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BBQ sauces are a quintessential part of grilling culture, and each region around the world has its own unique take on this flavorful condiment. From the tangy mustard-based Carolina Gold to the spicy and sweet Korean Gochujang, the world of barbecue sauces is as diverse as it is delicious. 

In this article, we will take a deep dive into the various BBQ sauces from around the globe, exploring their distinct flavors and the traditional dishes they complement. Whether you're a seasoned pitmaster or just starting out on your grilling journey, there's a world of BBQ sauces waiting to be discovered.


Regional BBQ Sauces in the United States

When it comes to BBQ, sauces play a crucial role in defining the flavor profile of the dish. Regional BBQ styles in the United States, and their associated sauces, vary significantly, each offering a unique taste that reflects the local culinary traditions and preferences. 

Let's take a flavorful journey through some of the most iconic regional BBQ sauces in the country:


Carolina Gold

This barbecue sauce originates from South Carolina and is known for its tangy and mustard-based flavor profile. This golden-hued sauce is a harmonious blend of tangy vinegar, a hint of sweetness, and the distinctive zing of mustard. It adds a delicious kick to low-and-slow-cooked pulled pork, chicken, and even grilled vegetables.


Kansas City BBQ Sauce

Hailing from the barbecue capital of the world, Kansas City BBQ sauce is a rich, thick, tomato-based sauce that embodies the perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and smoky flavors. This versatile sauce is characterized by its molasses and brown sugar sweetness, complemented by the tang of vinegar and the warmth of spices. It's an excellent choice for ribs, brisket, and grilled meats.


Texas BBQ Sauce

In the Lone Star State, BBQ sauce takes on a bold and flavorful persona. Texas BBQ sauce often showcases a robust blend of spices, including chili powder, cumin, and black pepper, giving it a fiery kick that stands up to the richness of smoked beef brisket. While some variations lean towards a tomato base, others feature a more savory profile, allowing the smoky flavors of the meat to shine through.


Alabama White Sauce


Alabama white sauce | BBQ sauces from around the world | international BBQ sauces
Source: The Spruce Eats


Breaking away from the traditional red and brown hues of BBQ sauces, Alabama White Sauce offers a departure from the norm with its creamy and tangy composition. A mayo and vinegar-based sauce, this northern Alabama specialty brings a distinctive zing to poultry, particularly when used as a marinade or dipping sauce for smoked or grilled chicken.

Embarking on a culinary adventure through the regional BBQ sauces across the United States unveils a tapestry of flavors, each with its own story to tell and an irresistible allure that celebrates the art of barbecue in its many diverse forms.


International BBQ Sauces from Around the World

The diverse flavors of international barbecue sauces reflect the rich tapestry of cultural influences that have shaped global cuisine. Each sauce variation embodies the unique culinary heritage and traditions of BBQ in its region. The different sauces add a distinct layer of flavor and character to grilled meats, vegetables, and seafood, highlighting the remarkable diversity of global barbecue traditions.

Let’s break down an assortment of some of the most delicious international BBQ sauce variations:


South African Braai Sauce

Synonymous with the nation's rich culinary heritage, South African braai sauce is a tantalizing blend of fruity, tangy, and slightly spicy flavors. Its unique combination of apricot jam, Worcestershire sauce, and vinegar creates a sweet yet tangy profile that perfectly complements grilled meats. The Braai sauce, deeply rooted in South African culture, is often used as a marinade or a basting sauce during outdoor cookouts, infusing meats with a rich and savory essence that is symbolic of South African cuisine.


Korean Gochujang BBQ Sauce

This sauce is a staple in Korean barbecue, renowned for its robust and spicy profile. This fermented chili paste-based sauce, enriched with soy sauce, garlic, and sesame oil, delivers a complex mix of sweet, savory, and fiery notes. Reflective of Korea's culinary finesse, this sauce adds depth and intensity to grilled meats, creating a harmonious symphony of flavors that is distinctive to Korean cuisine.


Jamaican Jerk Sauce


Jamaican jerk sauce | BBQ sauces from around the world | international BBQ sauces
Source: Plant-Based Passport


This fiery and aromatic concoction captures the essence of Caribbean zest. Containing scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, and thyme, this sauce exudes a tangy and earthy essence that invigorates the palate with its vibrant Caribbean flair. The Jerk sauce, often used on grilled chicken, is a product of Jamaica's multicultural tapestry and infuses meats with a tantalizing heat, transporting taste buds to the colorful streets of the Caribbean.


Argentine Chimichurri

Chimichurri, a beloved accompaniment in Argentine grilling traditions, offers a vibrant and herbaceous flavor profile. A blend of fresh parsley, oregano, garlic, and tangy vinegar, this sauce delivers a zesty and refreshing complement to grilled meats (especially red meats). The Chimichurri's zingy and pungent notes accentuate the natural flavors of the meat, encapsulating the passionate spirit of Argentine cuisine.


The Increasing Global Influences on BBQ Sauces in America

While the United States has been a hotbed for barbecue sauce innovation, its flavors have been significantly influenced by international culinary traditions, especially more recently. For instance, the sweet and spicy flavors of Asian barbecue sauces have made their mark on American barbecue, adding a unique twist to traditional recipes. Using a ginger-soy marinade on chicken can add a citrusy, umami-packed level of flavor that elevates your grilled poultry.

Similarly, the tangy and vinegary notes of Caribbean jerk sauces have found their way into the American barbecue scene, showcasing the global fusion that continues to shape the diverse landscape of barbecue sauces. The interplay between domestic traditions and international influences has propelled barbecue sauces into a realm of boundless creativity, offering a tantalizing array of flavors for enthusiasts to explore.


international BBQ sauces | BBQ sauces from around the world | different types of BBQ sauce
Source: The Daily Meal


Broaden Your Flavor Horizons Today When It Comes to BBQ Sauce!

The world of BBQ sauces is a delightful tapestry of diverse flavors, each representing the rich culinary traditions of their respective regions. As you can see above, there is a wide variety of sauces, offering a passport to global gastronomy. 

By incorporating these unique flavors into your grilling repertoire, you can elevate your BBQ game and tantalize your taste buds with a symphony of international flavors. Whether you're a seasoned barbecuer or a novice grill enthusiast, exploring these BBQ sauces from around the world is a surefire way to take your culinary adventures to new and exciting heights.

Do you have a new favorite BBQ sauce flavor? Plan on trying one of the above sauces for the first time soon? If so, leave a comment below. We want to hear all about it!

If you want to level up your outdoor cooking game and learn competition-worthy techniques, our All-Access Pass is your answer. You'll get to join Champion Pitmasters and Grillmasters in our virtual barbecue classes, where you’ll learn step-by-step how to perfect pork ribs, pork butt, chicken, brisket, steak, and even pork chops. With help from BBQ Champs Academy, you'll soon be impressing everyone with your expert-level cooking. 

Make sure to also subscribe to the BBQ Champs Academy YouTube channel so you don’t miss any of the latest competition BBQ news and insider info from top Pitmasters and Grillmasters.

BBQ is a culinary tradition deeply rooted not only in the U.S. but in various cultures around the world. From the robust smoked beef briskets in Central Texas to the skewers of delicious Japanese yakitori, BBQ has become a beloved cooking method enjoyed by many. 

But where did it all begin? In this article, we dive into the fascinating history of BBQ, exploring its origins and evolution over time.


The Initial Origins of BBQ

The origins of BBQ can be traced back thousands of years. It is believed that the practice of cooking meat over an open fire originated with our early human ancestors. As primitive humans discovered the taste of cooked meat and the benefits of using fire, the art of grilling began to take shape.

