2 minutes to create an attractive crosshatch of grill marks. The steaks should be nicely browned on the outside. Test for doneness using the poke method. A rare steak will be quite soft, with just a little resistance at the surface; a medium-rare steak will be gently yielding; and a medium steak will be quite firm. Transfer the steaks to plates or a platter and let rest for 3 minutes.

Source: Steven Raichlen - Barbecue Bible

Grilled Shrimp wrapped in Bacon

Marinated grilled shrimp are quick and simple barbecue staple that is always a hit. You can never make enough of these. They cook quickly and the charred flavor from the grill adds a nice layer of flavor to the seafood. Wrap the shrimp in bacon and you will have to fend people off with your grilling tongs, they are that good.

Here's what you need:
1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoons lemon pepper
1 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoon butter, melted (or corn oil)
9-12 slices bacon
18-24 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined

Here's what you do:
1) Cut the slices of bacon in half. Partially cook the bacon over moderate heat to render some of the fat without allowing the pieces to crisp. They should still be a bit limp. Drain on paper towels.
2) Combine butter (or cooking oil) with spices, add shrimp, toss well to coat, let marinate at room temperature 30 to 60 minutes. Remove shrimp from the marinade, reserving the marinade.
3) Wrap a slice of bacon around each shrimp and secure with a toothpick to hold both ends of the bacon.
4) Place shrimp on hot grill for 2-4 minutes; turn and brush shrimp with reserved marinade and grill for 2-4 minutes longer or until shrimp are opaque throughout.

Notes: We lightly cook the bacon ahead of time. Otherwise, by the time the bacon cooks, the shrimp are way way way overdone. Caution, bacon dripping will cause the grill to flare up, so keep the water spritzer handy. If using bamboo skewers, make sure to soak them in water for about an hour prior to using. If you have it, a wire grill basket is perfect for these shrimp, as well as for grilling veggies.

Source: Bonnie Lausmann - McMinnville, Oregon

Cedar Plank Salmon

Cedar Planked fish is very ancient method of cooking that has been used for generations by Native Americans of the Northwest Pacific and produces a salmon that is slow cooked with a rich, smoky flavor.

Here's what you need:
1 cedar plank (6 by 14 inches by 1 inch thick, cut into two pieces)
2 salmon fillets (1 1/2 pounds total)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons brown sugar
Wedges of lemon

Here's what you do:
1) Soak untreated cedar plank in salted water for at least 2 hours and up to 5 hours, then drain.
2) Generously season the salmon with salt and pepper. Lay the salmon skin side down on some wax paper and carefully spread the mustard over the top and sides. Place the brown sugar in a bowl and crumble between your fingers, then sprinkle over the mustard, but do not place the fish on the plank.
3) Set up the grill for direct grilling on medium-high. When ready to cook, place the plank on the hot grate and leave it until there is a smell of smoke, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the plank over and place the fish on top. Cover the grill and cook until the fish is cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 135 degrees F. Check the plank occasionally. If the edges start to catch fire, mist with water, or move the plank to a cooler part of the grill. Grill for 25 to 30 minutes or until the salmon is opaque in the center and the flesh flakes easily with a fork.
4) To serve, gently lift salmon off the plank and serve with wedges of lemon.

Note: While you can purchase ultra thick cedar planks that are reusable, I prefer to go to my local hardware store and buy untreated cedar boards as wide as I can get them, which are later disposed of. Do not buy cedar shakes as often these are treated with chemicals to preserve them and keep them from burning should a house catch on fire. This will not be a good option for cooking and eating. Prep time is approximately 15 minutes. Cook time is 30 minutes or less and this recipe provides 4 servings.

Source: Steve Raichlen - Barbecue Bible with some Bobby Flay action thrown in

Grilled Potato Wedges

Here's what you need:
2 large baking potatoes
1/4 lb of butter
1 Tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons ground black pepper

Here's what you do:
1) Slice potatoes lengthwise, into wedges about 1/2 to 1 inch wide.
2) Melt the butter in a heavy pan over medium head and add garlic powder, hot sauce, salt and pepper - stirring slowly to mix completely. Once combined, allow to cool slightly.
3) Place potatoes in bowl and add butter mixture to coat thoroughly. When ready place potato wedges on the grill to cook. Close lid and turn every 10 minutes or as they begin to brown, which ever occurs first. Cook until well browned and tender when pierced with a toothpick. Use some of the leftover butter mix to coat the grilled potato wedges!

Notes: I have been known to microwave the potato wedges for a few minutes just to get the internal temperature up and pre-cook the little suckers. That way, you use the grill to impart a bit of char to the outside of the 'tater and fix the marinade flavors to the tasty tuber.

