Events from Two Brothers Bar-B-Q
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Tribune-Review article published on June 26,
Where there's smoke, there’s barbecue
By Olga Watkins
Published: Tuesday, June
26, 2012, 9:01 p.m.
Ask a room full of
people from different parts of the country for
the definition of barbecue, and you can expect
nothing but to be confused as a result of their
barbecue as a whole or split steer or large
animal cooked over an open fire, and a social
gathering where barbecued food is eaten.
In Kansas, BBQ is a
specific type of sweet and smoky sauce that is
served on a variety of types of slow-cooked,
smoked meats. In Memphis, BBQ means ribs that
are cooked with a dry rub or wet sauce, but it
also refers to smoked meat or pulled pork on a
In eastern North
Carolina, it is the process of cooking a whole
hog and serving it with a thin, vinegar-based
sauce. But in western North Carolina, BBQ
involves only the pork shoulder and a thicker,
sweeter, tomato-based sauce. Most of South
Carolina BBQ involves a whole, smoked hog,
except for southern coastal regions, where pork
shoulders and hams are commonly used.
Texas boasts at least
four distinctly different regional types of BBQ,
which regional types of BBQ, which include
mesquite wood-smoked beef, mutton and goat in
the west, and sweet, hickory-smoked beef in the
And, that’s only a
sampling of our national BBQ appetite.
There is, however,
one essential component in all forms and
variations of barbecue, and that is smoke.
A commonly held
belief among food historians is that the word
“barbecue” was derived from the Taino language
of the Arawakan Indians in the West Indian
Islands from a word that sounded like “barbacoa”
to the Spanish explorers who landed there.
The West Indian
barbacoa was not the finished food product, but
the wooden frame erected over a low, smoldering
fire for the purposes of drying and preserving
meat. The word first appeared in the Spanish
dictionary in 1526 and then in the Dictionary of
the English Language in 1755.
skillfully prepared barbecue, regardless of its
geographical origin, includes complex layers of
spicy, smoky, savory and/or sweet flavors of
slow-cooked meats that melt in your mouth.
If you’ve watched
barbecue shows or dramatically televised
barbecue competitions, you may be a little
intimidated by the thought of attempting this
cooking method at home. But, it is a fairly
straightforward process that requires more
patience than anything.
Local barbeque guru
J.P. Mackovich of Two Brothers BBQ in Collier
took some time from his busy BBQ business to
show us how you can achieve expert results with
your backyard grill and his foolproof method for
Follow these simple
steps, and you’ll be the undisputed grill master
and barbecue champion at this year’s Fourth of
July cookout. Plan to start this process one to
two days in advance of your event or cookout.
First, you will need
• A gas or charcoal
grill with a small bag of high-quality,
slow-burning charcoal or a backup gas tank
• A 2-pound bag of
wood chips — your choice of hickory, apple,
cherry, mesquite, etc.
• Heavy-duty aluminum
• 6 half-sheet size
deep aluminum pans
• 1 meat injector
(These range in price from $6 to $60 and are
available everywhere from Giant Eagle to
• Sturdy kitchen
tongs or meat forks or kitchen latex/vinyl
• An instant-read
Olga Watkins is the
head chef at Hollywood Gardens in Rochester,
Pa., and leader of the Olga Watkins Band.
Pork and Apple BBQ
According to J.P.
Mackovich, the real secret of great BBQ is to
match your wood chips to your marinade, your
marinade to your dry rub and your dry rub to
In other words, if
you want a sweeter finished product, use a sweet
marinade and apple or cherry wood chips with a
sweet dry rub and sauce.
For a savory or spicy
finished product, use hickory or mesquite wood
chips with a matching style of dry rub and
There are thousands
of premade dry rubs and dry-rub recipes
available. Use your favorite, or try one that
fits the flavor you’d like to enjoy in the
cooked meat. The same can be said of sauces. You
can buy or make a sauce according to what
results you’d like to achieve.
Apples and pork are a
classic pairing. For Mackovich’s pulled pork, he
chose an injected apple juice as his marinade, a
sweet-and-spicy dry rub, apple wood chips and a
sweet and spicy sauce.
Note: You can
substitute a favorite cut of beef for this
recipe. This cooking method can be used to
prepare burgers, sausages, hot dogs and chicken.
Ground beef should be cooked to an internal
temperature of 140 degrees for medium doneness.