Ancient civilizations such as the Greeks, Romans, and Persians all had their own variations of BBQ-style cooking. In fact, ancient Greek literature from the Mycenaean period, which lasted from 1600 to 1100 B.C., mentions a technique similar to modern-day BBQ, where meat was skewered and cooked over an open flame.


The Evolution of American BBQ

Fast forward to the 16th century, and we find BBQ making its way to the Americas. It is said that Spanish explorers first introduced BBQ to the indigenous people of the Caribbean, who quickly adopted the cooking method. The Spanish word "barbacoa" was eventually anglicized to "barbecue," solidifying its place in American culinary history.

Not long after the Western expansion began in 1803 of what we now know as the United States, so did the emergence of regional differences in BBQ. Various styles were developed, each with its own unique flavors and cooking techniques. Whether it's the vinegar-based sauces of North Carolina, the tomato-based sauces of Kansas City, or the mustard-based sauces of South Carolina, BBQ became a reflection of the local ingredients and cultural influences.


The Explosion of BBQ in the U.S.


1950s backyard BBQ | history of BBQ | BBQ history


By the mid-19th century, BBQ became deeply ingrained in American culture. It was not just a technique for cooking meat; it was an occasion for communities to gather and celebrate. BBQ grills, pits, and smokers became a centerpiece of social gatherings, where families and friends would come together to enjoy the flavors of slow-cooked, smoky meats.

The popularity of BBQ continued to grow throughout the 20th century, with the rise of barbecue restaurants and competitions. Pitmasters, skilled individuals who mastered the art of smoking and grilling, became local heroes, revered for their ability to create mouthwatering BBQ.


The State of BBQ Today

Today, BBQ has evolved into a global phenomenon. It has transcended borders and cultural boundaries, with each region and country adding its own distinct twist to the traditional cooking method. From the tandoori grills of India to the braai grills of South Africa, BBQ has become a universal language, bringing people together through the love of good food.

The advent of modern technology has revolutionized the BBQ experience. From high-tech smokers and grills to innovative cooking techniques, BBQ enthusiasts now have a plethora of tools, accessories, and resources at their disposal, allowing them to experiment and create new and exciting flavors.


Enjoy Being a Part of the Rich History of BBQ!


evolution of BBQ | history of BBQ | BBQ history


The history of BBQ is a testament to the enduring nature of this beloved cooking method. From its humble beginnings in ancient civilizations to its widespread popularity today, BBQ has stood the test of time. It continues to bring people together, ignite their taste buds, and create lasting memories. 

So next time you fire up the grill or smoker or visit your favorite BBQ joint, take a moment to appreciate the rich history behind your plate of smoky goodness.

If you want to elevate your BBQ-cooking game more than ever before, BBQ Champs Academy can help you do just that! In our one-of-a-kind virtual BBQ cooking school, you’ll learn step-by-step from world-champion Pitmasters and Grillmasters who will show you exactly how to cook mouth-watering barbecue. 

Our All-Access Pass includes sections that will show you how to smoke competition-caliber ribs, pork butt, brisket, and chicken perfectly. And our Championship Backyard BBQ classes, which are perfect for the everyday BBQ enthusiast, will teach you 20 delicious recipes that will make you the barbecue king or queen of your block.

Get started with BBQ Champs Academy today!

Good barbecue goes much farther than just in the United States. BBQ is actually a culinary tradition that has captivated taste buds around the world. From succulent ribs to mouthwatering grilled lamb chops, barbecue is a celebration of smoky flavors and tender meats. 

In this article, we will explore a sampling of delicious international flavor variations of BBQ that can be found across a wide range of different countries, also explaining how they differ from each other. By opening your mind to an array of different styles, you can elevate your outdoor cooking game like never before.


American BBQ: The Classic Flavor

When it comes to BBQ, the United States is undoubtedly a heavyweight contender. American barbecue is characterized by slow-smoking cuts over indirect heat, resulting in tender meat that falls off the bone. The flavors widely vary across regions throughout the country, from tangy and sweet in Kansas City to spicy and smoky in Texas. Whether it's Memphis-style ribs or Carolina pulled pork, American BBQ offers a wide array of delectable options worth savoring.

Another thing that sets American barbecue apart is the passion, dedication, and patience that goes into the cooking process. Pitmasters meticulously tend to their smokers, adjusting temperature and smoke levels to achieve the perfect balance of flavor. It's a labor of love that yields mouthwatering results.


Brazilian Churrasco: Meat Lover's Paradise

In Brazil, the term “barbecue” is synonymous with “churrasco”. This South American delight showcases an impressive selection of meats, skewered on large metal skewers and cooked over open flames. One of the defining features of Brazilian Churrasco is the variety of meats on offer, truly making it a meat lover’s paradise. From mouthwatering picanha (prime top sirloin cap) to flavorful linguiça (Brazilian sausage), there is something to satisfy every carnivorous craving.

The natural flavors of the meat are enhanced with simple seasonings like rock salt and chimichurri sauce. The unique cooking method and the emphasis on high-quality cuts of meat make Brazilian churrasco a truly remarkable BBQ experience.


German Grillen: Sausage Takes Center Stage


german grillen | international BBQ variations | BBQ variations


Germany, famous for its sausages and beer, takes grilling to a whole new level with its tradition of "grillen." When it comes to German grillen, sausages take center stage. Bratwurst, currywurst, weisswurst, and bockwurst are some of the most popular choices for grilling. These flavorful sausages are often served in a crusty roll, known as a brötchen, along with mustard and sauerkraut. 

In addition to sausages, German grill masters also excel at grilling pork chops, steaks, and marinated chicken. To add a burst of flavor, Germans often marinate their meats in a mixture of herbs and spices (like garlic, mustard, and oregano) and sometimes beer.


South African Braai: A Cultural Celebration

In South Africa, BBQ is more than just a meal. It is a social gathering, a cultural celebration known as a braai. When it comes to the meat itself, South Africans traditionally love their boerewors (a type of sausage), lamb chops, chicken, and steak. These meats are marinated in aromatic spices like coriander, paprika, and garlic, giving them a rich and vibrant flavor. The meat is then grilled to perfection over the open flame, resulting in a smoky and tender delight. 

The braai is also accompanied by a vibrant array of side dishes, including maize porridge, chakalaka (spicy relish), and fresh salads. The combination of flavors and the communal atmosphere make a South African braai an unforgettable experience.


Japanese Yakitori: Grilling Perfection

In Japan, yakitori has been a beloved street food for centuries. This popular barbecue-style dish consists of skewered pieces of meat, usually chicken, that are grilled over a charcoal fire. The simplicity of yakitori lies in its focus on quality ingredients and precise grilling techniques. 

Yakitori is most often made using different cuts of chicken, but you can also find variations with other ingredients like vegetables, seafood, or even beef. Each skewer is meticulously seasoned with a soy-based sauce, which adds a savory umami flavor to the meat. The skewers are then grilled over high heat, resulting in juicy and tender meat with a smoky char.


Korean Barbecue: Sizzling Delights


korean BBQ | international BBQ variations | BBQ variations


Korean BBQ, or "gogi-gui," is renowned for its interactive dining experience. Thinly sliced meats, such as beef and pork belly, are grilled at the center of the table, allowing diners to be part of the cooking process. 

The smoky flavors meld with mouthwatering marinades like gochujang (red chili paste) and soy sauce, creating a harmonious explosion of taste. Served with an array of side dishes like kimchi and pickled vegetables, Korean BBQ is a sensory delight that combines flavors, textures, and social dining.


Australian Barbecue: A National Obsession

Barbecues are a way of life in Australia. Australian barbecue, or “barbie”, is not just about the food; it's about the experience, the sense of community, and the laid-back lifestyle that defines this sun-soaked nation. When it comes to these barbecue get-togethers, it's all about variety and abundance. Australians love to cook a wide range of meats, seafood, and vegetables on the grill. From succulent steaks to juicy sausages, marinated prawns to flavorful lamb chops, the options are endless. 

