Grilling and Smoking -A Close Look at the Joys of BBQ

Most of us enjoy the very idea let alone the practice of eating a meal by the fireplace.

We might prefer the charcoal pit or eating alongside a wood-fired meal. In days past, eating over wood-fired grills was as thrilling as it was practical. We used to do this at home when my Dad was in town. Food seemed to taste better and more appealing when he was around. We grilled at high temperature or when our meal was smoked, we cooked at low temperature- either was a delight to experience. And it brought family together.

We heard about southern style smoking food at low temperatures from friends and classmates.  We knew about cooking at higher temperatures for shorter periods of time the more involved we became in cooking.   The flavor was achieved with the flick of a matchstick and the joy men and women achieved by jointly participating in meal preparation. Of course, cooking with smoke took longer periods of time like 3-5 hours depending on the amount of smoke you preferred or the size of the item to be cooked.  On the other hand, if grilling is your choice it might take no more than  10-15 minutes to prepare a grilled steak.

Smoking or grilling had been a methodology woman had labored over for years on end. Now men have learned they too could be no less masculine if they did the cooking as well. This had been the practice in New Orleans and elsewhere for years but now became tied to BBQ whether smoking over a low flame or grilling at high temperature. BBQ in effect became a way for men to help in the kitchen without becoming feminine or less macho.  European men had been comfortable and highly respected by cooking for centuries. Now, this has become a style throughout all parts of the USA from Hawaii to New York City,

And BBQ became a way for American men to practice what they enjoyed doing, cooking over an oven or a BBQ pit with flavored wood logs.  This used to be a more exclusive practice among black or African American men for years.  But this has changed with the popularity of the Food Network and growing numbers of food shows that included men and women of all backgrounds.  Both genders learned the joy of BBQ as well, and the flavor of cooking and eating all kinds of dishes in all kinds of ways whether it be BBQ smoking or grilling or other cooking methods.   

Today it’s common to find BBQ on the street corner or in commercial venues.  As a youth in Iowa, I learned to appreciate BBQ from a friend who specialized in preparing his BBQ in a large drum. I can’t say for sure how he prepared these drums,  but the BBQ was terrific nonetheless.

Today while visiting Hawaii I discovered a BBQ restaurant called “Easy Que” located in the town of Kailua, in Oahu.  I am fairly sure they don’t use a drum, but their BBQ is delicious, nonetheless. They serve smoked brisket, Baby Back ribs,  and a number of sides including Curry roasted cauliflower, Mac and Cheese, Okra, Cornbread and 3 different sauces.  Their food is delicious and smoked so that tough brisket and ribs are moist and tender. They reminded me of days gone by.  I recommend trying the BBQ at your leisure located in Kailua on Oahu, Hawaii, or do some takeout one night.

Here’s my recipe for a BBQ rub that enhances the flavor without adding a sauce. So, it tends to be less caloric but still delicious. Personally, I like adding some sauce after adding my rub. and smoking.


Recipe for a BBQ Rub

Serves 10 people


garlic, 2 tbsp powdered brown sugar. ¼ cup white sugar, ¼ cup black pepper,  1 tbsp marjoram, 2 tbsp thyme,  1 tbsp red pepper,  2 tbsp chile, powdered, 2 tbsp onion, 2 tbsp Powdered ginger, powdered, 2 tbsp rosemary powdered, 2 tbsp smoked paprika, 2 tbsp cilantro, 2 tbsp cumin, 2 tbsp


1-Mix all ingredients together, including red pepper; white pepper;  black pepper, smoked paprika; onion powder; cumin; chile powder; ginger, 2 tsp. powdered; garlic, 2 tbsp; brown sugar, white sugar, marjoram, thyme,  onion, ginger, rosemary, smoked paprika, cilantro,

2- Liberally spread the rub over your preparation of one or more of these. Dishes, including ribs, pork chops, fish, crab, chicken or steak

3-Smoke your food at 225 F for 5 hours (the larger the dish, the longer you want to smoke)

4- Use Oak, or Fruitwood logs such as mesquite, applewood or other wood flavored logs.  


Send questions or your favorite recipes directly to  [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you. Chef Alan