Whisky Magazine Issue 129
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Cooking up a Barbie
BBQ season in the UK and Ireland usually consists of cowering beneath an umbrella, turning meat on the grill, sipping lukewarm beer while imagining living somewhere sunny. Across the pond, in the USA BBQ has no season, particularly in the southern states where the category has a rich heritage. Recipes, methods and traditions are reverentially passed from generation to generation.
Speaking with American pitt-masters, some very specific and regional definitions of BBQ emerge. In North Carolina the favoured meat is pork, mopped with spicy vinegar while cooking then served beneath a tomato based sauce, while in east Texas beef is ubiquitous, slowly cooked over hickory wood and marinated in a sweet ketchup. The Germanic influences in Central Texas characterise a different style, with massive portions of brisket rubbed with spices cooked over indirect heat from pecan or oak wood. Meat gets star billing in central Texas, with sauces and sides playing a supporting, if not cameo role.
Louie Mueller BBQ in Taylor, Texas follows the central Texan tradition. If you are a fan of the addictive Food Network program, Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives you may have heard of them. In 2006 the restaurant, housed in a former basketball court, won a prestigious James Beard award. I chatted with owner Wayne Mueller about what makes great BBQ and the possibility of pairing the cuisine with whisky. Wayne is the third generation of his family to stand behind the 50 year old horizontal brick and steel pit,...