Is it noshworthy?

BBQ, my tasty obsession

December 22nd, 2009

I’ve always loved BBQ.

I think I come by my love of BBQ honestly. Before the days of CostCo and Price Club, my parents used to go to “Case Lot” sales. A case lot sale was when a supermarket would sell you a whole box, case, or flat of any product you liked. Like a case with 36 cans of soda, or 64 cans of chili.

My father bought a case lot of “Chris and Pitts BBQ Sauce”.

Back in the early 80’s, they didn’t put those incredibly useful “Use before” labels on food products, so there was no way to know when something goes bad. My dad used that stuff for years, putting it on almost everything. Years after my dad moved into the retirement home, I found bottles of Chris and Pitts around his house.

Despite this, I still became a big fan of BBQ. 🙂

When I was a little kid in Chicago, the only thing I loved as much as deep-dish pizza and Vienna Beef hot dogs, was baby back ribs. I felt like Fred Flintstone every time the platter of bones was put before me. It only got better when I tried beef ribs, which looked like the giant ribs that toppled Fred’s car at the drive thru.

A couple of years back, I drove my motorcycle around the United States and Canada, on a trip affectionately known to motorcyclists as “The Four Corners”. If you ever have a lot of spare time on your hands, I blogged all about my three month adventure at

Basically, you get on your motorcycle and drive from San Diego, CA to Key West, FL. From Key West, FL to Bangor, Maine. From Maine to Seattle, WA, then back. Some think I did this to go on a once-in-a-lifetime ride. Some think I did it to spend three months riding with Paul, one of my closest and dearest friends.

Still others thought it was an elaborate plan to try pie all over the United States.

Actually, that last one was the closest. It was an elaborate plan. An elaborate plan to try all six major schools of BBQ in their native habitats.

In case you’re not familiar with the six schools of BBQ, they are:

Kansas City – Sweet, tart, tomato based sauce, molasses and brown sugar. This is very popular in the Midwest, and what most people think of as BBQ sauce.

South Carolina – Mustard-based sauce with onion and garlic.

Texas – The meat is smoked, and the sauce isn’t sweet. It’s usually made with vinegar, chili powder, pepper, cumin, onion, and a touch of ketchup to hold it all together.

Tennessee – A personal favorite, Tennessee BBQ is made with bourbon, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and molasses. It’s really unique and good!

Memphis Dry Rub – Very popular in the south, Memphis BBQ is a dry rub of paprika, garlic, chili powder, and pepper. They will look at you funny if you ask for sauce.

And last, but not least…

Louisiana Hot Sauce – The people of Louisiana love heat! Fortunately for BBQ lovers, they like their BBQ both Caliente (Temperature hot) and Picante (Spicy hot). Louisana style has bell pepper, garlic, LOTS of Tabasco, molasses, vinegar, and sometimes a touch of ketchup.

Not surprisingly, the thing I love most about BBQ is how social it is.

When I head to San Diego, the first thing my friends want to do is go to Phil’s BBQ. When I return to the Bay Area, my friend Edwin counts the hours before we can go to Armadillo Willy’s.

Maybe it’s the memories of all the backyard BBQs from our youth. Personally, I think that men love BBQ because we love cooking with fire.

Regardless of why, BBQ makes us happy. And isn’t that what makes food the wonderful thing it is?

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