Frequently Un-Asked Questions - Unabridged
Ever hear of the Barbecue FAQ?  We figured you had,  since most newbies are "sentenced" there by so-called seasoned "Inter-'Q'ers".  While we don't know for sure what is contained on this site,  we can still make a few guesses as to the problem with this piece of work. They are:
  1. It may not be very well written or easily understandable.
  2. It may contain some incorrect information.
  3. It may contain some disinformation.
  4. It may not have been written with persons desiring traditional barbecue information in mind.
  5. All of the information is correct and the vast majority of people who read it simply ignore the information.
We won't speculate on which of the above may be correct.  But we can safely say that if this is everyone's "bible" and 99.99% of folks are screwing the dish up,  it would appear that at least one of them likely is. In response to the Barbecue FAQ,  we offer you the Bob in

Frequently Un-Asked Questions - Unabridged

  1. How long do I cook traditional barbecue?

    Until it is done to your liking.  Pit masters of yesteryear were just that.  They knew how to cook.  They did not rely on probes,  thermometers,  bells or whistles.  And they didn't have the Internet to tell them what was "proper".

  2. What sauce is used with traditional barbecue?

    It was seasoned with catsup's,  which is nothing more than a seasoned vinegar.  The seasonings could have been anything from seafood to nuts or herbs.  No tomato was ever used.

  3. I can't get a consistent supply of pigs or wood.  My wife won't let me burn wood on the lawn,  dig a hole or build a pit.  And I can't even find a whole shoulder for sale,  much less a traditional pig.  How can I still make traditional BBQ?

    "In your mind"...might be a good place to start.  If you need help with this,  try joining one of the many Internet barbecue chat groups where you'll find folks who are highly knowledgeable on how to do this.  We suggest,  if possible,  that you seek out folks involved in competition cooking for the best advice.

  4. Will the standard formula of temp  x  time  x  weight work with a whole pig?

    No,  if you cook a 60 pound pig for the better part of 90 hours (4 DAYS),  please don't invite us for dinner!

  5. Of what relevance are the cities of Memphis and Kansas City to barbecue?

    They both have a Chamber of Commerce with an overactive imagination.

  6. Of what relevance is Lexington,  North Carolina to traditional barbecue?

    It's pretty close to Eastern North Carolina.

  7. What kind of cooker should I buy to cook traditional barbecue?

    Stop thinking in terms of "buying" something!  Money doesn't work it's usual magic with barbecue.

  8. Why are shoulder-butts called Boston Butts?

    Because the famous Internet barbecue portal,  The Smokering,  was founded in the Boston area?

  9. How do you spot people who use Internet barbecue forums for the purpose of promoting their products or businesses?

    They will be surrounded by groupies,  made up of the forums in-crowd.  These "groupies" will proclaim the peddler's products to be of immense quality,  the peddler's barbecue knowledge to be unquestionable and their character to be worthy of sainthood.

  10. What is the best site on the Internet for information on authentic traditional barbecue?

    You're reading it.

  11. What is the best forum on the Internet for discussing traditional barbecue?

    The SPTSB mailing list.  This is by far the top pure barbecue list on the net.  The cumulative knowledge present on this list is tremendous.  It's not high traffic and "Jesus" type threads are not tolerated.  But if you can't get the answer you're looking for here,  you're probably not asking an answerable question.

  12. Why has traditional barbecue all but disappeared?

    1. A very limited number of the people could ever hope to do it.
    2. There's little or no money to be made by keeping it alive.
    3. There's tons of money to be made by destroying it and replacing it with hot-smoking,  which is basically accessible to everyone.

  13. Why do you consider Texas or beef barbecue to be nothing more than merely a regional version of the real thing?

    Colonists did not arrive in Texas until 1821.  Texas did not become a part of the United States until 1845.  This would place any Texas barbecue practices or preferences around 200 years behind the time settlers were cooking hogs in the Virginia region now know as Eastern North Carolina.  While Texans seem to have a colorful relationship and history with their wood-cooked beef,  it's relevance to the barbecue history of the United States does not date back far enough for it to be considered anything more than a regional version.

  14. Is "pullable" or falling-off-the bone the proper texture for traditional barbecue?

    We haven't found any evidence to support the notion that this popular texture objective is traditional or authentic.  All we have is hearsay.  Our guess is that some hogs were likely cooked to this texture,  while others were not.  And equally likely was that some people preferred more firmly textured meat than others.  Common sense would lead us to the conclusion that it probably varied according to the pitmaster and the people he was cooking for.

  15. Why do you maintain that meat with a heavy smoked flavor and appearance does not constitute authentic barbecue?

    We examined virtually every possible method that a pig could have been cooked in a primitive set-up.  We did not come up with any practical set-up that would have imparted a meaningful smoke ring or smoked taste in a pig.

    The use of hardwood burned to coals would not have resulted in the formation of a smoke ring at all,  whether uncovered,  loosely covered or buried.

    We then took into consideration all anecdotal accounts that we could find in reference to early pig cooking's. We did not find any reference to the use of any method that would have imparted a smoke ring at all.

    Taken together,  we came to the conclusion that it is highly unlikely that heavily smoked meat containing a smoke ring could ever be considered a replication of barbecue authentic to the United States.

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