Aussies love to marinate their meats in a combination of spices, herbs, oils, and sauces to enhance the taste and tenderize the meat. From tangy barbecue sauces to aromatic Asian-inspired marinades, Australians are masters at infusing their barbecued dishes with irresistible flavors. The grill is often also accompanied by a vibrant array of salads, bread, and condiments to create a well-rounded meal. 

And within the last 10 years, barbecue competitions have gained significant popularity in Australia, with teams competing for the title of the best grillmasters and pitmasters. And more and more Australian BBQ teams are even making the trek to compete in some of the top BBQ competitions in the U.S. 


Explore the International Barbecue Variations Today!

BBQ is not bound by borders; it is a culinary language that speaks to the taste buds of people worldwide. From the smoky flavors of American BBQ to the interactive experience of Korean BBQ, each country brings its unique twist to this beloved cooking method. 

Exploring these different international flavor variations of BBQ not only allows us to indulge in mouthwatering dishes but also provides us with an opportunity to immerse ourselves in different cultures and traditions. So, the next time you indulge in BBQ, take a moment to appreciate the diverse flavors and cultural influences that have shaped these mouthwatering variations around the world.

Have you recently tried any of the above international BBQ variations? Do you have another variation to add to the list? If so, leave a comment below. We want to hear all about it!


No matter what variation of barbecue you want to cook, BBQ Champs Academy can help you master your smoker or grill. In our first-of-its-kind online BBQ cooking school, the world-champion pitmasters and grillmasters will teach you step-by-step exactly how to cook mouth-watering barbecue in no time. With the All-Access Pass, you’ll learn how to perfectly smoke competition-caliber ribs, brisket, pork butt, and chicken. And in the Championship Backyard BBQ classes, perfect for the everyday barbecue enthusiast, you’ll learn 20 different delicious recipes that will have your friends and family begging for more.

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Cooking on a griddle grill can easily give you a delicious, all-over sear on all types of meats and other foods. But, to be able to do that, the grill needs to be seasoned properly first. And, if you are one of the growing number of outdoor cookers who recently got a new griddle grill, one of the first questions you may be asking yourself is how to season a griddle grill properly.

We’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ve broken down exactly what seasoning is and why it is so important, as well as step-by-step how to season your griddle grill to ensure the successful results you are aiming for.


What is Seasoning & Why Is It Important?

“Seasoning” refers to the process of using oil (or specially designed coatings) to create a black, non-stick, and protective layer on the cooking surface. This is what helps a griddle surface stand the test of time.

Since the cooking surface of griddle grills is often made of uncoated steel, they are susceptible to rust if not protected. But, the oil used to season them gets into the microscopic pores in the metal and bonds to it, forming a protective, blackened, and stick-free surface. So, seasoning your grill helps make cooking easier and helps add even more flavor to the food being cooked, while also preventing rust or scratches on the griddle’s surface. 

There are some manufacturers that offer griddle grills that are pre-seasoned right out of the box, while most others require that you season them before cooking for the first time.


Seasoning a Griddle Grill for the First Time

So, now that you know exactly why seasoning your grill is so important, it is time to dive into the process. First, it is important to make sure you have everything you’ll need ready to go. The items you’ll need to have on hand include:

  • A bucket of clean water
  • Non-abrasive dish soap (a good choice is original Dawn soap)
  • Access to a hose or a second bucket of clean water
  • Oil or Griddle Seasoning/Conditioner (see more on this below in step #3)
  • Paper towels
  • Tongs or heat-resistant gloves


Seasoning Your Griddle Grill in 5 Easy Steps:

#1 - Wash It Down With Soap


cleaning a griddle grill before seasoning | how to season a griddle grill
Source: The Spruce


You’ve got your new griddle grill now and you’re ready to start cooking some awesome food. But before you do that, and even before you start seasoning it, it’s important to clean it with soap. In many cases, there will be some dust and/or debris from manufacturing and shipping, which is totally normal. But you definitely don’t want that stuff in your food.

All you need to do is add a little dish soap to your bucket of clean water and gently pour the soapy water on the griddle. Do not scrub the surface of the griddle, though! Then just thoroughly rinse with clean water.


#2 - Preheat the Griddle to Start to Darken It

Once your griddle is sparkling clean, it's time to preheat it to start to blacken it up. This is the start of creating the perfect stick-resistant cooking surface. 

Turn up the burners to the maximum setting and step back and let the heat do its job. The griddle top will begin to turn slightly brown after about 10-15 minutes. Once the color has changed on the griddle’s surface, turn the burners off and you're ready to start with the oil.


#3 - Apply the Oil to the Surface

As mentioned above, seasoning a griddle creates a natural, stick-resistant, and extremely durable surface. When oil is applied to the surface and then heated up, the organic compounds within the oil are burned off, leaving a polymer that bonds to the surface of the griddle.

So, after preheating your griddle grill, it’s time to start applying oil. The most important thing to remember is to only apply a very thin layer of oil each time. When you put a thick coat of oil on during the seasoning process, it will lead to a buildup of gunk on your griddle’s surface and can even cause chipping down the road. 

There are a variety of oils you can choose from to use, including:

  • Canola oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Olive oil
  • Flax oil
  • Shortening

With tongs or heat-resistant gloves, use a paper towel to evenly and lightly spread the oil on the hot surface. Make sure there aren't any dry spots or thick puddles of oil. Your oil layer should be as thin as if you were using the paper towel to wipe all of the oil off of the griddle surface.


seasoning a griddle grill | how to season a griddle grill


One popular product that works well in place of traditional oil is the Blackstone Griddle Seasoning & Cast Iron Conditioner. This proprietary blend can give you a good initial seasoning and provides excellent surface protection between cooking sessions.


#4 - Crank the Heat Up

Once you’ve got your first layer of oil on the surface, crank the heat back up and just let the griddle plate blacken. It will billow smoke when it reaches the “smoke point”, which takes about 30 minutes. So just sit back and keep an eye on the smoke. You can turn off the griddle when all of the smoke is gone.


#5 - Repeat Oil Application to Achieve the Best Results

To achieve the best level of protection and create a sufficiently non-stick and flavorful surface, you have to repeat the oil application several times. So don’t rush the process, and make sure to do it properly. 

You’ll repeat steps #3 and #4 (above) two to three times. The griddle surface is adequately seasoned when it is dark brown.


#6 - Apply the Finishing Touch

Once several rounds of initial seasoning are done, let your griddle cool slightly and very lightly wipe it down with a final layer of oil (or Blackstone Griddle Conditioner). But, you will not burn off this layer. This final step helps keep the griddle adequately protected against oxidation.

Now you’re done and you’ve got a perfectly seasoned griddle grill! Make sure to use a heavy-duty grill cover when you are not using your griddle grill. This will protect it from inclement weather, tree droppings, etc., and help further prevent it from rusting.

The steps we covered above are general steps you can follow to season a griddle grill. But, it is important to look at the manual that came with your specific griddle grill, which will provide the exact manufacturer’s instructions for getting started. Depending on the grill, some steps may vary slightly from what we covered above.


Important Tips to Protect Your Seasoning

After you’ve spent time properly seasoning your griddle grill, the last thing you want to do is make it disappear when you are cleaning your grill after your first cooking session.


scraping a griddle grill before seasoning | how to season a griddle grill
Source: The Spruce


So, there are a couple of things in mind to keep your seasoning layer protected. When you are done cooking, use a spatula to gently scrape any remaining bits of food or oil into the trash or your griddle’s grease trap. Then, just use water to wipe down the surface. You don’t want to wash the griddle surface with soap because it will wash away your hard-earned seasoning.

