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Top 4 Recipes to Master Barbecue

by Traeger Grills on

May is National BBQ Month and if you’re the grilling guru of your family or neighborhood, now is the perfect time to sharpen your barbecue skills.

Here are 4 basic recipes for mastering the art of BBQ and kick off your summer grilling. You’ll be the resident Pit Master. 

Authentic barbecue takes time. These hacks, tips, and tricks will guide you the right direction to perfection wood fired grilling this Memorial Day or 4th of July. 

The Top 4 Recipes to Master BBQ

National BBQ Day Traeger Grills

1. 3-2-1 Ribs -

Ribs are one of the key meats to mastering barbecue. In competitions across the country, ribs are a hot contender, our 3-2-1 Ribs are deliciously simple and this recipe will help you show you how to create tender, savory, and smoky ribs at home in no time. The 3-2-1 name references the cook time, these babies take 6 hours total to smoke.

First, the ribs smoke low and slow for 3 hours so you can set the temperature to smoke and get back to spending time with the family. We recommend practicing your cannon ball into the pool or throwing around a football. Make your house the rib crib, once you smoke this baby back ribs recipe a few times, your friends will be knocking down your door for more ribs every weekend.

Tips for mastering ribs:

Check out this Tip from the Pros on How to Remove Silver Skin

Tip 1 - How to Apply a Rub.

To get rub seasoning to penetrate the meat, you need to apply a sticky substance to the meat first, mustard works great. Then apply the rub seasoning, it will stay in place and flavor the meat perfectly.

Tip 2 – How to Tenderize Ribs.

To help tenderize the meat, use a slightly acidic ingredient directly on the exterior of the protein such as apple juice or vinegar or mustard, this will help loosen the meat fibers and help it to tenderize it as it cooks.

Tip 3 – Sealing in the Flavor.

After a long smoke, sauce the ribs with BBQ sauce, wrap them loosely in foil and cook them for another 2 hours. This will help keep the juices and sauce from cooking off and allow the flavor to seep deep into the ribs.

Remove the ribs from the foil and mop them with Traeger BBQ sauce. Let the BBQ ribs grill for another hour, the BBQ sauce will permeate into the ribs and cling to the tender meat creating an amazing flavor.

2. Whole Smoked Chicken - 

National BBQ Day Traeger Grills

A wood pellet grill creates the best tasting chicken. Our Whole Smoked Chicken recipe is covered in simple spices and smokes for 2-3 hours. You can mow the lawn, or watch a ball game as it cooks and when the chicken is finished, it will taste better than a pre-made rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. This recipe is simple but helps you master the art of BBQ chicken and make it moist, tender, juicy, and super flavorful. If someone in your family says they’re bored with eating chicken, this recipe will cure their bird blues.

Tips for mastering chicken:

Tip 1 – Why Brine.

Brining infuses poultry with moisture, flavor, and prevents the meat from drying out. Brine keeps that bird juicy inside, and flavorfully crispy outside. You can create your own herbs and spice blend to brine chicken, or grab our Turkey Brine Kit, this is a delicious blend and works wonders to tenderize and season any poultry. This handy brining chart also has tips and tricks on how to brine.

Tip 2 – Let it Rest.

As meat cooks, the water in the muscle is expelled; by letting the meat rest after it’s finished cooking, the moisture and natural flavoring is reabsorbed into the muscle. When you cut into the meat, it will be juicy and flavorful, inside and out.

Tip 3 – Chicken’s Internal Temperature.

Always cook chicken to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Undercooked chicken will make you sick.

Chicken is a great protein that easily absorbs flavor via smoke. Traeger hardwood smoke will infiltrate every inch of the bird with delicious flavor. We’ve got 9 different pellet flavors to choose from.

3. Brisket -

National BBQ Day Traeger Grills

Summer grilling absolutely needs a taste of melt-in-your-mouth brisket, BBQ competitors have many secrets to creating amazing tasting brisket and we have created our homemade smoked brisket recipe to help you master tender, flavorful, and succulent BBQ brisket with bark. This recipe is perfect for a late night smoke or take a long nap in the hammock as it smokes all day long. This recipe is a great one to make on Father’s Day. You’ll have plenty of time to spend with your family while it smokes. 

Tips for mastering brisket:

You can season brisket with a dry rub or wet rub. A dry rub is simply rubbing the spices, Traeger rub or shake directly onto the meat. A wet rub is similar to the ribs tip above, use a sticky substance to coat the slab of meat, then rub or sprinkle spices onto the wet beef. 

For great tips on how to select, trim, and prep your brisket, check out our video here

Tip 1 – Let it Marinate.

Once you’re seasoned your beef with a wet or dry rub, wrap the meat in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. This will help the flavorings meld into the meat and season and tenderize it.

Tip 2 - Brisket Cooks Low and Slow.

Brisket needs about 90 minutes of smoke time per pound. Brisket can be smoked overnight. 

Tip 3 – Foil.

When the beef’s internal temperature reaches 180 degrees F, wrap the meat in foil and continue cooking until the internal temperature is 200-205 degrees F. Wrapping it in foil will help tenderize and retain the moisture and seasonings inside the beef. When your meat probe slides in and out of the beef like butter, remove the brisket and let it rest in the foil for 30 minutes. Again, this will help the moisture retract into the muscle and continue to keep the brisket moist and tender.

When the brisket is finished resting, it should have a thin crust called ‘bark’ over the top and thin ends of the meat. The bark will be the coveted trimmings that your family will fight over - Delicious.  

4. Pulled Pork -

National BBQ Day Traeger Grills

Pulled pork is tender and juicy, and you don’t have to be a barbecue competitor to create delicious pork for sandwiches, burgers, or tacos. This recipe will help you master BBQ pork right on in your own backyard. Pulled pork is made from pork shoulder or a Boston butt cut. This recipe smokes for 3 hours then roasts in a foil pan on the grill for up to 8 hours more. Try this mouth-watering recipe out for your Memorial Day cookout.

Tips for mastering pork:

Tip 1 – Add Moisture.

As the pork shoulder is smoking and roasting on the Traeger, intermittently spray it with apple juice from a spray bottle. When it’s time to roast the pork, place the meat in a foil pan with the juice on the bottom of the pan. Adding juice flavors, tenderizes the roast, and keeps the pork moist.

Tip 2 – Browning.

If the pork is becoming any darker that toasted brown, put foil over the roast to prevent it from drying out and overcooking.

Tip 3 – Seasoning Pork.

After you’ve shredded the Boston butt or pork shoulder, add Traeger shake or rub seasoning. This will allow the spices to mix into the moist shreds of meat flavoring every morsel.

If you’ve drooled over the delicious looking barbecue on our @TraegerBBQ Instagram, try out these BBQ recipes to help you become the Pit Master. With these helpful BBQ tips, you’ll be wood-firing your way into the hearts of family and friends at every summer cookout, camping trip, and holiday outings.

We’ve launched our Traeger BBQ Shop Classes this year and we’re stoked to be traveling around the country teaching BBQ 101 classes. Stay tuned for our Shop Class page to find out where a Traeger Pit Master will be teaching in your neck of the woods.