BBQ Madness

The NCAA Tournament is one of my favorite events each year. During my time in the office, I was known for having a laptop and tablet open, along with my work computer, to watch the games during the workday. This obsession caused me to find ways to take the day off and spend as little time doing anything other than that, including BBQ.

While I do try to stay away from the grill during the tournament and other long events, that doesn’t mean I don’t use it. Long cooks are the way to go when you have something important in the background but still want to have that amazing smoked food.

Signature meats for the long March Madness cook are brisket, pork shoulders, ribs, pork tenderloins, and more. Anything that you would traditionally smoke is perfect for these attention-grabbing events. Most of these cuts take a small amount of effort and can be smoked as little as the length of a couple of games to an entire day’s worth.

Personally, I like the big cuts like brisket and pork shoulders. These can be started the night before and you can pull them off between games. The brisket is easily sliced, and the pork is easily pulled, giving you a short break from basketball before getting back to the action. The best part about these big cuts is that you will definitely have leftovers. Pulled pork sliders on Thursday, tacos on Friday, and who knows what for the weekend. Brisket gives you as many options. Pile it onto nachos or in a sandwich. The possibilities for those easy meals to wash down with a nice light and domestic beer are endless.

Ribs, pork tenderloins, tri-tip, and other roasts are the shorter cooks that are easily done if planned right. Prep any of these the night before you plan to cook them. Store them in a container, cover with plastic wrap, or, in the case of beef, give it a nice dry brine. When you are ready to cook, throw the meat on at between 180° to 275°, depending on the meat and how long you are wanting to cook. Just like the big cuts, pull your meat at halftime or during a break. Again with these options, you might be looking at leftovers. Tri-tip is awesome with French Dips, and pork tenderloins are great with rice or noodles.

I think of BBQing as the fun way to cook, but sometimes it is the optimal way to cook. Pellet, charcoal, and wood smokers give us the ability to cook for long periods of time without the guesswork. When you want to be spending time with family, friends, or just doing what you like, you don’t want to be standing in front of a stove or a grill. You want to be enjoying yourself. These long cook tips are applicable to your Super Bowl, 4th of July, or even birthday parties. Know when to prep, know when to start your cook, and let the good times roll.

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