Simply cooking on your griddle will continue to add to the seasoning layer. If you’ve had to scrape quite a bit of food or oil off the surface after cooking, once you’ve wiped the surface down with water you can apply another light layer of oil to ensure the surface is still properly protected. Again, you do not have to burn this layer off. Now just properly store your griddle away and you’re all set.


Ensuring You Know How to Season Your Griddle Properly = Optimum Cooking Results

As you can see, properly seasoning a griddle grill isn’t rocket science. But it is an extremely important step in ensuring you get the best cooking results while also keeping your grill surface protected. By following the steps we covered above, you can be confident that you have seasoned your griddle properly and are ready to get cooking.

Have you learned any other seasoning secrets you want to share? Plan on cooking on your griddle grill for the first time today? Leave a comment below and tell us all about it!


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*Feature image from Blackstone Grills.

If you invest good money in a grill or smoker, it only makes sense to try and maximize the value that you get out of it. Of course, the first thing that many people think of when it comes to outdoor cooking is meat. But, your grill can offer far more opportunity than just that.

If you have open space on the grill, why not take advantage of that good heat as much as possible? In this article, we’ve covered 6 ways you can do just that. All of these things below (and yes, some may surprise you!) will help you not only maximize the use of your grill but also keep you from heating up the house when you don’t really need to.


Don’t Be Afraid to Cook Multiple Types/Pieces of Meat Together

Many people are hesitant to try and grill or smoke multiple large pieces of meat at the same time, especially if they are different types or cuts of meat. But, to make the most out of your grill when you have a lot to cook, don’t be intimated by doing this. It’s really not as hard as it may seem. It’s just a matter of timing and having a couple of digital meat thermometers on hand.

For more info on doing this properly and timing everything to finish together, check out our in-depth article on cooking multiple pieces of meat at the same time.


Cook Your Vegetables and Other Sides on the Grill Too

From this tip down, you’ll see that your grill or smoker is not reserved for only cooking meat. For example, vegetables take on an even more delicious level of flavor when cooked on the grill as well. Whether you grill them on a skewer or in a grill basket (for smaller pieces), you can impart that great char flavor you can only get from cooking on the grill.


vegetables on grill | make the most of your grill | most value out of your grill


Almost any vegetables will do well when cooked on the grill and can go right next to your main course on the grill grate. Make sure to read through our in-depth article for some specific things to keep in mind when grilling vegetables to ensure you end up with a good result.

There is also a wide variety of other side items that you can cook in your grill or smoker. Check out our articles on cheesy sides and grilled Thanksgiving sides for some great ideas.


Bake Fresh Bread Alongside Your Low and Slow-Cooked Items

If you are cooking a cut of meat slowly at lower temperatures in your grill or smoker, this is also a great opportunity to bake fresh bread alongside it. A grill is a perfect, closed environment to cook delicious bread. Plus, the grill smoke will add that mouth-watering extra touch of flavor to the crust.

Typically, depending on the heat level, a loaf of bread will take roughly 40 minutes on the grill to cook to a perfect golden brown with a crispy exterior. Keep in mind that because of the relatively long cooking time for bread, you won't want to do this next to fast-cooking items such as steaks or burgers.

Check out our in-depth article on baking bread on the grill for some tips to help ensure you end up with a perfectly cooked result.


Try Grilled Fruit

Cooking fruit on your grill alongside your other items can provide a delicious treat to start your meal with or even add to it. For example, you can grill round pineapple slices or slices of watermelon for a minute or two on each side. Peaches or pears sliced in half lengthwise and grilled face down are two other great options. For an exotic option, you could even grill rambutan.

There are a ton of different fruits that will hold up well and cook nicely on the grill. Cooking fruit this way will bring out an extra level of rich sweetness.


Cook Beans Right on the Grill

A long-time popular side item for BBQ is beans. The good thing is, you don’t have to worry about cooking those separately on the stove. Just cook them on the grill alongside your slow-cooked meat.


dry beans on grill | make the most of your grill | most value out of your grill


All you have to do is fill a pan with some water, add your dry beans, and put that pan directly on the grill grate. The heat will get the water boiling and cook the beans right on the grill. This technique will usually do most if not all of the cooking for you. When cooking meat low and slow, you’ll find that the beans will probably be done and ready to use for a side dish when the main course is done. In some cases, the beans may need a bit more cooking than the meat but it shouldn’t be long.


Boil Pasta on the Grill

Craving a grilled chicken pasta dish or grilled seafood with pasta? Just cook the pasta on the grill too! Similarly to cooking beans on the grill, just fill a pan up with water and set it directly on the grill grate, bring the water to a boil, add the pasta to the pan, and boil it for roughly 10 minutes (depending on the type of pasta).

Boiling pasta on the grill is also advantageous for the meat or fish that you may be grilling next to it. The boiling water adds more moisture to the cooking environment inside the grill, making the meat even more juicy and tender.


Take Advantage of Cooking Space to Get the Most Out of Your Grill

As you can see, a big part of getting the most value out of your grill is to utilize all of the space available to you. There are a ton of things that can actually be cooked on the grill alongside your main item that you may not have thought about before. Why have to keep going back and forth between your outdoor cooker and the kitchen when everything can be done in one place?

Try out some of the ways we mentioned above and/or get creative with other things you can cook in your grill or smoker to maximize what you get out of your outdoor cooking.

Have you tried any of the things we mentioned in this article? Do you know of some other ways that the value of your grill can be maximized? If so, leave a comment below. We want to hear from you!


Want to learn 20 great backyard BBQ recipes step-by-step? Check out our virtual Championship Backyard BBQ Classes. These videos, led by some of the top competition Pitmasters and Grillmasters, will teach you a variety of mouth-watering recipes along with all of the insider tips and tricks you need to know. Master your backyard grilling and smoking today!

Also, make sure to click “Subscribe” on the BBQ Champs Academy YouTube channel. You don’t want to miss all of the latest insider info and competition BBQ news straight from pros!

The summer is winding down and temperatures are starting to cool off in many parts of the country. But, there are still several more weeks of great outdoor cooking weather left (or months if you’re in the south). And, if you are in the market for a new grill and wondering when is the best time to buy a grill or smoker, you’ve come to the right place. 

In this article, we’ve got the scoop on the best time to buy a BBQ grill, what to look for, and also when you should not try and buy one.


When to Find the Best Deals on New Grills

You can usually start to find pretty good prices on grills and smokers starting after the 4th of July. But, if you are really wanting to find the best deals, those are going to happen between September and November as the current “grilling season” is winding down. 

This is usually when there won’t be a lot of people shopping for grills and local stores will be wanting to get rid of the remaining ones that they still have to make room for winter holiday inventory.

So, depending on where you’re located, you can snag a good grill at a great price and have a brand new cooker to use through the remainder of the year or store it away to use brand new at the start of the next season.

These late summer-early fall deals will usually apply to somewhat standard grills that are good for the average backyard-cooking enthusiast. If you are looking to level up your BBQ game with a more competition-worthy cooker straight from the manufacturer, you may not find as steep of discounts but it’s not impossible to get a good price. 

Look for deals as a new model comes out. In many cases, when new models are released, the previous model can be found on sale on the company website. 


buying a grill | best time to buy a grill | best time to buy a BBQ grill
Source: Outdoor Living Concepts

(*Note: The above image is an example of a previous sale that happened and does not reflect a current sale.)


Tips for Buying a BBQ Grill During Late Summer to Early Fall

Here are some easy tips to follow to ensure you get a good grill at a sale price you’ll be happy with:

  • If you know you will be looking to buy a new grill, make a list of features and specifics that are important to you in having. If you’re replacing a grill, are you wanting a different size? What features did you not have in that grill that you wish you had? What things do you want to avoid in your next grill? Want to change the type of fuel source?

