Welcome back to ‘Cued Up, our weekly series that takes you through everything you need to know about barbecue! In previous installments, we have told you about the history of ‘cue, the controversy surrounding it and the different types of barbecue that can be found around the United States and the world.
Today we take a closer look at home barbecue, with a breakdown of the most common types of ‘cue hardware. Whether you are looking for a grill, a smoker or a roaster, there is probably a type of barbecue for you.
Dating back as far as ancient Egypt, the brazier is a very old-fashioned grill. Consisting of a small pan or box beneath a heated grill-work surface, the brazier was originally used for heat and light rather than cooking. Over the years, however, it developed into the perfect portable grill all over Europe and Asia.
Traditionally made of ceramic materials, the shichirin is a portable Japanese coal oven that has been popular since the Edo period. In North America, the shichirin has been misnamed the hibachi, which is actually a type of brazier. The shichirin is capable of staying hot for a long period of time without much charcoal.
You probably have this one in your backyard. Far and away the most popular type of coal grill in the United States, the kettle has been the center of family gatherings since 1951. So, you can thank this bad boy for all of those “well done” burger bricks you ate as a kid!
While it takes its name from the Japanese, the Kamado barbecue has been found all over ancient Asian civilizations. A deep, oval-shaped bucket usually made of ceramic material, the Kamado is one of the most diverse barbecue units available. Because it can maintain heat for a long time, it can be used as a grill, a smoker and a convection oven.
Similar to the Kamado, the tandoor oven is a clay or metal cylinder that is filled with wood or coal to cook. It is most popular throughout India and the Middle East.
Literally made from a barrel cut lengthwise and then fitted with vents, the barrel barbecue is one of the best ways to smoke meat. Because of the deceptively simple make-up, it is one of the most popular backyard grills around.
Barbecue pits are large and non-portable backyard fixtures that are usually made of brick and metal. They are diverse pieces of equipment that can be used for grilling and smoking, and their size makes them perfect for large gatherings and cooking a lot of meat.
You’ll have a hard time convincing a lot of people that gas grilling is true ‘cue, but it nevertheless has its devotees. There are many variations on this type of grill, including a kettle-like design and an infrared version that heats ceramic tiles. The gas grill works by igniting propane instead of coal or wood, which makes for a cleaner, if less flavorful, taste.
What’s your favorite way to barbecue at home? Let us know on social media with the hashtag #cuedup!
And be sure to join us next Thursday 4/17 for our next installment. Same ‘cue time, same ‘cue channel (or website)!