If you’re from Oklahoma, you know good barbecue. Anything that doesn’t live up to your standards is just plain disappointing.
“I have tried a ton of barbecue, from Kansas to Texas to South Carolina to Memphis. Oklahoma has some of the best barbecue because it’s a nice mixture of all of those,” says Ryan Gray, head pit master at Billy Sims Barbecue. “We are taking pieces from the states around us.”
(Photo Courtesy of Billy Sims Barbecue)
The sauce is lighter in Texas and darker in Kansas City, but OKC has a good mix. Gray believes Oklahoma generally likes sweeter barbecue, with ketchup-based sauce, not vinegar.
While we all try to be pit masters in the backyard, sometimes it doesn’t quite work out. Here are some tips to help you in your pit master role.
Barbecue Tips from Pit Masters
Randy Birch, head chef of Allegro Marinade and barbecue pit master, has been cooking barbecue for many years. Birch’s years of experience have given him plenty of tips to help those who aren’t professional pit masters.
Birch says he is commonly asked about how to cook brisket. “Brisket is a big ol’ ugly cut of meat – you can really mess it up if you don’t know what you’re doing,” says Birch. Gray agrees: “Brisket is everyone’s nemesis.”
“The problem with brisket is people don’t cook it long enough,” says Birch. He recalls an old cooker’s tale to heat your brisket at 195 degrees; however, Birch recommends increasing the temperature more than 195 degrees. He also recommends wrapping in foil.
Pit masters need to pay attention to the following characteristics: time, temperature, color, and feel. Gray believes the feel is the most important but often the most overlooked characteristic. “If your fingers sink into it, that’s a real good thing,” says Gray. “If it’s rubbery, like jello, it’s not quite ready.”
Gray explains how some amateur smokers think if they perfectly follow a recipe and keep the time and temperature they will have a good end product, but it’s not that simple. Every piece of meat is different. “My best tip I can give is that smoking meat isn’t based on an exact time or temperature,” says Gray. “There is truly an art to barbecue.”
Bad Brad’s believes a big trick to delicious meat is letting the meat speak for itself. They only use the smoke from the wood, and salt and pepper to season their meat. “My advice is to keep it simple,” says Vernon Wilson, manager from Bad Brad’s Stillwater location.
Sauce to Improve the Meat
It’s important to know how to cook the meat. However, we understand we can’t all be pros behind a grill or smoker. That’s why we believe in the power of a good sauce.
Here at Homeland we aren’t lacking in sauces and offer plenty of options to enjoy your favorite barbecue, even if the meat wasn’t prepared just right. Enjoy some spice? Get your hands on Allegro’s spicy barbecue sauce. Or do you prefer a sweeter sauce? Try A&W barbecue sauce.
Great Barbecue Restaurant Options in Oklahoma
While we enjoy cooking for ourselves, sometimes it’s nice to let someone else do the cooking. Barbecue has been a staple for Oklahomans for many years, and we’re lucky to have our pick of mouth-watering barbecue restaurant options.
Some of our favorite barbecue restaurants in Oklahoma include Billy Sims Barbecue, Van’s Pig Stand, Jake’s Rib, Spencer’s Smokehouse and BBQ, Leo’s BBQ, and the list goes on.
What are you waiting for? Head over to one of our locations and pick up some barbecue sauce and put these tips to the test!