Our cool springtime with the unbelievable snow will soon change to hot summertime. A great way to start your barbecue season is with time-saving, easy, no-sweat naked barbecue.
By ARDIE A. DAVIS
Cooking excellent barbecue with minimal effort and sweat is what it’s is about — no marinades, mops, bastes, pastes, rubs, glazes or sauces.
Salt and pepper is allowed, but optional. Naked barbecue give us a hint of how our ancient ancestors ate. Although meat from domesticated animals tastes different from wild animal meats of the past, and it is tenderer, we can still enjoy a primal feast like the anonymous pit masters who originated the barbecue method of cooking.
Here are a two easy ways to cook naked barbecue:
Dirty Steak – a favorite of Dwight Eisenhower
1 8-ounce or larger T-bone or ribeye beef steak
To prepare: Fire up some charcoal, briquets or hardwood. When the coals are gleaming hot, use long-handled tongs to put the steak directly on the coals. Cook to desired doneness, turning once or twice. Remove with tongs and brush ashes off with a new clean paint brush or whisk broom. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes and then serve and enjoy.
Grilled or Smoked Pork Ribs
This is a classic backyard favorite.
Makes 1 rib
1 slab of babyback or spareribs
Don’t trim or season the ribs. Grill them or smoke them as usual, sans seasonings.
Besides saving prep time, naked barbecue gives you a baseline for learning how various prepping techniques, cooking techniques and seasonings yield a positive or negative outcome.
Discard the techniques or seasonings you don’t like. Keep the ones you like.
As barbecue continues to grow in worldwide popularity, there are hundreds of barbecue seasonings and other products to choose from. Plus, you can make thousands of seasoning combinations on your own.
That’s why it’s important to use the flavor of naked barbecue as your baseline. If you add seasonings that cover up the natural flavors of meat cooked with fire and smoke, you’ll know to not try that again.
Best to keep a journal for future reference. Seasonings that overpower natural barbecue flavor waste your time, meat and fuel.
Throw off your old barbecue habits — be it ribs the way your mom or dad cooked them or the contest-popular candied meats that are heavily seasoned with sugar or other sweeteners — and experience the refreshing flavor of naked barbecue.
Ardie Davis is an iconic figure in the barbecue community. He founded a sauce contest on his backyard patio in 1984 that became the American Royal International Barbecue Sauce, Rub & Baste contest. He is a charter member of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and an inductee into the KCBS’s Hall of Flame. He has been interviewed on numerous food shows and writes for a variety of barbecue-related publications. He is also the author of a number of barbecue books, his most recent release “America’s Best BBQ Homestyle: What Champions Cook in Their Own Backyards.”