Source: Barbecue'n on the Internet

Grilled Pineapple Rings with Nutella

Grilling does wonderful things to fruit as it caramelizes the sugars creating a golden brown color and intensity of flavor. The pepper brings out the "grilled" flavor and adds some spiciness. The use of a Nutella sauce transforms it into a special dessert. With or without the Nutella, grilled pineapple should be on everyone's summer grilling menu at least once.

Here's what you need:
1 large ripe pineapple
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Optional Nutella Sauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)
6 tablespoons whipping cream
Olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped toasted hazelnuts

Here's what you do:
1) Trim, core, and peel pineapple. Cut the ends off the pineapple, slice the rind off careful not to leave any brown 'eyes', and then cut it when it's on its side, into rings. Then you cut the core out with a pastry ring! No doubt this is the easiest way to get rings from pineapples.
2) In a small bowl, combine honey, lemon or lime juice, and black pepper. Brush the glaze onto each slice of pineapple, coating completely.
3) Preheat barbecue grill. Either oil or spray the grill rack with non-stick cooking spray. Place pineapple rings on the grill and cook approximately minutes on each side. Grill the pineapple slices until heated through and beginning to brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. It's important to leave the pineapples on the grill, untouched so that you can create the grill marks. Grill until the pineapple becomes fragrant and starts to dry out on the surface. Don't overcook, or they'll turn mushy.

Remove from the grill and brush with any additional honey/lemon glaze one more time. Serve and enjoy!

If you opt for the Nutella sauce - Combine the chocolate-hazelnut spread and cream in a small bowl and stir to combine. Place in a microwave on high for about 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds to blend well. Alternatively, you can combine the chocolate-hazelnut spread and cream in a small saucepan, set over low heat, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Heat the sauce until satiny smooth and easy to pour, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer the pineapple slices to a large platter. Drizzle the warm chocolate-hazelnut sauce over. Makes about 6 servings.

Inspired by recipes from Giada De Laurentiis and Linda Stradley

From Sam Gugino at Wine Spectator Magazine:

As with barbecue cooking, barbecue sauces have regional characteristics. Kansas City-style sauce is the most common nationwide. It has a tomato or ketchup base and pronounced sweet, sour and smoky elements. Barbecue sauce from nearby St. Louis usually has a tomato foundation but without the smoke (which normally comes from bottled liquid smoke). North Carolina's barbecue sauce, traditionally put on that state's beloved pulled pork shoulder at the table, is vinegar-based; the sauce is clear in eastern North Carolina and tomato-red in the western half.

Mustard is the key ingredient in the sauces of Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi. White barbecue sauce, made from mayonnaise, cider vinegar and black pepper, is big in Alabama, where people have it on chicken. In Texas, beer and chilies form the basis of a rather watery sauce. In the Southwest, from New Mexico to California, tomato salsa and pico de gallo qualify as barbecue sauces, since that's how they're often used. And there are scores of other ethnic sauces for grilled foods, including mojo, a blend of lime juice, cumin and garlic favored in Miami's Latino community.

Courtesy of Cheri Sicard of FabulousFoods.com:

Many people think grilling and barbecue are synonymous. Not so! True barbecue is cooked with wood fro smoke flavor for long periods at low temperatures. The heat source in barbecue is indirect, meaning the food is never placed directly over the fire.

Direct heat grilling is what most people picture when the subject of grilling or barbecue comes up. Their minds conjure up images of steaks, or perhaps burgers, sizzling away directly over hot coals - the hunger inducing aromas of seared meat filling the air and compelling family, neighbors (and their dogs), and even complete strangers to investigate what could possibly smell so heavenly.

When you say the word barbecue, both here in the United States, and even more so in other parts of the world, most people think of grilling. While there's nothing wrong with grilling - some of my favorite foods are grilled, grilling is not barbecue.

No, for food to truly be barbecue, it must involve two key elements - time and smoke.

Grilling is great for a quick supper - throw a piece of meat on a hot grill and in 5 to 15 minutes you've got dinner. On the contrary, barbecued foods are cooked at low temperatures for long periods of time. Low and slow - that's good barbecue.

Save barbecuing for a day when you have a lot of time. It's not that it's necessarily a lot of work; it just takes a lot of time. Because you should never leave a fire unattended, you need to be nearby, although you can certainly be doing other things. Plan on anywhere from 8 to 12 hours for a brisket, 6 to 8 hours for a turkey and 4 to 6 hours for racks of ribs to be smoked to perfection.

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