    If you don’t currently have a grill, think of the types of things you want to cook and what specifications you’ll definitely need in a grill. Also, ask for some recommendations from people you know and trust who grill a lot.

  • Take some time to do some research and pinpoint a few options of grills you like earlier in the season. Then you can really take a look at them while there is a good selection in stock. Take a look at all the features each grill has and read reviews online. Then you’ll be ready to pull the trigger on buying one when prices start dropping.

  • Don't hold out too long to buy and chance missing out on what you want. Usually, stores clear out their entire grill section to replace it with holiday items towards late October.

  • Be open to floor models too. Don’t be afraid to ask a store employee if they’ll sell one to you. Some of the best deals can come from floor model grills.

  • Check smaller, local hardware/outdoor stores also. These stores often have great deals on grills towards the fall since they have less space to store the ones they have leftover.

  • If you don’t have a big enough vehicle to transport a larger grill home, make sure you factor in delivery costs too.

  • If you are not going to be using your new grill much before it gets cold, make sure it is stored away properly for the winter. Then you’ll be ready to go with a fresh grill that is in good condition at the start of the next season.


The Best Time to Buy Used Grills

If you are wanting to buy a BBQ grill but not wanting to spend the money on a new grill or smoker quite yet, look at buying a used grill. You can get some really great deals on these as well if you know when to look. 

When it comes to used grills, the best time to buy one is during the peak “moving season”, which is during the summer months. This is the time when many people are moving and having big sales to offload the items they will not be taking with them. So, look out for moving sales in your area, check on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, or even local thrift stores. Chances are you can find a lightly used grill at a good price. 

Make sure you have the capability while you are out looking to quickly pull up more information on grills you come across. Then you can check the original sale price, features, reviews, etc.


buying a used grill | best time to buy a BBQ grill
Source: Guardian Storage


Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate

Whether you are buying a new grill or a used grill, the asking price you see is probably not the lowest you could get it for. To get the best deal, don’t be afraid to negotiate. This is especially true for floor models in stores and at moving sales. In both of these situations, the seller needs these grills to go because they may not have somewhere to put them soon.

So, make a lower offer for the grill. The worst that can happen is the seller says no. Then you can negotiate with the seller until you find a number that you’re both happy with. But, chances are, you’ll score a great deal on a cooker.


When Not to Buy a BBQ Grill If You’re Looking for a Deal

Just like there is a certain time of the year that you’ll find the best prices on grills, there’s also a time you should not be trying to buy a grill if you want to get a deal. You’ll find the highest prices on grills and smokers from March through June. 

As the demand for outdoor cookers goes up at the start of peak grilling season so will the prices. Then, they’ll likely stay fairly high until the end of the summer. 

Sure, you’ll find a larger selection of grills and smokers during this time. But, if you are really wanting to find a deal, just do your research during this time. Then wait for prices to go down once you get into September.

Occasionally, there are good flash deals throughout the summer on grills. So, make sure you look at the weekly store deals regularly. You may be able to snag a great price on a grill even during peak season.


worst time to buy a grill | buy a BBQ grill
Source: Green Acres Outdoor Living


You Don’t Always Have to Spend a Ton of Money to Get a Good Grill

As you can see, if you are patient and wait until the end of grilling season, you can find some great deals on new grills. If you’re leaning towards a used grill, zero in on people who are moving and not planning on taking their grill with them. Either way, it’s definitely possible to get a good grill that will last you for a while without having to shell out a ton of money. 

Have you snagged a good deal on a new grill recently? Recently seen any great deals online? Leave a comment below. We want to hear about it!


Once you get your new grill, if you are wanting to step up your grilling skills and impress your family and friends, check out our step-by-step virtual Championship Backyard Cooking Classes here at BBQ Champs Academy. You’ll learn directly from Champion Grillmaster and Pitmasters how to perfectly cook a variety of different backyard favorites.

Want to kick your outdoor cooking up to competition level? Get your All-Access pass now for our one-of-a-kind online, competition BBQ cooking classes with the pros. You’ll get all the insider smoking and grilling techniques broken down step-by-step, as well as competition-BBQ tips, and much more. You can start cooking competition-caliber meats today! 

Make sure to also subscribe to our YouTube channel and get recaps of all the latest competition BBQ news, interviews with Champion Pitmasters and Grillmasters, and insider info straight from the source.


*Feature image courtesy of Forbes

If it is time to clean your grill or smoker, you may already be anticipating a battle against grease and carbon buildup. It may be tempting to reach for a concentrated grill cleaner solution at the store to help give you an advantage and shorten cleaning time. 

But, some all-natural items will help you clean just as effectively (if not better) and allow you to avoid heavy toxins. The last thing you want when you go to cook your quality meats is a lingering smell or taste of chemicals.

In this article, we’ll break down some powerful natural grill cleaning options using things you probably already have around the house. Plus, how to make your own homemade grill cleaner to have on hand. 


Items You Can Use For Natural Grill Cleaning

Keeping your cooker clean and ready to go for every use is not only safer when it comes to using your grill or smoker, but will also give you better tasting barbecue and extend the life of your cooker. 

Using natural products will help ensure your food’s flavor isn’t tainted by harsh chemicals either. Some concentrated grill cleaners contain skin and respiratory irritants. That’s the last thing you want to be added to your meat or veggies on your cooker.

So, here are a few of the household items you can use to keep your grill spotless and help ensure you keep cooking great tasting food. All while knowing exactly what you’re cleaning your cooker with:


Distilled White Vinegar


homemade grill cleaner | natural grill cleaner | white vinegar grill cleanerSource: Kitchen Guru Ideas


White vinegar is one of the best natural cleaners around. This is due, in large part, to the acetic acid in it. Due to its acidic nature, vinegar is effective in dissolving grease, carbon, dirt, and mineral deposits.

To use white vinegar on your grill, mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Make sure the grill or smoker is cool and then spray the solution on, especially making sure to saturate the grates. Let the vinegar sit for 10 minutes to allow it to break down grease and grime. 

You can then use a ball of aluminum foil, sprayed with more vinegar, to rub the grates and interior down. Vinegar is not dangerous to ingest so you don’t have to rinse the grates off if you don’t want to. 


Baking soda

Baking soda can be used for much more than your favorite cookie recipe. Combine this neutral compound with vinegar and you’ve got a dynamic duo of natural cleaning. When you combine the two, the acid-based reaction causes the solution to bubble up and break down even tough grease and carbon.

When it’s time to clean your cooker, put the grill grates in a large heavy-duty trash bag or plastic tub with a two-to-one mix of vinegar and baking soda. Leave the grates to sit overnight and then remove them from the solution and rinse off. If there’s any residue still left, a quick brush with a stainless-steel grill brush should easily remove it.


Onions or Lemons


homemade grill cleaner | natural grill cleaner | how to clean a grill naturallySource: Chatelaine


As you may have gathered by now, naturally acidic items do wonders for cleaning a grill. That is why both onions and lemons also make great options for natural grill cleaners, as they break down grease and food residue. Simply warm up your grill grates, cut an onion or lemon in half, hold it with tongs or a grill fork, and rub it cut side down over the grates.

If you have a lot of buildup on the grates, you can even dip the lemon in some salt to add a slightly abrasive surface. Only use salt if you’ve got a lot of buildup on the cooker’s surfaces. You never want to use anything abrasive directly on the grates or grill surface.



