The art of barbecuing |

The art of barbecuing

Cassie Pence
Special to the DailyThe Blues, Brews and Barbecue Festival in Beaver Creek on Saturday and Sunday features barbecue creations from Beaver Creek and Kansas City chefs' mouth-watering creations.

BEAVER CREEK – If barbecue ribs are smothered in sauce, chances are the chef is hiding something – lack of flavor.According to the pit masters attending the Blues, Brews and Barbecue Festival this weekend at Beaver Creek, if the actual barbecue part is executed correctly, sauce can be shoved to the wayside with the other compliments like slaw and baked beans.”If it’s drenched in sauce, I wouldn’t eat it,” said Ben Gilbert of Moe’s Barbecue, a local barbecue joints with pit stations in Eagle-Vail and Lionshead.There is no denying that people love barbecue sauce, but it was designed as a compliment, like mustard. Traditional barbecue is smoked in a pit using real wood, and the meat is usually rubbed with spices first. There is an art to the process. It’s about the temperature, the time, the smoke, the spices and the quality of the meat product. Using the right amount of each ingredient will determine whether the barbecue is just good or absolutely delicious. “There are a lot of variables you have to control. It’s not as easy as it sounds,” said Todd Hulse, pit master at Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue in Kansas City. “The secrets to barbecue are temperature and time. You have to be patient, take your time, over a low temperature and control your smoke. You pick up the flavor and the tenderness of the meat by lowering the temperature. If the fire is too hot than the flavor doesn’t get into the meat. The flavor comes from the smoke.”Each variety of wood, whether its hickory, oak or apple wood, will give the barbecue a different taste. Some chefs will create their own blend of wood chips while others stick to one flavor. It’s a matter of preference and can depend on where you’re cooking it, like in Texas they use a mesquite wood.”I use a combination of woods,” Terry Kopp, pit master at the Kansas City Rib Company, said. “It depends on what I’m in the mood for. I use hickory with apple and pecan. It seems to give it a smoother smoke flavor than using hickory by itself, which will give the meat a bitter taste.”Kopp believes that the combination of spices you rub on the meat before smoking it is the key ingredient in getting positive results out of barbecue. “It’s the thing that makes or breaks the barbecue,” Kopp said. Kopp’s company has won first place for its rub at the American Royal, a huge barbecue event in Kansas City. “Nobody with a good rub will tell you exactly what’s in it. But it’s usually sugar, salt and a variety of spices in whatever combination that person has come to like.”Phil Hopkins of Smokin’ Guns BBQ said that time and knowing how to finish your barbecue so that it’s tender and juicy is how his company wins contests. Hopkins took home the People’s Choice Award last year at the Beaver Creek festival.”It’s smoking low and slow,” Hopkins said.There is a bit of misnomer among consumers to how barbecue should taste after it is finished. For example with ribs, if the meat falls off the bone – as many would attribute to good barbecue – it’s overcooked. If you have to fight with the meat to get it off the bone, it’s undercooked.”There is a small inbetween,” said Gilbert, who will be serving Moe’s Bama-style pork sandwich in Beaver Creek this weekend. “It’s when you’re not ripping it off the bone, but when you take a bite and it just comes right off the bone. You have to know your time.”

Spice and sudsBlues, Brews and Barbecue FestivalAll day Saturday and SundayBeaver Creek PlazaFor more information, call (800) 404-3535Colorado Micro Brewery Beer TastingFrom 1-5 p.m. SaturdayTickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the doorPark Hyatt in Beaver CreekFor more information, visit

Tommyknocker’s Brewmaster Dinner6:30 p.m. SaturdayTickets are $85 per personRitz-Carlton, Bachelor GulchFor reservations, call 343-1093″Cooking with Beer” class10:30 SundayFree of chargeRitz-Carlton, Bachelor GulchFor more information, call 343-1093Kansas City-Style Burnt Ends

by Phil Hopkins, Smokin’ Guns BBQ & CateringIngredientsRub IngredientsOne 12-14 pound whole, packer trim beef brisket1/2 cup salt1 cup brown sugar1 cup white sugar1/3 cup chili powder1/4 cup paprika12 tablespoons black pepper3 tablespoons onion powder3 tablespoons garlic powder3 tablespoons cumin1 tablespoon cayenne (red pepper)

1. Combine all rub ingredients and sift together. Set aside.2. Trim all the hard fat from the brisket. Trim all the soft fat to _-inch.3. Prepare smoker or grill (follow manufacturer directions). Stabilize temperature at 220 degrees. Use a mild wood such as oak, hickory or cherry for smoke flavor.4. Generously cover all sides of the brisket with rub and gently rub it in. Save the leftover rub to re-apply to the point.5. Smoke for about one hour per pound of brisket. For example, a 12 pound brisket may need to smoke for about 12 or more hours.6. Monitor the internal temperature. When the brisket hits 170 – 185 degrees in the flat part of the brisket, remove the brisket from the smoker. 7. Separate the point from the flat. At this point you can slice the flat and eat.8. Trim the visible fat from the brisket point. Re-season with rub.9. Return to the smoker and continue cooking until the internal temperature of the brisket point reaches 200 degrees.10. Remove from the smoker. Let sit 10-20 minutes. Cut into chunks and serve hot. You may serve with your favorite sauce on the side.Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 618, or Vail, Colorado

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