Cooking has been my hobby and passion since I was 16 years old and until now my interest in learning different methods of cooking food to satisfy my palate is as strong as ever. Although our local cuisine can boast of some original palate envy dishes like the sisig (grilled pork face and ears and chicken liver marinated in Philippine lemon with other spices) , chicken inasal (our local version of chicken bbq) and the lechon (roasted whole pig), the culinary culture here in the Philippines has been largely influenced by a variety international cuisines mainly from Spain, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and India to name a few. It wouldn't be too bad if I strive to adapt one more Western cuisine which I am starting to adore, THE AUTHENTIC ALL AMERICAN SMOKED BBQ. I'm starting to believe what traveling chef Anthony Bourdain has declared.... that "BARBECUE IS NOT A CUISINE.... IT'S AN OBSESSION!!"
Filipinos LOVE TO EAT... and I'm not exaggerating. We eat 5 to 6 times a day, from breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack which we avidly call "merienda", dinner and the after-dinner (midnight) snack. That's 3 main meals and 3 snacks, who can beat that... lol!!! And we are not that alien to wood fire roasting and grilling either. Lechon used to be cooked over wood fire up until the popularity of charcoal. We grill almost everything, from meat to downright mussels, oysters and vegetables. And most of all, we filipinos are carnivorous too! Grilling pork belly or any part of the pig and the cow is one of the most exciting scenery in every celebration in the country. Aside from the lechon, the lechon baka (roasted calf) is gaining its own popularity.
It is in this context that I would like to introduce to my fellow food loving carnivorous countrymen the earthly pleasures of BBQ and SMOKED MEATS. I would surmise that most filipinos do not realize that there is a big difference between GRILLING and BARBECUING. We have our own version of our Pork Bbq. But the method of cooking the pork is not bbq, its just plain grilling.
GRILLING is cooking fast, at a high temperature, any cut of meat or poultry, even vegetables! Grilling is when you place your meat or poultry etc. on the cooking surface of a grill (like a gas-powered grill or charcoal) and cook away! Sometimes thin sauces or marinades are applied to the food before or during the cooking process to keep the meat moist because grilling fast at a high heat tends to dry out the meat if you don't. Many people use BBQ sauce for grilling and I think this is why everyone gets so confused about what the difference is between grilling and BBQ. Grilling is also known as DIRECT COOKING - this cooking method involves cooking food directly over the heat source. Recommended for food that requires short cooking times or to sear and lock in the juices before cooking food indirectly.
BBQ is slow cooking for several hours any cuts of meat or poultry over say... wood coals....but the meat is not placed right directly over the coals like in grilling. When BBQing, there is usually a can of water somewhere in the grill to keep a constant humidity level in the cooking area. Dry rubs made of various herbs and spices are often applied to the meat or mustard- or tomato-based sauces. However, many BBQers forgo the rubs and sauces and let the woodsmoke flavor the food. It is not unusual to BBQ meat or poultry for several hours (or even all night!). You can BBQ a really bad cut of meat and it usually results in a tender, delicious treat that practically falls apart as you eat it.
BBQ is also known as INDIRECT COOKING - When food is cooked away from the direct heat source with the lid closed. This method works well for delicate foods as well as foods that require longer cooking times.
And this method of cooking food is what I intend to share and make known to my fellow bbq lovers here in the Philippines. Cooking the toughest parts of either pork or beef, and even poultry, low and slow (long period of time and under low temperatures usually between 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit) requires a lot of patience but with delicious rewards. I guarantee that bbq addiction is on its way to the minds and palates of filipino bbq lovers.
Here are some photos of food cooked using the indirect cooking method which I downloaded from google. Since I just started indulging with BBQ cooking, I will be posting my own photos of the food that I will be cooking with my newly built UDS (Ugly Drum Smoker) which is an ingenious home-made cooking equipment made out of a 55 gallon drum that cooks food using the indirect cooking method. I will be discussing about my UDS on my next blog. In the meantime, feast your eyes and drool with the photos below....
BBQ BEEF SHORT RIBS
BBQ SMOKED SALMON
BEER CAN CHICKEN
HICKORY SMOKED BBQ SPARERIBS