Yes, it's true, beer can help clean your grill or smoker. This is due to the carbonation and the fact that it is acidic with a low pH level. Pour half a bottle of beer over the grates and grease trap and then scrub them with aluminum foil, a stainless-steel grill brush, or a clean rag. Then pair the other half of that beer with your delicious barbecue




homemade grill cleaner | natural grill cleaner | natural grill cleaningSource: Root and Revel


Hot steam works wonders on cleaning a grill or smoker. It helps to loosen food residue and can make wiping down your grill grates much easier. Get your grill grates warm, safely remove them from your grill using high-heat grill gloves, and then rub a wet clean rag over the grates to utilize the steam cleaning. 

Or, even better, a portable clothes steamer can make this even easier. There are even steam grill brushes available now as well, which have a steamer capability built into a handled grill brush. 

You always want to remove the racks from the grill before steaming because the water can cause certain parts of your grill or smoker to rust. With a handheld steamer, you can direct the steam directly to the area that needs the most attention. Make sure to dry the racks off immediately after steaming.


Homemade Grill Cleaner Recipe

This all-purpose natural grill cleaner recipe combines three powerful household items and makes the perfect cleaner to use on the grates, grill/grease pan, lid interior, and more. 


All-Purpose Homemade Grill Cleaner Recipe 


                                                         1 tablespoon of baking soda

                                                         1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar

                                                         1 tablespoon of Sal Suds (or similar natural/biodegradable cleaner)

                                                         1 ball or sheet of aluminum foil

                                                         2 tablespoons of avocado oil spray (or similar high-heat oil)


Instructions for use:

  • Place a shallow baking tin filled with hot water inside the grill. Close the lid and allow the steam to fill the inside for about 10 minutes. This will loosen any unwanted food buildup and grease.
  • Mix the Sal Suds, baking soda, and 12 ounces warm water. Then pour this mixture into a clean spray bottle and add the vinegar.
  • Once the 10 minutes of steaming is done, remove the water tin and spray your cleaning solution mixture onto the grates and other parts you will be cleaning.
  • Use balled up aluminum foil or a stainless steel grill brush to scrub the grease and char off. Then, wipe the grates off with a clean cloth. 
  • Use a clean paper towel to wipe avocado oil onto the grates to help prevent them from rusting.


homemade grill cleaner | natural grill cleaner | natural grill cleaningSource: FoodFireFriends


Clean Your Grill Naturally For Best Results & Taste

As you can see, it can be very easy to clean your grill or smoker naturally using household items that pack a punch. You’ll end up with better results, without harsh chemicals, and protect the delicious flavor of your cooking. A homemade grill cleaner will also end up saving you money in the long run.

Combine the natural ingredients/items we covered above with the tips we cover in our grill cleaning article and keep your cooker spotless and ready to go!

Do you have a favorite natural grill cleaning method? Know of another homemade grill cleaner recipe? Leave a comment below. We want to hear from you!

Make sure to also check out our YouTube channel for the insider info, tips, and BBQ news straight from the pros. Click “Subscribe” to see all the latest from BBQ Champs Academy!

This year has flown by and the holidays are fast approaching. Chances are you might still have family or friends that are asking you what you want for Christmas. They may know you love cooking barbecue but are they actually going to get you something you need and will use? 

As an outdoor cooking fan, you know what you like and what would come in handy. So, you may already have most of the essential accessories you need for every cooking session. You want things that will help you become the pitmaster or grillmaster you aim to be. But, when they ask, it may be hard to pinpoint something to tell them. That’s why we’ve put together this great list of unique BBQ gift ideas you can share. 

Check out the list below for some handy gifts for BBQ lovers, along with some things you may not have even thought of:


Fresh & High-Quality Recipe Ingredients

When you want great tasting barbecue, much of that additional flavor comes down to using high-quality ingredients in your homemade rubs and barbecue sauce. So maybe you’ve got your own recipes down pat (and written down like mentioned above) and you know which ingredients you use a lot of. Or maybe you’re ready to try a new recipe. Why not share what you need with your loved one. A package of those ingredients, fresh and/or high quality, will be very useful.


Top Seasoning Mixes, Rubs, & Sauces

If you’re not opting for homemade, maybe you have a favorite premade seasoning mix or rub, or one you’ve been eyeing to try. Go ahead and ask for that as a gift. It will be great to have it on hand when you’re ready to get cooking next.

There are some great commercial BBQ rubs and seasonings that are Pitmaster and Grillmaster favorites, carried by companies like Lonestar BBQ Pro Shop and Papo Joe’s Grilling Supplies.


Assorted Types Of Wood


types of wood for smoking | bbq gifts | bbq gift ideasSource: B & B Charcoal


Some of the best BBQ smoker gifts will be things that you know will come in handy. Whether you like to use wood chips, chunks, or pellets, you know that good wood is a great way to impart that delicious smoky flavor onto your food. You also know, as a serious outdoor cooker, you’ll be going through a lot of it. 

What better gift than an assortment of different types of your favorite hardwood to cook with, from Hickory to Applewood and anything in between. You can play “mad scientist” and try out different wood and meat combinations and have plenty on hand.


A Good Notebook/BBQ Journal

One thing you may not think of for yourself when it comes to things you need for your outdoor cooking is a good quality notebook or journal. But this can be a very useful and important tool. Serious pitmasters and grillmasters, especially when they are first trying new techniques or recipes, write everything down. 

So, why not have your own BBQ journal. You could even go for a good leather-bound one, which you know will hold up, and have it personalized on the outside. Use it to store all of your homemade barbecue sauce or rub recipes and more.


High-Quality Knives

Ask any serious outdoor cooking expert and chances are, one of their most valued accessories is quality knives. This is especially true when it comes to a boning knife, which is great for trimming your meats. 

The good thing is, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to find high-quality outdoor cooking knives. Many of the top brands sell the knives individually or in sets.


Meat Injector


meat injector | bbq gifts | bbq smoker gifts


When you are mastering how to cook a brisket, one thing you’ll learn is the importance of injecting the meat and how it can help get a delicious and juicy final result. So, if you are going to inject meat, you need the right tools. You want a good quality stainless steel meat injector that holds 2 ounces or more to do the job properly. 


Extreme Heat Resistant Gloves

It won’t take long to learn that another very handy barbecuing accessory is good heat resistant gloves. Whether you are grabbing your chimney starter or moving meats around on your grill or in the smoker, gloves that are resistant to high temperatures will be extremely useful. Make sure the ones you are looking at have a non-slip exterior while still allowing your fingers full dexterity.


High-Quality Cooler

Another handy item to have when you start smoking big meats, like a brisket, is a high-quality cooler. With it, you’ll have plenty of room, in an insulated space, to hold your meat at temperature and let it rest. Some great high-quality options even have storage compartments built-in along with a fold-out cutting board.


Wireless Weather Forecast Station


weather forecaster for bbq | bbq gifts | bbq gift ideasSource: WindandWeather.com


Barometric pressure, air temperatures, wind speed, and direction all play a big factor in your outdoor cooking. Having a handheld wireless weather station can give you everything you need to know in one glance. Thus, allowing you to be proactive and make vent adjustments, fuel source adjustments, etc and maintain temperatures without fighting against the elements. 


Welding/Smoker Blanket

We’re coming into the start of winter, but cold weather doesn’t have to deter you from cooking some great-tasting meat. One thing that can definitely help if you are wanting to barbecue or smoke in cold weather is an insulated welding or smoker blanket. These heavy blankets that wrap the exterior of your cooker help keep it warm and dry, helping you maintain proper internal temperatures even in winter weather.

The blankets will still provide enough airflow while protecting your smoker from the cold elements without catching fire.


Tell-All BBQ Cooking Classes

We may be a little biased, but we believe that our tell-all online BBQ cooking classes with our Pitmasters and Grillmasters here at BBQ Champs Academy make one of the best BBQ gifts you could ask for. What better way to learn how to master your grill or smoker and cook like the Champions do than to learn straight from them. With our classes, you’ll learn everything you need to know, step-by-step, plus tons of insider tips and tricks. 

