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The basics about barbecue
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There are some of my fellow Southerners who have yet to come to terms that the War Between the States is over and we, quite frankly my dear, didn't win.


Things would have been different. By now, we would have changed the name of New York to something more Southern like New Charleston or New Savannah. You would have to go to Canada to buy a Pepsi and you'd be shot for trying to bring one back across the border, with or without a passport.


One thing that would be clearly understood is barbecue.


Folks up North think barbecue means grilling hamburgers. They even call a grill a barbecue. That's the same thing as calling a grill a hamburger.


If you're in Macon or Valdosta and you say, "I'm going down to The Home Depot and pick up a barbecue." That would mean that you are making two stops, one at the Home Depot and the other at a barbecue place.


Say that same thing in Tewksbury, N.J., and they think you're shopping for a grill.


Barbecue is pork, usually a shoulder or a Boston butt. What's ironic is that if you were cooking one in Boston, it more than likely wouldn't be on your outdoor cooking apparatus.


Well, we didn't win the war, but guess what? The states in the South are growing like crazy while up North, the big states are either flat or losing population.


Folks are coming down here in droves and we need to set them straight about 'cue.


Barbecue varies by region and the variation is usually in the sauce. Good barbecue pork should taste good without any sauce. Some folks use sauce to hide bad barbecue. Not bad in the sense the meat had spoiled; it just wasn't cooked right.


There are also variations on what kind of wood you use and what kind of rubs or seasonings you use on the meat.


In some places in Virginia and the eastern Carolinas, you find a sauce that is a vinegar-based concoction with a measure of peppers. As you move west, you might find a sauce that has a mustard base.


In this area, we favor tomatoes. They create a sweet, tangy sauce that just tastes good. The mixture often includes a measure of other stuff, like brown sugar and vinegar, but not enough to give it that vinegar-like taste.


Marty Farrant, a friend of mine, moved here from upstate New York. He used to tell me what was good about New York. It really made an impression on me, because I can't remember the first thing he told me.


I'm not sure if I bought him his very first, but I took young Marty under wing and took him out for real barbecue.


It's been 10 years, and Marty now owns a smoker and has become quite the Southern chef.


"Son, I can cook some 'cue," he told me. There is still that New York accent, but the words he said were pure South in his mouth.


If I moved to Philadelphia, I'd learn to eat one of those cheese steak sandwiches. If my new home was Chicago, I find some big hot dogs or a pizza. If I ended up in San Francisco, I'd plate up some Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat.


To those of you who have moved here, we welcome you.  But understand that barbecue is food, not a device. Tune in next time, when we'll discuss the evils of unsweet tea.