Barbecue is an all-American food. We call it that because it is something that all Americans love and agree upon universally. “Pass me the sauce,” we say, while being passed sauce to put on our meat and accompanying sides. “I love this barbecue,” we shout at each other over the sounds of our own ingestion of barbecue. We love the stuff, and we can’t get enough!
And while we may bicker across regions over things like hot dog toppings and the proper consistency of pizza dough, we Americans can and do, without controversy, understand several fundamental truths with regards to our nation’s most beloved gastronomic expression. These fundamental truths, both rigid in their prescriptivism yet flexible within the boundaries that they establish, are as follows:
- Barbecue is properly cooked “low and slow,” as any other method of cooking produces something other than barbecue altogether;
- Fat = flavor, as well-marbled cuts of meat make the best fodder for barbecue, and;
- Pork is better than beef.
Everyone knows and understands this, and no thinking human would disagree. Barbecue can be made with a myriad of meats, but the best barbecue is made from pork. Chicken and turkey are bland and lean, and beef is a fine substitute in a pinch, but any serious barbecue pitmaster is dedicated to crafting porcine perfection.
Although this is a self-evident reality, there is much to support this idea in the purely surreal hypothetical situation where such support is needed. First, pork takes to marinades, rubs, and smoke very well. This versatility is owed, in part, to a pig’s omnivorous diet (as opposed to the inferior vegetarian diet of, say, a cow). The flavor is highly malleable, allowing for a sort of fleshy canvas on which to craft a flavor profile.
Secondly pork, particularly pork shoulder, is dense, evenly marbled, and shaped in a way that allows for even, thorough cooking. This makes its preparation basically foolproof. Third, the pig is perhaps the largest animal that a single person can feasibly cook in its entirety. Whole hog barbecue is the original American barbecue form, which all Americans honor and respect. Fourth, it’s an animal whose fucking skin is edible, y’all. Eat cracklin’ off of a cochon de lait once in your life and you’ll have a galaxy brain that only rivals that of the author of this piece.
Also, might we add that pork tastes better than other meats, and objectively so. There is not room for any of our personal druthers or interpretations on this matter. You all already understand this fact and are learning nothing by reading this.
In summation, pork is the superior meat to all others in all contexts. This is a well-established fact that is not vulnerable to subjectivity. This truth is something so widely agreed upon that this post on our (world renowned) food blog is much less creative editorializing than it is a matter-of-fact explanation of the status of the culinary endeavor that is barbecue. The sky is blue, Earth rotates around the sun, and pork is the best meat for barbecue. Print this story out, put it in a time capsule, and millennia from now when all of humanity has been wiped out by our own foolhardiness, aliens will descend on our planet, dig up that time capsule, read this story and say “yeah, that’s true, the pig from planet Earth, before the humans wiped out all of life as they knew it, yielded a meat that was better than other meats produced by other animals.” They will also note that our nation’s regional variations with regards to barbecue smoke, sauce, and sides were all equally valid and enjoyable
Oh, by the way, shoutout to the aliens reading this. Thanks for stopping by. Please leave a comment.