Just tell your family or friends that you want one of our BBQ Champs Academy gift cards. Then you’ll have the freedom to select exactly which outdoor cooking pro you want to learn from, specifically which meats you want to master, or even our All Access Pass.


A New Smoker


pellet smoker | bbq gifts | bbq gift ideasSource: Green Mountain Grills


We’ll round out our list with a big one that would probably be one of any outdoor cookers favorite BBQ gifts. If you have been looking to really elevate your outdoor cooking game, why not up the ante with a new smoker? A perfect example would be if you’ve adapted your kettle grill to work as a smoker. Having a proper smoker, whether it is a pellet smoker, an offset smoker, or another type, can enable you to cook some great tasting barbecue like never before.

Check out our blog post on the different types of smokers to help you determine which kind might be the right fit for you. 


Can you think of some other unique gifts for BBQ lovers? What’s something you hope you’ll find under the tree to use during your next outdoor cooking session? Let us know below. We want to hear from you!

Check out our YouTube channel for the latest videos and insider info. Make sure to hit that subscribe button so you’ll stay up to date on all the latest from BBQ Champs Academy!

When it comes to barbecue, there is a science to making great-tasting meat and a lot of different techniques involved. You’ll also find tons of different tips, tricks, competition BBQ secrets and hear varying opinions from different BBQ pitmasters of what works best. 

But, there are definitely some clear dos and don’ts. As well as some common smoking, barbecuing, and grilling myths that you may have heard and need some clearing up. In this article, we’ll break down and debunk some common barbecue myths with the help of our Champion pitmasters. Let’s take a look:


Myth #1 - Soak Your Wood Chips Or Chunks Before Smoking

Surprisingly, there are still people (and quite a few books) that recommend you soak your wood chips or chunks for several hours before smoking. The theory behind it is that it will keep the wood from burning up quickly. 

This is a myth for several reasons. The first one should be pretty obvious if you really think about it. Wood chips and chunks float. Even after soaking them for a few hours. Boats are often made of wood, because wood floats. By soaking your wood before smoking, you will actually mainly produce a bunch of steam at first which will reduce the temperature of your fire and you won’t be imparting any extra flavor.

Another main reason you should not soak your wood first is that it will negatively affect the quality of your smoke. For best results, you want thin blue smoke. To get blue smoke you need dry wood, a hot fire, and plenty of oxygen. So, don’t worry about your wood catching fire, let it burn and get that blue smoke rolling.


Myth #2 - Marinating Your Meat Longer Will Make It Taste Better

You may have heard from someone that if you let your meat rest in a marinade longer before cooking that it will taste better. This is entirely not true. Marinades simply cannot penetrate into the meat further than about ⅛” therefore making them primarily a surface treatment.

Meat is naturally already packed full of about 75% water. So, there isn’t much room for any more liquid. Plus, many marinades are oil-based, so there’s no way the oil can get past the water in the meat. The outside of the meat will absorb the flavor of the marinade and if there is sugar present it can help create the nice exterior bark.

The exception is if it’s mainly salt, in which case it would actually be a brine. Salt does react chemically and electrically with the water in the meat and can penetrate down into the meat itself.

So, skip wasting time by marinating overnight and enjoy the delicious flavor of the meat itself.


common barbecue myths | competition BBQ secrets | bbq cooking classes

Source: Allrecipes


Myth #3 - The Chicken Is Done When The Juices Run Clear

There are still plenty of chicken recipes that say that the chicken is done cooking when you slice or stab it and the juices run clear and not pink. Following this thinking could actually result in extremely overcooked meat or meat so undercooked it’ll make you sick. 

The “clear juices” rule may have been true a long time ago, but with today’s environmental factors, differing levels of acidity in meat, pre-slaughter environment and factors you can’t go by the juices. Or even just by looking at the meat and bone color.

The only trusted way to tell if your chicken is done is to go by the internal temperature using a good meat thermometer. Cook until internal temperature reaches no less than 160 degrees in the breast and 175 degrees in the thigh.


Myth #4 - “If You’re Lookin You Ain’t Cookin”

The phrase “if you’re lookin you ain’t cookin” was actually created by Weber Grills in 1952 as a catchy slogan to promote the use of lids on their grills. This is one of the most common barbecue myths. Even though you may still hear people say that opening the lid to your grill or smoker increases cooking time, it’s been scientifically proven that this phrase isn’t much more than a catchy slogan.

Yes, it is true that when you open the cooker the internal temperature of the cooker may decrease slightly but there is actually very little, if any, decrease of the internal temperature of the meat. Your meat will continue to cook by conduction at a steadily increasing internal temperature. So don’t fear, if you want to open your cooker to baste or rotate your meat you’ll be fine.


how to smoke pork | common barbecue myths | competition BBQ secrets


Myth #5 - It’s All About The Smoke Ring

For some outdoor cookers, their goal when smoking meat is to achieve the perfect smoke ring, the pink band on the outer rim of the meat just below the crust. It is a common myth that the smoke ring means the meat is perfectly flavored. It is NOT all about the smoke ring.

A smoke ring indeed looks great, but it doesn’t actually have much to do with the smoky flavor of the meat. The pink ring is the result of a chemical reaction between the gasses in the smoke and protein molecules in meat when the meat is cooked “low and slow.” You might be able to see the smoke ring but you can’t taste it.

To really get a nice flavor to the meat, focus less on achieving a perfect smoke ring and more on starting with good quality meat and cooking it patiently at consistent temperatures with that nice thin blue smoke.


Wrapping It All Up

These are just a few of the most common barbecue myths that are heard these days. To help ensure you’re cooking great tasting meat it’s important to make sure you have good quality meat, some tried and true techniques, are adequately prepared ahead of time and have plenty of patience. 

Have you recently had experience with any of these myths? Have you busted any other barbecue myths yourself? Leave a comment below and tell us about it. We want to hear from you!

The valuable information above, as well as competition-winning tips and tricks, is the kind of bbq education you’ll get from our champion Pitmasters and Grillmasters here at BBQ Champs Academy. We can help you take your smoking, barbecuing, and grilling to new levels like never before. Join our first-of-its-kind tell-all online barbecue school and learn the best techniques and secrets straight from the champions. Check out the all-access pass today!



One thing many Americans can agree on is that the taste of good BBQ is a favorite staple. But, depending on where in the U.S. you’re eating it, the flavors may taste very different than your neighbors’ a state away. At the start of the 20th century, with the rise of more and more BBQ restaurants, the pitmasters within different regions each started crafting their own unique barbecue identity. From different types of wood for the fire, different cuts of meat, and different sauces and rubs. 

There are now a large number of distinct regional barbecue styles throughout the U.S. Each with its own unique flavor profile based on some of the popular local ingredients and taste preferences. Some are a tangier mustard-based flavor, while some offer a brown sugar sweetness. 

Let’s take a look at some of the most well-known regional barbecue styles in America and how they all taste a little different:


Kansas City

Often referred to as the “world’s barbecue capital”, it’s clear the Kansas City knows how to cook barbecue and does it for a large array of meats. Barbecue has been prevalent in the area since the early 1900s. All because of a man named Henry Perry who was serving up barbecue with his secret dry rub from an inner-city pit near the Garment District.

That dry rub tradition still continues today in Kansas City. Meats including beef and pork ribs, chicken, pulled pork, brisket, and sausage are all cooked over hickory wood and dry-rubbed. You’ll also find a large variety of sauces available on the side. But, most sauce recipes in the area include tomato and molasses to create a thick, tangy and sweet sauce. 

