I think my passion for BBQ comes from a few places: an Italian-American upbringing that was heavy with salted meats; years grilling as a short-order cook in high school and college; tours of BBQ joints in Texas, Kansas, North Carolina and elsewhere; and even a past that included South African friends and traditions, such as a braai (Afrikaans for “barbecue”), biltong (beef jerky), and boerewors (sausage). Friends from Argentina and Brazil further introduced me to Asado and Churrasco. My family owned lobster traps as a kid, so I was raised alongside what is arguably “New England BBQ” – lobster and clam bakes.
Whatever the influence, I find that BBQ is fun because it encourages socializing and it leaves plenty of room for experimentation, with few barriers to entry. BBQ will always be as simple or complex as you want it to be. And when you get it most right, there’s an inherent mystery and personalization about it, as everyone’s combination of methods and ingredients are different.
For more on BBQ, please read some of my Adventures with the Big Green Egg.
Clockwise, from top left: Stubb’s BBQ in Austin; Iron Works BBQ in Austin; Salt Lick in Driftwood, TX (plate and grill area); and an annual chicken BBQ in Nissequogue, Long Island.