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My Reynolds Wrap® Chief Grilling Officer Journey

 
My Reynolds Wrap® Chief Grilling Officer Journey

Written by Reynolds Wrap® Chief Grilling Officer Moe Cason

Wrapping Up My Experience

I love BBQ. Everyone who knows me knows that. I’m obsessed with it. I have it broken down to a science – how different woods affect taste, the important balance of sweet and savory seasonings, why a pit needs good air flow, what the exact temperature proteins need to be cooked at, etc. Science is a big part of BBQ but it’s not the only part. Science may be the brains of BBQ, but honoring BBQ culture is the heart, which is why I was excited to be the Reynolds Wrap® Chief Grilling Officer. I was eager to travel to different regions to study different pitmasters’ cooking methods and experience regional BBQ culture.

As part of the science aspect of BBQ, Reynolds Wrap plays a big role. BBQ is rugged; with handling heavy pieces of meat and cooking in extreme heat. It’s no wonder foil is used; it’s tough! I use it in my cooking process on the regular. Wrapping my proteins in foil protects from over smoking, achieves tenderness quicker, and vital in moisture retention. Besides cooking a hunk of meat, I use foil for all sorts of things. With adamant encouragement from my bride, it’s great for easy clean up. For example; using a sheet as a temporary meat cutting area, covering grates for grilling, lining cooking pans, and laying out pieces of meat to prep and season. And of course, the universal uses of covering a pan of baked beans or a substitute for a lost lid.

On my Chief Grilling Officer journey, I found that ribs are great protein to use in determining a BBQ baseline of different parts of the country. I tasted a lot of great BBQ but there were a few spots that stood out to me for different reasons. In Nashville, I appreciated that Peg Leg’s rib was a true representation of what a Memphis dry rib should be. They were not overly smoked, and the savory seasonings were well balanced. The delicious pork flavor was not masked by rub or sauce. Charleston may be John Lewis’ new home, but he put his Austin, Texas roots in his restaurant’s ribs. Spareribs have a tendency to be fatty and chewy, but Lewis’ ribs were not. Along with his pitmaster skills, his custom pits are built with consistent even airflow and allow the fat to be rendered out to perfect texture. I’ve always enjoyed the smoke flavor a good running offset stick burner provides.

Rodney Scott, also in Charleston, had impressive ribs by cooking directly over coals. When ribs are cooked over coals, the drippings hit the glowing rocks and flashes back up to attach a flame kissed flavor to the ribs. Good char on a rib makes my taste buds happy. Scott’s sauce was my favorite and I appreciated it was served on the side.

Out of all the BBQ ribs I tasted, my favorite restaurant was, without a doubt, Lewis Barbecue in Charleston. John Lewis’ custom pits, along with his barbecue expertise, make the best ribs, cooked to perfection. Everything on the menu is made to the highest standard and honors what barbecue is all about.

Overall, I was impressed with all the pitmasters who generously took the time to show me their pits and cooking methods. I was honored they accepted me into their BBQ culture. They were all just as passionate about BBQ as I am. Their restaurants weren’t just a means to an income; BBQ is their way of life. And I put respect on all their names for that alone.

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