As a Texican, I found things a little confusing (in sooo many ways) when I came to New England and people seemed to not distinguish between “grilling” and “barbequeing”.
The wiki actually says that “Barbeque (or Barbecue, or BBQ, or BarBQ…) is a cooking method, a cooking device, a style of food, and a name for a meal or gathering at which this style of food is cooked and served“.
Wow! That *is* confusing.
I also noticed that there is a wiki for “Texas Barbecue” and there are many types of “Texas Barbecue” listed on that page. But, let’s grab one snippet:
“This style of barbecue emphasizes the meat, so if sauce is available, it is usually considered a side to dip into. Calvin Trillin, writing in The New Yorker, said that discussions of Central Texas pit barbecue do not concern the piquancy of the sauces or common side dishes and desserts – the main consideration is the quality of the cooking of the meats.“
So that is one part. Putting “barbecue” sauce on something doesn’t make it barbecue.
But the crucial part is how the meat is actually cooked. Is it cooked at high temperature over direct heat? That is grilling. Or low temperature with indirect heat? That is (Texas) barbecue.
So when I came to Cambridge, trying to find Barbecue was so.so.hard.
I didn’t spend all of my time trying to find food from my old home in my new home. There are so many wonderful things to eat here. But. Sometimes, you would (at least I would) like to have barbecue. Not grilled chicken with sauce. But actual barbecue. Which, in Texas, means beef that has been cooking since day before yesterday. Without sauce. Or anything other than salt and pepper.
And then, I found Blue Ribbon BBQ. Blue Ribbon is located in Arlington, Dedham, and West Newton. The boss learned to cook brisket near Austin and it shows. The menu also reflects several regional flavors and sauces. St. Louis Ribs, anyone?
So if you are looking for both authenticity and variety, and someone to invest the time making the barbecue for you, Blue Ribbon delivers!
They are posting their menus everyday and offering both curbside pick up and delivery of great meat, sides, and dessert!
(Red Bones is a much beloved Southern Cuisine restaurant in Davis Square that is currently closed due to Covid-19, we look forward to being back there soon! Their menu boasts a variety of meaty bbq words like Baby Back, St. Louis, Texas (beef) Ribs, Jerked, and Smoked.)
Barbecue at Home (and grilling)
But, you know, you are at home now and can spend time cooking whatever you want! And eventually, summer.
So “Let’s have a Barbecue”!
For which you will probably want a grill. It makes lots of things. You can grill so many meats, fruits, vegetables, grains. The food tastes amazing and you can cook for one or a crowd (but not until you are out of quarantine).
Arlington has several places to top off your grilling apparatus collection and get some propane. And aprons, and thermometers (wifi!), and wood pellets, and chips, and…
Obviously, our local barbecue and hardware stores are essential and are open to make sure that you have all you need for your barbecue.
Making Barbecue at Home
What does a Texan like me use to make barbeque at home, then? I don’t make it at home, I buy it. Because nobody has time for that. Except. Maybe now we do.
So if you want to actually make barbecue, you can also get a device that comes by many different names: cooker, smoker, pellet grill, egg.
Make the Most of Your Own Barbecue
Like any Texas Tale (sometimes known as a Tall Tale), take my explanations with a grain of salt. If at all. And take the opportunity to #shoplocal #shoparlingtonfirst and serve up some great meals for your friends and family!