Chicken should be cooked to an internal
temperature of 165 degrees for boneless cuts and
180 degrees for bone-in cuts.
1 (two-pack) bone-in
pork butts (approximately 6 pounds each,
1 quart apple juice
2 cups dry rub
1 bottle (24 ounces)
Empty the bag of wood
chips into a bowl and cover the chips with cold
water. The chips should soak for a minimum of 1
hour, but, ideally, for 24 hours.
Transfer the pork
butts to a pan and use the injector to evenly
distribute the apple juice throughout both
pieces of pork. Discard any leftover apple
Rub all but the fat
side of both pork butts with all of the dry rub
seasoning. Cover the pork and return it to the
refrigerator to marinate while you set up the
If using a gas grill,
turn only one side of the grill onto low. If
using a charcoal grill, set up a small but
compact pile of charcoal on only one side of
your grill and light it.
One half of a small
bag of good charcoal should suffice. For
charcoal grills, you will begin the rest of the
process when the coals have already burned
brightest and are producing steady heat from
When the grill is
heated to 250 degrees, remove half of the wood
chips from the water and transfer them to one of
the aluminum half-sheet pans. Then double the
pan so you have 2 layers of pan between the wood
chips and the grill. Place the pan of wood chips
on the lighted or hot side of the grill.
Place the pork butts
on the cool side of the grill with the fat side
down (fat side touching the grill grates) and
cover the grill.
The chips will start
to smoke when they begin to heat to the proper
temperature. If the wood chips have been soaked
long enough, you will, at some point, see a lot
Do not be alarmed,
this is a good thing. What you don’t want to see
is fire. Fire will cause the meat to burn and
cook too quickly. Fire should never touch the
meat in this process.
Add a handful of wood
chips every hour for about 5 hours, or until the
internal temperature of the pork reaches 162
degrees to 165 degrees. Use the rest of the
soaked wood chips throughout this 5-hour period
As you add the wood
chips each hour, you can switch the position of
the pork butts so that they trade places with
one another, keeping the fat sides down. This
will ensure that neither is too close to the hot
part of the grill.
After the pork butts
have reached 162 degrees to 165 degrees, remove
them from the grill and wrap each in two large
pieces of aluminum foil, crisscrossing the foil
so the meat is completely covered and tightly
Return the wrapped
pork butts to the grill, this time with the fat
Continue to cook the
wrapped pork on the grill for 2 hours to 4
hours, or until the internal temperature of the
pork has reached 206 degrees to 210 degrees. At
this temperature, the muscle fibers in the meat
should be broken down, and the finished product
should be extremely tender.
You do not need to
add wood chips to the pan after the meat has
been wrapped. Just position both pieces of meat
equidistant from the hot end of the grill and
try to ignore them for the next 2 hours,
checking only to ensure that your heat is
consistently at 250 degrees.
When the meat has
reached an internal temperature of 206 degrees
to 210 degrees, remove it from the grill and
allow it to rest in a high-sided pan for about
15 minutes. Double the remaining 4 aluminum pans
so that you have 2 doubled pans.
Unwrap each pork butt
and dump one, juice included, into each of the
doubled pans. Drain any remaining juice from the
resting pan evenly into each aluminum pan.
It’s time to pull
apart the pork. If properly prepared, the meat
should basically fall apart at this point.
Remove what is left of the thick layer of fat
from one side of each butt and discard it.
Use sturdy kitchen
tongs or meat forks or quadruple gloved hands —
kitchen latex or vinyl gloves — to pull the meat
apart and mix it with its juice until it is
broken down into very small pieces.
You can then mix the
meat with the sauce or serve the sauce on the
Serve the hot pulled
pork immediately on sandwich buns, or cover
tightly and refrigerate.
To reheat, cover the
aluminum pans with heavy-duty foil. Heat the
oven to 325 degrees. Heat the pork at 325
degrees for 40 minutes to 50 minutes or until it
reaches 165 degrees.
Keep it warm in a
chafing dish or crock pot that is set to low. If
using a chafing dish, make sure there is
sufficient water (about 3 inches in depth) in
the bottom pan so it maintains a slightly lower
level of heat and doesn’t cause the meat to dry
out or overcook.
Makes 24 to 32
servings, depending on bun size. Mackovich
teaches BBQ classes on occasion.