One barbecue item Kansas City has become known for is burnt ends. These charred tips of beef brisket are a popular staple on barbecue restaurant menus throughout the city.


St. Louis

Some may argue that St. Louis could hold its own as the “barbecue capital” since residents consume more barbecue in this city per capita than anywhere else in the country.

One clear distinction of St. Louis barbecue is pitmasters prefer to grill then sauce versus dry rub and smoke. The barbecue sauce is somewhat similar to Kansas City in that it is a sweeter tomato-based sauce. You’ll most often find it served as a thick sauce, but it can also be found in thinner varieties or sometimes with a tangier and spicier flavor.

St. Louis is known for its pork spare ribs that are trimmed perfectly neat and clean. But don’t think the trimmings go to waste. These are cooked and popularly served as “rib tips”. You’ll also find thin-cut pork shoulder steak that is either seared and smoked or simmered in a slow cooker with plenty of sauce. 



When people think of barbecue in Tennessee, the first thought is often Memphis-style barbecue. This is no surprise, especially when many people will argue that Memphis pork ribs put up a good fight against St. Louis ribs. The difference is that Memphis-style barbecue is slow-cooked in a pit with a paprika-based dry rub versus a wet sauce. Although you will often find a thinner, vinegar and tomato-based sauce served on the side. 

Throughout Tennessee, you’ll find great-tasting barbecue and pork is definitely a favorite. You’ll find ribs, chopped pork, and pulled pork. In Eastern Tennessee, whole hog cooking is a favorite alongside a thick, tomato-based sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. 



regional barbecue styles | Memphis dry rub | how to smoke ribs | bbq champs academySource: Memphis Dry Rub Ribs From Serious Eats



One thing is for sure, Texans know how to smoke a brisket. Texas is home to great beef cuts of world-famous Texas steer, thus great barbecue beef brisket and beef short ribs. It is also where you’ll find four distinct regional barbecue styles: Central, East, West, and South.

Central Texas barbecue is the most well-known Texas-style. This style involves smoking beef brisket over oak (or sometimes pecan) and hardly using any barbecue sauce. The meat flavor speaks for itself and is often just seasoned with salt and pepper and sliced. You’ll also find a lot of sausage making due to German immigrant influences.

East Texas is an area that prefers the flavor imparted by hickory wood and often slathers the meat with a tangy, tomato-based barbecue sauce. You’ll mainly find chopped beef and pork as the favorite cuts for East Texas BBQ.

West Texas is where you’ll find more of the cowboy style of barbecuing that is done over an open fire and direct heat.

Finally, South Texas style is based on the barbacoa traditions, taken from Mexico, where slow-cooking is done in a covered pit. 


North Carolina

North Carolina offers two distinct regional barbecue styles of great-tasting flavor. In Eastern North Carolina, you’ll find that whole hog smoking over hickory wood is the preferred method. The meat is then mopped with a spicy vinegar-based sauce made from vinegar, salt, and red pepper before being chopped. 

In Western North Carolina is where the style often referred to as “Lexington style” comes from. This barbecue style revolves around pork shoulder that is smoked to let the skin caramelize and form a crispy layer, then sliced or chopped. The preferred sauce is the vinegar-based sauce from Eastern Carolina but with tomato and brown sugar added.


South Carolina

South Carolina barbecue is another style that revolves around whole hog cooking, but extra slow and over low temperatures. But, there are several distinct barbecue sauce flavor profiles you’ll find throughout the state. 

One of the most popular being a sauce referred to as “Carolina Gold”. South Carolina makes up the first of the states within the “Mustard Belt” of barbecue sauce. Carolina Gold sauce came from German Immigrant influences and is a pungent mustard-based sauce with brown sugar and vinegar.

In contrast to that sauce, in the Pee Dee region of the state, you’ll find a vinegar-based sauce very similar to Eastern North Carolina. Then, in the Midlands and Low Country areas of South Carolina, you’ll find a mustard-tinged bright red sauce that is sweeter and tangier.



regional barbecue styles | Carolina Gold BBQ sauce | South Carolina barbecue | bbq champs academySource: Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce From Self Proclaimed Foodie



Georgia is usually not one of the first places that is thought of when you say barbecue, but it is definitely still the home to some great tasting meat. Throughout the state, chopped smoked pork is the most prevalent cut you’ll find. 

You’ll often find the pork served with a thin, savory barbecue sauce that has more tomato than the Carolina sauces. But, with Georgia also being included in the “Mustard Belt” of barbecue sauce, you’ll also find a tangy, mustard-based sauce similar to Carolina Gold available.

Another popular staple at Georgia BBQ restaurants is Brunswick Stew, which is a delicious mix of corn, chopped smoked pork, and potatoes. 



Alabama is home to some great southern barbecue. Local pitmasters in Alabama also prefer the flavor of hickory smoke and cook an abundance of smoked pork shoulder and barbecue chicken.

One thing that Alabama style barbecue has become famous for is a sauce known as “Alabama White Sauce”. This is a Northern Alabama mayo-based white sauce with vinegar and black pepper that was invented in 1925 at Decatur’s Big Bob Gibson BBQ restaurant

But, throughout the rest of the state, you’ll find some very different flavor profiles of barbecue sauces. The “Mustard Belt” reaches into the Tuscaloosa area where you’ll find a spicy, mustard and vinegar-based sauce as well as in Southeast Alabama where you’ll find a mustard sauce similar to Carolina Gold. In the Birmingham area, you’ll find a sweet and spicy tomato-based sauce.



Chicago is another area that may not be on the top of your mind when it comes to barbecue but is definitely not one to be dismissed. Barbecue in Chicago picked up in the mid-20th century with a surge of Mississippi Delta natives to the city’s Southside.

Chicago-style barbecue offers ribs, rib tips, and spicy sausage known as hot links smoked over hickory for shorter periods. This makes the rib meat stay a little thicker and stick to the bone. If you ask a local Chicago barbecue lover, chances are they definitely don’t like soft meat falling off the bone. It’s a texture thing. You’ll also find the meat doused in a sweet, tomato-based sauce.

One defining characteristic of Chicago barbecue is that it is cooked in what are known as “aquarium smokers”. These are large, rectangle smokers with plexiglass construction so that pitmasters can visually keep an eye on the meat without opening the smoker. 



regional barbecue styles | chicago aquarium smoker | Chicago barbecue | bbq champs academySource: Eater Chicago



Kentucky barbecue varies wildly from county to county across the state. Throughout the Eastern part of the state, the barbecue is mainly pork based with things like chopped or pulled pork shoulder and pork steaks smoked over hickory. In this part of Kentucky, you’ll also find sauce flavors that are similar to North Carolina.

In Owensboro and throughout Western Kentucky is where you’ll find an abundance of mutton, meat from mature sheep, being served. You’ll find pulled or chopped mutton as well as what is known as burgoo. This is a hearty stew of roasted mutton and a variety of other meats. The barbecue sauce throughout this region is a Worchestire-heavy sauce with allspice. Eastern Kentucky also uses this sauce or a more vinegar-based sauce.


Wrapping It All Up

As you can see, there are many different regional barbecue styles and flavors throughout the U.S. You may even have a favorite that you prefer. The good thing is, with the number of BBQ restaurants and pitmasters around the country now, you can get each of these styles without having to travel too far. 

Perfecting some of these particular regional styles and other BBQ techniques are just some of what you’ll learn in our first-of-its-kind online BBQ cooking school here at BBQ Champs Academy. You can even try your hand at some great championship backyard recipes using regional influences. Our world-champion pitmasters and grillmasters will have you cooking mouth-watering barbecue in no time.

Do you have a favorite regional barbecue style? Do you know of another style or secret “local favorite”? Leave a comment below. We want to hear from you!


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